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Flour Power

Manresa’s Avery Ruzicka kneads a path to equality with bread.


Chocolate croissants are among the flaky pastries offered at Manresa Bread, with three locations in the South Bay—in Los Gatos, Los Altos and, soon, Campbell.

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Levain, pumpernickel, babka and more by Avery Ruzicka can be ordered online in quantities of four or eight and shipped to any address in the lower 48 states.

Photo: Aubrie Pick

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Our daily bread is not just a motto for Avery Ruzicka, a French Culinary Institute graduate who worked her way up from food runner to head baker at three-starred Michelin restaurant Manresa in Los Gatos.

She’s the veritable “Bread Goddess,” whose 36-hour sourdough levain became such a phenomenon that she opened Manresa Bread shops in Los Gatos and Los Altos, and started selling at Sunday farmers markets in Palo Alto and Campbell. A third shop is coming to Campbell this fall.

Manresa Bread ships across the U.S. and internationally. The signature levain is most popular, followed by babka and panettone.

What’s it like to be a baker in an increasingly gluten-free world? She applauds that many people go gluten-free to make better decisions about food and their diet, but says, “you don’t necessarily have to go gluten-free to have a healthier lifestyle. Besides, once you taste true quality, you make better choices.”

On gender and the workplace, Ruzicka says, “I was raised to believe certain things about myself—that I could do anything, that I was equal to others, to ask for what I wanted, and that, if I worked hard, I could pursue my goals successfully.”

While that might not have been the message society was sending at the time, she sees a welcome change. “I think society is starting to recognize the disconnect. It’s a great time to be a woman because our voices are lent even greater emphasis and because people are ready to listen.” Amen, and pass the bread. 95 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell


Originally published in the October/November issue of Silicon Valley

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