David Bauer of Farm and Sparrow - Biography

Candler, NC

November 2013

David Bauer came to baking by way of brawn. As a 22-year-old working for a farmer in Wisconsin, Bauer was part of a farm crew that turned salvaged brick and stone into a working oven. With no heat in the living quarters, and with plenty of Wisconsin cold, Bauer took to the oven for all its worth, spending as much time near it as possible—cooking all his food and even drying his clothes in it. The lure of this warm mass of brick had sparked a fire in him.

Moving to closer to the Canadian border to attend a craft school in 2002, Bauer immersed himself in a world of master craftsmen—masons, boat builders, textile artists, ceramic artists, and more. Eventually, inevitably, Bauer took a shining to Oven Mason Alan Scott, leader of the wood-fired baking revival in the United States and the person who taught Bauer the appreciation and deep relationship a craftsman can have with his raw materials, whatever they are.  

Invigorated, Bauer left for Minneapolis in 2003 and spent two years baking for chefs in and around the city, including helping the renowned Lucia Watson open Lucia’s To Go. Next he traveled to California to meet and learn from cult bread hero David Miller, followed by a stage at Bouchon Bakery. Driven by his own passion for precision, Bauer gave up a coveted spot at The French Laundry to take over a small baking outfit in the Appalachian Mountains. With nothing more than a brick oven and a stone mill, Bauer quickly began building his reputation in the area. In fact, wherever he is—staging under friend and mentor Peter Pastan, opening Farm and Sparrow, or founding All Souls Pizza in Asheville with Chef Brendan Reusing—Bauer spends his time on the eternal pursuit of balancing flavors in the unpredictable world of fermentation, and enhancing the natural flavor of high-quality grains.