An inside look at some of Boise’s best bread

by Veronica Lemaster

Photos Kimberlee Miller

Whether you’ve had it in a fine restaurant, café, coffeehouse, or you’ve simply been to one of their cafés, we’ve all experienced the delicious taste of Zeppole’s hand-crafted bread. With Zeppole products sold at grocery stores such as the Boise Co-op and Whole Foods, and in places outside of the Treasure Valley such as Sun Valley, Idaho Falls and Ontario, Oregon, it’s hard to believe there’s only one bakery producing all the fresh bread and baked goods.

Zeppole Baking Company was born in 1993 after the owner, Gary Ebert, traveled throughout Europe studying Old World techniques and gathering rustic bread recipes. He returned to Boise and opened Zeppole in its former Parkcenter location.  Thirteen years later, Charles and Alison Alpers purchased the company after having over 30 years’ experience in the high-end hospitality industry. Zeppole remains a family company, with both Charles and Alison heavily involved, as well as their two sons Ian and Ryan.

Zeppole offers around 20 different hand-crafted artisan breads with recipes from throughout Europe. One of the most popular breads is the Zeppole Ciabatta, a long flat loaf with a dimpled surface that has been lightly basted with olive oil and sprinkled with rosemary and salt. If you’re more of a sandwich person, look to the Pane Rustica, an Italian loaf made of mixed wheat, and white and rye flours. They don’t offer gluten free, because as Charles said, “It would require a separate bakery, and we can’t do that right now. We don’t want to do it half-way and put people at risk.”

All of their bread is fresh with no preservatives. That means every morning, all unsold bread is removed from grocery store shelves and replaced with fresh loaves to guarantee the best bread possible. Their leftover bread, sandwiches, and other unsold items are then donated to local agencies. They stay true to local; their flour comes from wheat grown and milled from Blackfoot, Idaho, and they are the only artisan bakery that is an Idaho Preferred member.

Their café locations (Downtown on North 8th Street and South Apple Street) also offer an assortment of sandwiches, soups, salads, and pastries. The new Apple Street café serves beer and wine and has more breakfast and evening options.

Zeppole has won Boise Weekly’s “Best of Boise” eight times and the Idaho Statesman’s “Best of the Treasure Valley” three times. “We are happy to be a part of the Boise community and appreciate all of the support we’ve gotten throughout all the years,” Charles said.

As for the future, the Alpers have brought on Ron Rupocinski as Director of Bakery Operations, who will help the company introduce more pastries and baked goods. Rupocinski has over 30 years of experience in larger volume, high-end bakeries, as well as serving 15 years as a Director of Research and Development for Krispy Kreme. “We brought him on to take us to the next level,” Charles said. “It’s a big commitment for our company and we are excited to see where this will take us going forward.”

As Autumn approaches, Zeppole has you covered with Fall favorites such as their pumpkin bread and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Zeppole will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this Thanksgiving and will host an event for the community. Check out their Facebook page for more details.

Zeppole Bakery is located at 641 W. McGregor Court, Suite 106. Phone (208) 342-1399

Apple Street Café: 2345 S. Apple Street (208) 338-1499.

Downtown Café: 217 N. 8th Street(208) 345–2149.

Email: charles@zeppolebakery.com.
Wholesale orders at orders@zeppolebakery.com.

Facebook: Zeppole Bakery