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Best Bread in Detroit Region

mrfood1965 Oct 24, 2006 11:53 PM

What does a guy have to do to get a fantastic loaf of bread in this town? OK folks, Chamberlain Bakery appears to be gone. (If I'm wrong tell me where I can get that incredible Rye!) Zingerman's - my artisanal aficionados - is a pale (or should that be stale) version of what it used to be. Yes, even the once oh-so-pure, avant-garde and loveable Avalon bakery has fallen victim to the mass production demon that haunts Detroit even today. Disagree all you want but I maintain that there is an enormous void in this market for talented craft bakers. I even considered pooling resources and driving to Bob Pisor's Stone House Bakery in Leland once a week. Yes, I am a desperate, bread-loving guy. What is your favorite? Please don't respond with Cantaro, Panera, Great Harvest or some such pseudo-ugh nominations. I'm talking tangy sourdough, earthy pumpernickel, dense sour rye, hearty seedy eight-grain....Many thanks!

  1. w
    wolfgangdomeier Mar 31, 2014 08:53 PM

    I am looking for the recipe for the old Chamberlain bread and have a custom baker start making it again. There is a custom baker in Dixboro who might be convinced to take on this labor of love. I wonder if we can get together enough old customers and do some research to find the old recipe.

    Please help me in this project.

    1. g
      gan911 Oct 24, 2012 03:50 AM

      since this thread got resurrected, whats the best baguette in the area? i'm tired of $3-4 for a small loaf that is thick, dense, and limp....

      3 Replies
      1. re: gan911
        boagman Oct 24, 2012 01:43 PM

        I'm quite a big fan of Give Thanks bakery's baguette in downtown Rochester...and their pain au chocolate is also right on par with Le Petit Prince's in Birmingham. Give Thanks' biggest problem is their early closing hours, but their baguette is *definitely* worth the trip. Fan-stinking-tastic.

        1. re: boagman
          rainsux Oct 24, 2012 09:56 PM

          I recommend their almond croissant ...

          1. re: rainsux
            boagman Oct 24, 2012 11:49 PM

            Is that a fact? Is this a croissant with almond paste in it, or is it just a standard croissant topped with shaved almonds?

      2. c
        christyar Oct 23, 2012 05:33 PM

        Has anyone tried crust in fenton?

        2 Replies
        1. re: christyar
          missmind Oct 23, 2012 09:55 PM

          Yes. I had (parts of) a marshmallow, a wonderful raspberry-filled donut, a lemon/cheese danish, and a pizza that were all amazing and comparatively cheap. The bialy I had was nothing like I remember bialys being like (dense and chewy), but it had an excellent shattering crust and their housemade butter is crazy salty and delicious and I fantasize about it regularly. I haven't tried the bread yet on its own, but I've roped in a friend for a road trip, so report to follow, eventually.

          1. re: christyar
            mi2ca2mi Oct 24, 2012 11:31 AM

            I bought a loaf of their white bread a few months back that was excellent for toasting for BLTs. I believe it was the City White variety.

          2. z
            Zeinab Oct 17, 2012 06:41 PM

            Mrfood1965, I have got you covered! It's a short trip across the Detroit/Windsor border to find the bread Gods you are looking for! Blaks bakery has been baking the best rye bread you will ever try---and I hold you to that, since 1918. The also have a wide variety of other breads and buns, from Vienna, sourdough, pumpernickel to challah, pumpkinseed bread and 9-grain. My family has been going there for generations and it has never been a disappointment! If you also have a sweet tooth, I would recommend the round chocolate donuts and apple fritters---when you walk in the aroma alone will let you know you've made a wise choice

            1 Reply
            1. re: Zeinab
              missmind Oct 23, 2012 09:50 PM

              I've been to Blak's, and I've had the bread many times (Windsorites seem to love this place) and I don't get the hype. It's ok rye, but light and not dense, and the cookies are all...dry. Personally, I like European Market's rye breads better--lots of variety, lots of flavor, still not dense, but moist. Their other baked goods are very pretty, but suck.

              Italia Bakery makes a very nice ciabatta. And if you get there at the right time, there's a...well, it's a two-layer flat bread with a layer of black olives, sundried tomatoes, and rosemary in the middle that is displayed in a basket on the counter. Eat immediately. Thank me later.

