When Rob Alexander’s three kids come home from school, their snacks are made with H&F Bread. Thin slices of baguettes still warm from the oven are smothered with Nutella and topped with fresh strawberries or spread with almond butter and finished with bananas and sprinkles of coconut. Soft Parker Rolls are sliced bite-sized, topped with cream cheese, julienned carrots and dotted with raisins.
Alexander is the new executive baker at H&F Bread, returning after a hiatus to the Atlanta bakery that brought him to the city eight years ago.
“We’re thrilled to have Rob back. He laid a strong product foundation for the company and helped us become the operation we are today. I m excited about the fresh competencies and strengths that will elevate our experienced team to the next level. We are in a great season of growth and are poised to further our company’s future,” said Joe Best, owner and CEO. He and Chef Linton Hopkins founded H & F Bread Co. in 2008 with the vision of producing something Hopkins couldn’t find elsewhere in Atlanta at the time: fresh and delicious artisanal bread, baked daily for his restaurants, Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch Public House. This bread garnered the attention of the culinary community and demand grew the business into a fully functional wholesale bakery, delivering fresh bread daily to hundreds of accounts citywide. The H&F Bread Co. Bread Box retail space opened to the public, offering breads and pastries direct to consumers.
Alexander and his wife live in Underwood Hills with their three children who attend E. Rivers Elementary and Peachtree Road United Methodist Church Preschool, so they know a little something about packing lunches and creating tasty and healthy snacks.
“I think parents ought to play to their kids’ preferences while sticking to healthy values,” said Rob. “The fun approach will open kids’ minds beyond traditional snack foods and adding sweet components like Nutella will ensure satisfaction.” H&F’s Southern Sandwich loaf is a favorite go-to for PB&J and school lunches. Croissants and pretzels from the bakery (now open seven days) are a novel item for kids and Rob likes to build small kid friendly sandwiches on the bakery’s sliders rolls.
“I keep the snack pantry stocked with Nutella, peanut/almond/cashew butter, chocolate spread, jams/jellies, whipped cheese, cream cheese and even flavored bagel schmears for spreads to use under the toppings,” said Rob. For toppings and garnishes, he looks to crushed cookies, nuts, dried fruits, mini chocolate chips, crushed waffle cones, drizzled honey and fresh herbs to give fun colors, textures and additional flavor. Think about what you might find at a frozen yogurt shop.
Rob received a James Beard nomination Spring 2016 and has opened five successful bakeries in his career. He spent several years training with a bakery in the Rhone Alps region of France, apprenticed with the Minneapolis Baking school, and worked alongside French Companion, Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery in Cary, NC in the early stages of his career. Now, he can be found at the helm of the West Midtown bakery…or at home creating colorful and tasty snacks for his biggest fans.
H & F Bread Breadbox will be open 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. for pastries and breads to go. Free cup of coffee for all shoppers, too! 1500 Marietta Boulevard. HFBreadCo.com