Ryan Morgan didn’t plan on running a bakery. He had worked as a mechanic his whole life and enjoyed the stability of making medical supplies for Johnson & Johnson. But when his mom, Carol Forbriger, needed help running her bakery, Sweet William’s (on Montgomery Road at the time), Morgan said yes. And we’re glad he did.
While Morgan had no prior baking experience, he did have determination and a loyalty to his mother to make the bakery successful. He consulted with Jeff Yankellow of King Arthur Flour, who helped improve the quality of his product. While the bread continued to get better, Morgan’s passion for the bakery grew, and he decided to quit his job in order to man the bakery full time. To make it official, he decided to rebrand and named the bakery after the 16-ton stone oven that makes their bread unique.
What makes the bread at Sixteen Bricks so good? Integrity. Today there are hundreds of gimmicks and tricks to produce perfectly consistent bread, such as adding flavors, coloring, and preservatives. Morgan says no to these additives because he understands real bread isn’t perfect—it’s a living organism that varies based on humidity and temperature.
Instead, he uses various types of flour and natural fermentation to achieve different flavors of bread. Morgan manages to maintain consistent quality even with those variables, and he attributes that high bar to the chefs he provides for. “Working for chefs means you have to be the best you can possibly be,” he says. “They’re not afraid to call you out if the bread doesn’t meet their standards.”
While you can find it at some retailers around Cincinnati, Morgan suggests experiencing his bread at one of the restaurants that serve his product, including Orchids at Palm Court, to get the true Sixteen Bricks experience.
— Jenny Yanosik
Julie publishes Edible Ohio Valley with her family. After 15 years in the world of commercial photography, her lens is now focused on recording the sustainability movement in the Midwest. A graduate of UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, she’s a partner and co-founder of The Fairview Agency, a multidisciplinary creative firm.