best bakeries in boston?
the recent thread on hi-rise's sandwiches contained some grumblings about their bread as well. i found this suprising, as i've always loved their bread. it's probably my favorite bakery in boston, which is not exactly lacking for bakeries. i haven't been out to clear flour in awhile, though i get their baguettes at canto 6 in JP.
so i'm wondering if anyone has opinions on best bakeries in boston?
i would suggest 4 categories:
2) other yeast breads (loaves, foccacia, croissants, etc.)
3) quick breads (scones, muffins, sweet breads, etc.)
4) cookies and other whatnot.
i would put clear flour as best for baguettes, and hi-rise as best for other yeast breads and quick breads. any other opinions?
1) Solely for baguettes and little french rolls, I think B&R breads (the ex-SelDeLaTerre baker) in Framingham beats Clear Flour -- they just coax more flavor out of the wheat. They supply Formaggio Kitchen, Allandale Farms, and probably a few other places. Does SDLT still have that little bakery in the entrance, and have they maintained the old standards? I haven't been there in ages, anyone know? I haven't been as blown away by B&R's more rustic breads -- they're very good, but quite expensive and not notably better than the ones from Clear Flour.
2)Iggy's has the best ciabatta in the area, although Clear Flour's is also excellent. Iggy's focaccia is great, although it's kind of its own thing and not like any focaccia I've seen elsewhere. Hi-Rise has a few standouts -- the semolina bread and the yeasted corn loaf are great, as is the plain white sandwich loaf.
3) Best muffins I've had are in Newton, at a little place on the Newton/Waltham border called Country Desserts. 54 Lexington St., which is what Moody St. becomes when it enters Newton. Nice old ladies run the place. The pastries are fine, but the muffins are awesome, particularly the blueberry and the coffee-cake muffins.
4) I think lots of places have a few great cookies, cakes, etc., not so many have do well with everything. (That's a great tip above about Clear Flour's sweet things, I'll have to check those out next time I go.) I think Hi-Rise's chocolate loaf and vanilla loaf cake slices are worth a long detour (and the Hi Prices), not so much the cookies and other sweets. Flour in the S. End makes great tarts, but a sugar bun I got there recently was leaden and a little off-tasting.
Oh, haven't mentioned Mariposa Bakery, on Mass Ave. in Cambridge between Central Sq. and MIT. More of a cafe, slightly quirky selection, but they bake everything in house and it's almost all excellent. I really like their little cookies -- lemon-butter, molasses, chocolate -- nicely snack-sized, not guilt-inducing. I recall a rave for their bagels a while back (by MBfkaMB??) but I never get there before lunchtime and having a bagel with my sandwich just seems like carb madness.
For great cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and sweets in general, there's a new place in Newtonville called Bread & Chocolate that has the neighborhood buzzing. They make all the sweets there, with ingredients like real european butter and they're fabulous. I recommend the cupcakes, with real buttercream frosting and the chocolate mousse cake. They also have great european style sandwiches and homemade soups daily.
I like Japonaise as well; their ham and cheese croissants are great, their tea sandwiches on Japanese white bread are yummy (though not very chowish and certainly overpriced). Athans in Brookline also has excellent croissants (and many other things as well) but I don't know who bakes those.
Anyone know where that great, dense dark bread they serve at Hamersley's comes from?