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    Gabriel Dumitrescu was born and raised in Romania where he worked at his family's bakery.
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    Our Daily Bread in Cornelius uses Old World traditions to make delicious bread, sandwiches, and pizza.
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    Gabriel Dumitrescu and his son Cris, 18, unload trays of fresh bread dough while coworker Jason Martincescu looks on.
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    Gabriel Dumitrescu (left) and Jason Martincescu prepare the day's bread.
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    Gabriel Dumitrescu and Jason Martincescu load some bread into the brick oven.

Slice of Life

By Karel Bond Lucander | Photography by Gayle Shomer

Posted: Thursday, May. 30, 2013

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Gabriel Dumitrescu may hail from the land of Dracula’s Castle, but there is nothing supernatural about his new bakery, Our Daily Bread. This bread, sandwich, and pizza shop in Cornelius is home to the simple, Old World traditions he learned as a child growing up in the Transylvania region of Romania.

Dumitrescu uses only quality, organic ingredients, family recipes handed down for generations, and baking techniques that have been around for centuries, including a brick oven he and a Romanian friend spent three months building. Dumitrescu, 44, says he had to build the oven because nothing like it exists in the United States. It was modeled after the oven he helped his father build as a teenager for the family bakery in Sibiu, Romania, where he worked growing up.

“Even the bricks to make the oven didn’t exist here,” Dumitrescu says. “I had to work with a special fabricator in Statesville to make these natural bricks of clay.”

Dumitrescu moved his family to California in 2000 with dreams of opening his own bakery. But his aspirations of making it in the land of opportunity needed financing, so initially he had to work as a truck driver to pay the bills. The family relocated to Cornelius about two years later, and after more than a decade of squirreling away money, he was finally able to get back to his sole passion and opened Our Daily Bread in March.“Bread making is an art, and every loaf of bread is its own work of art,” he says. “Your hands are your most important tools for consistency, along with excellent ingredients. This is my dream. There is nothing I would rather be doing.”

Dumitrescu says he begins most days at 2 a.m., readying the dough in anticipation of the first rush of morning customers who come looking for a warm, crusty loaf or breakfast sandwich. He gets excited talking about how important it is not to offer pre-prepared items.

“Frozen bread thawed and baked is not fresh bread,” he says.

The same bread Dumitrescu bakes every day is also the cornerstone of the sandwiches he makes, some with European influences, like German Schnitzel, as well as more familiar fare including Philly cheese steak, grilled chicken or cold-cut combos. You can have them made on European or sourdough, rye, wheat, German rolls, baguettes, and more. Though it is Old World style, it is similar to what you might find in certain areas of the United States.

“My bread is more like what you might find in San Francisco or New Jersey Italian bakeries,” he says.

Some of his treat breads are a good option for breakfast, “with a smear of Nutella or peanut butter,” Dumitrescu says. They include “cornetti,” a crescent-shaped bread sprinkled with poppy seeds, and “cheese flower,” a soft, buttery pastry with a touch of cheese folded in. He also has cupcakes, cake pops, and various specialty cakes, including carrot, coffee, banana-lemon and red velvet. And his pizza, custom made to order and baked in a separate brick oven, features his homemade sauce and a wide variety of toppings.

If you stop in, don’t be surprised to see one of his five kids or wife, who also works as a nurse in Lincolnton, helping him out.

“This is a family business,” he says, “so everybody pitches in.”


Our Daily Bread

20124 W. Catawba Ave., Cornelius


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