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Kretchmar's Bakery 

It is not known how Kretchmar's Bakery makes its butter-flake rolls. For those who have any regard for their arteries, it's probably unwise to ask. The answer might just frighten one away from the most perfect dinner rolls in Western Pennsylvania.

 The possibility exists that the Beaver boulangerie simply takes one flaky roll molecule and supersaturates it with 1.68 gallons of melted butter until the thing inflates to the size of your average dinner roll. More conventional means are also a possibility. The fact remains, though, that these are rolls to drive for.

 Kretchmar's, a family-run institution since 1960, has a full line of baked goods, including homemade cakes, pies, cookies, pastries and English muffins, and even BreadWorks bread, upon request. For the globally inclined sweet-tooth the bakery also offers Black Forest cake, French butter-cream icing, and tres leches, a sweet Latin American-style cake, made with three milks. The shop itself fits in with Mayberry-esque Beaver, recalling a perhaps mythical time when shop clerks actually seemed pleased to serve you.

 But back to those rolls. When one buys a dozen (for $4.09), one has purchased a kind of liquid bread: gold-colored, moist and, as expected, buttery. As they bake up in Kretchmar's ovens, the tops of the rolls separate into sections.

 These darlings of the roll world can be frozen and consumed later, but only those with inhuman self-restraint should attempt it.

 Instead, follow these suggestions as soon as possible for properly enjoying a butter-flake roll: Warm them in the oven until slightly golden; remove the butter-stained paper wrapper; grasp one of the roll's creases; and peel off one of the many quarter-inch sections.

The next action is optional, but highly recommended: Spread as much butter as can be stomached on the peeled-off section. You're already eating about a pound of butter in one sitting -- now is not the time to worry about health. 

So go ahead, ingest. After the buttery pleasure subsides, wipe your chin. Repeat until sated. Or defibrillated.

Kretchmar's Bakery, 664 Third St., Beaver. 724-774-2324 or www.kbakery.com

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