Since 1992, Old Mill Bakery has striven to provide the best-tasting bread in central Arkansas. Its motto — “where good taste comes naturally” — means that everything it bakes is 100% natural, preservative- and additive-free. All the loaves are derived from flour, honey, yeast, water, and salt, and crafted by Old Mill’s master baker, who has more than 20 years of oven experience. The flour is made with high-protein wheat from Montana, which is sent directly to Old Mill and stone ground at the bakery.
Old Mill is not in an especially high-traffic area, but that doesn’t stop Little Rock from relying on its freshly-baked breads, bagels, muffins, cookies, scones, and cinnamon rolls every day. It starts baking at 2 AM to ensure fresh loaves are ready for customers to take home or eat in its simple cafe space.
Old Mill’s menu features 40 different types of bread, with a focus on full-flavored, soft-crusted “American hearth breads” such as honey whole wheat, cinnamon swirl, and crusty asiago and cracked pepper. The “bread board” is where bakers offer slices of the day’s specialty breads, which are toasted and slathered with salted butter.
When we arrive, a wonderful gentleman who had just been sitting outside enjoying the morning air comes back in and greets us warmly. He guides us through the very large menu, which includes breakfast and lunch, including salads, and is available all day. He immediately offers us a sample of the day’s freshest bread: walnut raisin. It’s thinly sliced and amply buttered, soft, chewy, with hints of raisin and bitter walnut.
The Old Mill burrito has scrambled egg and mild chorizo, chile-lime black beans, hash browns, guacamole and salsa. It’s all tucked into a spinach wrap and griddled so the cheese melts. Our man also gives us a gratis slice of buttered cranberry pecan, which is another delicious loaf that’s a touch sweeter. Also, a crunchy macadamia nut white chocolate chip oatmeal cookie that’s super crumbly but not too sweet. I eat the bread and cookie before the wrap. And really just want more of those.
Next, the “B.A.E.” with ham and bacon, a slightly overcooked egg, avocado and Tabasco hollandaise. The hollandaise is barely there, but the brioche bun is light and eggy.
To go, we order the Central Coast: roasted turkey, avocado, a slice of baby Swiss, mayo, fresh greens, tomato and red onion. It’s served on spinach-feta bread, which is tangy and delicious. Finally, we get the Turkey and Swiss apple served warm with fresh cracked pepper on a French roll. Though the combination is great, the bread is not my favorite, and I would exchange it next time for one of the more interesting slices — perhaps tomato herb and cheese or sesame sunflower. In both to-go boxes, our guy also throws in a few more toasted, buttered slices, and more cookies. So generous!
We get a loaf of cinnamon raisin to go and eat it all week toasted with butter. It’s not too sweet and has a hint of brioche flavor. It is great on its own or with peanut butter or jelly.
Check their menu before you go: though they have a few regular items every day, they dedicate a few days to different loaves. I can’t wait to try more.