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The drive down Highway 65 is a tranquil one, filled with slight twists and turns, pretty scenery, and a variety of wonderful roadside eateries. Serenity Farm Bread, located just on the edge of Leslie, is one of those spots. And I defy you not to stop at the local bread maker. Believe me, I’ve tried in the past and always fail.
A recent trip to Leslie for Skylark Café’s strawberry pie brought me within a stone’s throw of the pastry shop.
But, I resisted.
Within five minutes, I was in the heart of Leslie, driving past Serenity Farm’s Main Street “Bread Works” location. It was another reminder that I needed to stop at the Highway 65 location. Would I come all this way from Little Rock and not get the irresistible breads and pastries?
Still, I resisted.
After picking up my pies, I proceeded to make the haul back to Arkansas’ capital city. All I had in my way was one more pass by of the pastry shop location.
Well, I caved.
The parking lot was filled with cars on a Friday afternoon, but there was just enough space to ease in. On that day, and at the time of this writing, strict COVID-19 protocol was in place, and that included no customers allowed in the shop. No worries, Serenity had a wonderful window display with all of their cookies and pastries available. I opted for one each of a sourdough cheese and strawberry Danish, the latter of which was made with a local berry compote. Both had a distinctive, subtly sour flavor and a soft, yet somewhat dense texture that was irresistibly unique. Same with the cookie. Forget crunchy, these cookies feel closer to a small cake-like texture. And while everything was divine, leaving Serenity without a loaf or two of their signature bread is a sin. The bread is best described by the bakery itself:
Authentic sourdough, a traditional, naturally leavened bread, contains no baker’s yeast, sweeteners, oils or fat. Our bread is made with flour, filtered water, and unrefined sea salt. High in complex carbohydrates, low in fat, these are healthful, nutritious and delicious breads. We use only the finest ingredients in our breads. All of our products are baked in our massive wood-fired brick oven. Currently, we bake seven kinds of sourdough bread, all hand-shaped into round loaves. Our breads ship well, freeze well and are easy to revitalize if they become stale.
The seven sourdough breads include Country French Hearth, Cranberry-Pecan, Multi-Grain, Whole Wheat, Walnut Raisin, European-Style Rye, and Whole Spelt. There are also two fruit loaves (apple and whole wheat sourdough banana nut bread), along with a small line of focaccia.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve probably seen Serenity Farm Bread at small markets throughout the state. Their popular following has also led to a strong shipping market that includes UPS Service within a 500-mile radius of Leslie and Priority Mail to all other areas in 48 states.
If you can’t make it to Leslie, I highly recommend ordering some. And if you’re up for a drive, head down Highway 65 and make sure you keep an eye out for Serenity Farm Bread.
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