On a granite mill built in Raleigh, North Carolina — “The best you can get of its size,” he says — he mills three or four regular grains, plus a few special grains selected on a weekly basis. His wheat is Turkey Red, a heritage winter wheat he gets from a father-daughter farm in Jennings, Kansas.
McInnis focuses on making simple, excellent breads of the sort American diners have limited exposure to. His main loaf is “Kansas red,” made from the aforementioned wheat, but he also regularly stocks vollkorn roggenbrot (a full-grain German rye bread), French baguettes and a seeded sourdough levain, packed with fresh whole grains and seeds like flax, sunflower and pumpkin. He also bakes regular specials, a rosemary/roast potato loaf, a buckwheat levain and a spelt levain. And so far, customers have been responding positively.
“There are these three French people on vacation who came in, and we tried some bread,” says McInnis. “[One of them] said [of the baguette], ‘Don’t change anything.’” According to the tourists, the texture and flavor of his baguettes were spot on.
While McInnis has some interest in wholesale, he’s the only employee, making large orders difficult. That said, he does have plans for his retail side. Already, he’s selling pizzas from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, and on a recent weekend, he turned around 40 ‘zas. He’s also looking at other retail elements he hopes to add in the coming months, such as a fixed-price breakfast table with breads and spreads, and limited-run sandwiches. Though none of his breads are gluten-free right now, he’s open to the concept down the line.
Currently, Nightingale Bread is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays through Fridays, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.