While most of us are still snuggled under the sheets, hands are preparing the dough that will become the baked goods we will consume upon waking. Made from scratch each day, freshly baked delicacies — and the hands that make them — honor the art of baking. Dough is kneaded in preparation, ovens are heated, and the result is golden brown breads, bagels, cookies, biscuits and scones. We put our noses to the ground and sniffed out three local joints — Little Mosko’s, Proper Bagel and dose. — that serve freshly baked treats daily. Each has an artist in the form of a baker(s) who rise before the sun to deliver something delicious. Drunk on the intoxicating aroma found in their kitchens, bakers at theses eateries create freshly baked items that are truly labors of love, and we are more than happy to reap the fruits of their labor.
41 Peabody St., Nashville, TN 37210 • (615) 727-8555
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Opened by Lauren Moskovitz and her then-boyfriend/now fiancé Alex Grainger in the fall of 2015, Little Mosko’s is a “muncheonette” and bake shop that serves up breakfast and lunch five days a week. The sandwiches are artful creations piled high with house-smoked meats. But the real treat is the selection of gluten-free goods that Lauren bakes each day. Each morning two-and-a-half hours before the doors open, Lauren begins the baking process with her own all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. She began baking in high school and started to bake gluten-free 10 years ago when she was diagnosed with celiac disease. “I am a figure-conscious girl like the rest of them, and I found there wasn’t anything gluten-free on the market that was worth the calories,” she says. She sought to change that.
“Alex and I both care so much about the fresh factor. You can taste the difference when everything is made fresh,” she shares. Everything in the shop rotates regularly. The sandwich menu always offers something different, although you are likely to find the breakfast tacos every day as they are the most popular item on the menu. The bakery menu also changes, though the chocolate chunk cookie — the most popular bakery item — is there every day. Lauren dreams up what she will be cooking that day during her 12-minute ride to work. During a visit last week, we sampled one of everything in the bakery case: brown butter sprinkles Kix, a citrus cornmeal cookie, the famous chocolate chunk cookie with sea salt, and a peanut butter cookie. If you are lucky enough to go on a day when Lauren has baked her peanut butter and jam cookies, order the entire batch.
Gluten and non-gluten eaters alike will be surprised to find that the baked goods don’t have the sandy texture usually found in gluten-free treats. The freshness — and use of butter — is apparent.
“We have gotten a lot of inquiries about where we are going next, and we are still trying to figure that out. Hopefully we will be able to share more later, but for now we are staying put and cranking it out,” Lauren tells us. You will never find the shop open without Lauren and Alex present as she is the only baker and Alex the only chef, although they have two employees who help with prep, orders and coffee. “We want to make sure the quality is up to snuff,” Lauren shares. That is why the shop is closed from July 3-7. The pair are tying the knot, and regular patrons will just have to wait until July 10 to get their Little Mosko’s fix.
2011 Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN 37212 • (615) 928-7276
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Bagels epitomize the New York way of breakfasting. Soft, chewy and doughy bona fide New York bagels are boiled before they are baked. “True bagel baking is a lost art,” says Heather Speranza, owner of Proper Bagel. “We make them from scratch daily, which is a 24-hour process. The dough has to be mixed and proofed a day in advance, and then refrigerated overnight in order to be boiled the next day. The baking process starts at 3 a.m. daily and goes throughout the day.” Heather owns the business alongside a few family members: her mother Marcy, her father Carmine, and her husband Alex. This dream team makes everything — from the three different chicken salads to the custom cream cheese and bagels — from scratch daily.
Marcy and Carmine opened their first bagel shop in New York in 1977, and Marcy learned the tricks of the trade from her father, who opened his own bakery and deli and put her to work at age 12. A love of bagels and appreciation for good business has been passed down the family tree. “I learned at a very young age not only what was involved in making everything from scratch, but also how much goes into owning your own business — baking a great product and standing behind that, and always staying true to yourself,” Heather shares. Alex is the bagel baker and bialy master, while Carmine handles all the salads, fresh vegetables and custom cream cheeses. Heather and Marcy slice the smoked fish and run the front of the shop.
This family has brought the authentic taste of New York straight to Nashville. And in turn, Nashville has surprised the family in how creative customers get with their pairings. “It always surprises me when customers will order a sweet cream cheese on a savory bagel or vice versa,” Marcy tells us. “It’s nice to be able to be more creative and funky with our menu here.” And while bagels are the business’ bread and butter, the options at Proper Bagel are seemingly endless. Customers love the everything and spinach everything bagels. They joke that they should have named the store Proper “Everything” Bagel. The family is quick to suggest a bialy or everything bagel for anything savory, and a cinnamon or sourdough bagel for anything sweet. Bialys are another New York staple that are baked, not boiled, with fresh onions and poppy seeds on top. They are lighter than a bagel, not as much dough and are far more labor intensive to make.
3431 Murphy Road, Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 457-1300
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
1400 McGavock Pike, Nashville, TN 37216 • (615) 730-8625
Hours: Monday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“Made-from-scratch baking allows me to have a say in all the layers that go into making great pastries and desserts,” says dose.’s head bakery Lauren Gregory. She developed a love of foods at an early age, thanks in large part to her great-grandmother and her chess pies. To this day, Lauren takes a simple approach to baking and is always drawn back to items that remind her of her childhood days.
All baked goods at dose. are made fresh every day. The selection includes muffins, scones, cookies and biscuits (plus cake, cinnamon rolls and pie at the East Nashville location), and the flavors rotate seasonally. The most popular item is the zucchini muffin, which holds court on the menu year-round. Second place goes to the rosemary parmesan biscuit, which is used for the breakfast sandwich. Lauren and her team are working hard to consistently provide their customers with a wide range of pastries from which to choose. “dose. is in two neighborhoods now, and we really try to develop items that help build a sense of community,” she shares. “Our products develop out of things we love to eat.”
Lauren’s day starts with the “big initial bakeoff” that results in the majority of their scones, muffins and biscuits, but the baking continues throughout the day. Last August, dose. expanded from their Murphy Road location into a new space in East Nashville’s Riverside Village. “One of the reasons we were initially attracted to our space at Riverside was the large kitchen spaces. We have room for both savory and bakery to have their own spaces. This means we have the ability to work on more elaborate items like pies, biscuits, layered cakes, nighttime desserts, etc.,” Lauren says.
We like to think this is only the beginning of dose.’s growth. Although currently sourcing breads from Dozen and Silkes Old World Breads, Lauren hopes to feature loaves made in-house in the near future. She makes an unbeatable English muffin loaf regularly at home that we think will be the first on dose.’s bread menu. The bakery is also working on a retail area this year, where you will be able to pick up breads, packaged pastries and a bag of great coffee.
At this point, we are sure you are salivating. Head to these local eateries and be treated to freshly baked goods that honor the craft of baking and are filled with love.