Gusto Bread rises from the living room to a full-service bakery in Long Beach – OCRegister

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Arturo Enciso’s passion for baking started when he spotted an old wood-fired oven in the corner of a garden at his Long Beach apartment complex about seven years ago.

He was drawn to it and decided to chop up some wood and fire it up. He also got a hold of “From the Wood Fired Oven” by Richard Miscovich, a book that offered him inspiration as well baking techniques. Soon Enciso was fermenting wild yeast, hand mixing dough and baking bread.

Enciso was instantly hooked and now, after moving from the little oven to converting his living room into a commercial kitchen where locals would often line up outside waiting to buy his loaves of bread, Enciso and his life partner Ana Belén Salatino have opened their first brick-and-mortar bakery.

“We’ve come a long way with this bakery. I’m doing things that I never thought I would be doing. The things I dreamed of doing, now I’m doing them,” said Enciso, who opened Gusto Bread in Long Beach’s Retro Row in late August.

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    Arturo Enciso has the baskets stacked and ready for the next day as his new Bakery on Fourth Street serves up fresh baked goods in Long Beach, CA, on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

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    Ana Salatino and Arturo Enciso serve up fresh baked bread and other treats on Fourth Street in Long Beach, CA, on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

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    Arturo Enciso shows some fresh baked cookies at his new bakery on Fourth Street in Long Beach, CA, on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer)

The 1,500-square-foot bakery includes a small retail space where people can order items such as sweet bread, flatbreads, Mexican coffees, and, of course, loaves of bread.

“I’m very happy with my whole menu, I think it’s come a long way. It’s really inspired by the Americas. It’s not French-inspired, or European-inspired, it’s inspired by the Americas,” he said.

From little oven to bakery

After Enciso first discovered the oven in the garden of his old apartment building, baking in it became a weekly habit.

“It was something about the simplicity of the ingredients that spoke to me, just flour and water essentially and how much that can change depending on the baker and what you want to achieve, so that just really fascinated me,” he said.

Later as his newfound passion continued to grow, Enciso and Salatino took several trips to visit bakeries in the Bay Area, the East Coast, Oaxaca and Spain. Enciso eventually took a baking course with Miscovich, whose book had influenced him early on, and who Enciso considers a mentor.

That’s when he realized he wanted to commit himself to baking.

In 2017 the couple moved into a two-story house at 928 Chestnut Ave., where they transformed the living room into a commercial kitchen and Gusto Bread was born.

Things moved quickly from there as restaurants and cafes such as Wide Eyes Open Palms and  Rasselbock Kitchen & Beer Garden began ordering loaves of bread from him while Long Beach locals began lining up at his front door to buy the bread.

“That’s when I started having the drive and the vision to build a bakery, and that was my goal,” Enciso said.

While he made his reputation with loaves of bread such as his sourdough loaf, at the bakery he’s serving items including the California Loaf, made with California-grown heirloom wheat, as well as a vegan loaf called the Seeded Loaf.

He’s also been making more original dishes with house-made masa such as the Nixtamal Queen, a caramelized sweet bread which made of blue corn masa and dough.

“It’s one of my own creations and that’s something that’s become very popular for us,” he said.

Other pastries include Mexican sweet breads including conchas and polvoron cookies.

“For me it’s always been about trying to get the best ingredients I can to make the bread I really love baking, that’s all I really want to do,” Enciso said.

Gusto Bread

Where: 2710 E. Fourth St.

Hours: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday

Information: 562-343-1881,

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