Boulted Bread: A New Space with the Same Taste 

A peek inside the bakery and cafe, where you can find everything from a rustic baguette to seasonal pastries made with NC produce.
by Addie Ladner | photography by Joshua Steadman

Over nine years, Boulted Bread built up a cult following with its delectable baked goods and old-school, small-town feel. In May, it moved into a larger location — but folks will be relieved to hear that the menu is the same. 

You can still pick up a hearty levain, chewy ciabatta, rustic baguette or a grits bread. There’s the Everything Croissant, a flaky, layered indulgence filled with cream cheese and topped with sesame seeds, garlic flakes, salt and onion powder.

The Morning Bun offers a citrus-sugary twist on a cinnamon roll, sans icing. “There’s never been a month that the Morning Bun hasn’t been a top seller,” says Sam Kirkpatrick, one of the owners. 

Boulted Bread was founded in August 2014 by Joshua Bellamy, Kirkpatrick and Fulton Forde, all Raleigh natives. Bellamy is the lead baker and comes up with the recipes, and Kirkpatrick “does everything else,” Bellamy laughs. “He’s the liaison with the outside world.” (Forde has since retired but still keeps in touch.) 

After first discovering baking as a hobby, Bellamy completed a 15-week culinary baking program at the former New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. He went on to intern at Elmore Mountain Bread in nearby Wolcott.

“It was a quintessential Vermont bakery with a woodfire oven, on 10 acres of land out in the middle of nowhere,” Bellamy says. “It was so small, I got to do everything from mixing to shaping to baking, every day.”

Eventually, Bellamy made his way back South and got a job in the bakery department at Weaver Street in Carrboro. There he had more coworkers and baked a lot more bread daily, but they still valued the integrity of ingredients, like locally milled, all-organic flour. 

The three connected one weekend in Asheville at a bread festival. Forde and Kirkpatrick were drumming up plans to open a bakery in Raleigh and brought Bellamy on board. Together, they rented a small space on South Street. “We barely had a business plan, barely any money, and old equipment that needed tinkering and maintenance.

We did nothing the right way, but it just worked out,” says Bellamy. There was space for eight seats, and most of their business was takeout; it wasn’t uncommon to see folks lined up at 6:45 a.m. on the weekends to be sure to get their favorites. Boulted caught the attention of publications including Bon Appetit magazine and The Washington Post

But as its following grew, the shop hit max capacity. “Our pastry oven broke once every six months, the HVAC system was underpowered — everything that could go wrong went wrong, but we managed to stay open,” says Bellamy. They started looking for a new location a few years ago and found the perfect upgrade just a few blocks away on Dupont Circle. “We got to stay in the neighborhood and build out this big, beautiful bakery!” says Bellamy. “We worked really hard, but there’s been a tremendous amount of luck and privilege.” 

The new 5,000-square-foot space is open and airy and seats about 30 people. Boulted is now up to 22 staffers; customers can watch bakers knead bread and put it in the oven, as well as see the mill in operation. The vibe is industrial and eclectic: Kirkpatrick furnished the seating area with finds from vintage shops and Facebook Marketplace. The wood for the benches came from their old space, and folks still mourning the loss of The Alley on Hillsborough Street will recognize its chairs in a back corner. There are fresh flowers on the tables and coffee is served in antique mugs.

Local artist Chris Wilcox made a metal wheat strand to hang above the mill. “We wanted to honor the experience that all of our customers had on South Street with something familiar,” says Kirkpatrick. “People are comfortable being here.” 

Danielle Teed is one of those customers. She frequently bikes over to Boulted with her husband and children. “It’s so bright, and the kids love to see all of the baking magic happen,” Teed says. “And finally, an espresso machine!” 

Beyond that, “our menu hasn’t changed at all and I don’t think it ever will,” says Bellamy. 

That said, he does introduce a few new things each season. “We love to maximize fresh Carolina produce,” says Bellamy. For summer, they’ve got a Tomato Tartine (a hearty piece of levain topped with thick-sliced heirloom tomatoes, cheddar, Duke’s mayo, salt and pepper, all melted together) and a Summer Tart (okra, sweet corn and squash, plus pesto, feta and a little savory custard, within a buttery cornmeal crust). There’s also a sweet, glossy Peach Tart when the fruit is at its peak. 

While opening a new shop is never totally smooth (“There have been some little bumps,” admits Kirkpatrick), getting settled into the new location has been a full-circle moment for Bellamy. “My family comes here, and so do my friends from high school,” he says. “This community raised me, and now I get to bake for them.”

This article originally appeared in the August issue of WALTER magazine.