            2. k
              keslacye Oct 12, 2008 08:37 PM

              Two places I can think of - first, the bakery at Pape Joe's Gourmet Market turns out some tasty breads. I have only had them from the Birmingham location, but I'm sure it's good in Rochester too. Also, there is a baker who shows up at the Saturday Farmer's Market in Royal Oak who makes the MOST DELICIOUS multigrain bread. I don't know their name, but at least last summer they didn't have a storefront yet. They sell out of most everything by noon, but if you get there early everything can be had sliced or not.

              1 Reply
              1. re: keslacye
                rcurylo Dec 28, 2008 09:03 PM

                I had for many years enjoyed the limited (but extremely tasty) offerings of the Chamberlain Bakery. Used to have them ship bread to me in Minnesota. Would love to find out if/when something 'Chamberlain-like' ever becomes available. Until that time, I find bread from http://www.dimpflmeierbakery.com/ (Canadian) to be satisfactory.

              2. b
                bakerbob Feb 13, 2008 08:41 AM

                Boule in Plymouth. They are doing a great job meeting the needs of the community as well as producing beautiful artisan breads. The best scones I have ever had too! Very talented bakers in a small downtown shop right on the Trail, filled with heavenly bread smells and beautiful loaves. Get your coffee across the street but buy your bakery items at Boule and you'll go home satisfied!

                1. b
                  buttermonkey Jan 15, 2008 05:09 AM

                  I feel that Give Thanks bakery in Rochester is some of the best bread in the area. True artisan breads, great crust, great texture, and flavor that can't be beat. Roger "picked up" baking as a second career after a successful banking career and strives to have a good, consistant product or it is pitched in the bin strait-away. Pastries are beautiful as with the english-style meat pies are offered and the beef mushroom pie is worth the drive (as is the bread and pastry).

                  I need to mention that Schoolcraft College most of the time has good bread but it goes quick. The shop is by the American Harvest restaurant has SHORT hours. Caveat: the breads are student products so... But, I can say 95% of the bread I have got there was very good and cheap (I've gotten bunk loaves tere before). Don't bother with the baguette but the multi-grain is nice stuff. If your there by 12pm Tuesday-Friday when classes are in sessionyou will be in luck. Chef Brenda Hallberg (a baking instructor) will be opening a bakery in Northville soon.

                  1. j
                    jayceon Dec 10, 2007 07:47 PM

                    definitely jeff renner's bread in ann arbor available at fresh seasons market on liberty west of stadium tu- sat like at 3:30 and 5:00. people in the know line up for it. beats zingerman's and avalon for true french baguette

                    1. c
                      cafemonamie Oct 23, 2007 11:55 AM

                      The Polish Market in Troy has a good selection of pumpernickel, rye and multi-grain breads. I love their dark, multi-grain rye called "Sunny" - made with sunflower seeds. They have a fabulous variation on that using soy beans - incidently, it's called "Soya." They bake fresh loaves of both breads at least twice a day. You can buy them pre-sliced but I found those dry out too quickly - so I suggest purchasing them whole. They also freeze fairly well.

                      Polish Market
                      2938 E Maple Rd
                      Troy, MI 48083

                      Good luck!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: cafemonamie
                        kellycolorado Oct 24, 2007 09:18 AM

                        If you like a french sourdough pain au levain, I highly recommend the Give Thanks Bakery in downtown Rochester. See www.givethanksbakery.com . They also have baguette and some other breads but I almost always get the pain au levain.


                        1. re: kellycolorado
                          coney with everything Feb 22, 2008 07:41 AM

                          I'm resurrecting this thread because I finally got a chance to visit the Give Thanks bakery yesterday (courtesy of the black screen of death on my work computer!). Got the sourdough pain au levain, and a ham & asiago croissant for lunch. Fantastic! If I'd had more money on me, I would have gotten the pumpernickle flavored with raisins and cocoa (not caramel, as the baker explained) along with the sourdough, as it looked absolutely scrumptious. The sweets looked yummy and I will definitely go back.

                          I was there about 1 pm and they were down to only a couple of kinds of bread, but the baker told me they always have more of an assortment earlier in the day.

                          1. re: coney with everything
                            kellycolorado Feb 25, 2008 09:22 AM

                            They will hold you some bread if you call ahead- great since they sell out quickly.

                            The North Country loaf has become my favorite lately- It's like a sourdough levain with some whole wheat. They don't have it fresh daily but they have schedules they hand out or you can call and ask.

                      2. h
                        houndlover Oct 23, 2007 10:18 AM

                        Mr. Food,
                        Let me know if you "pool resources" becaue Bob Pisor's Stone House Cibatta is the best around. I do not live there anymore and crave that loaf! You can mail order their bread, which my mom has done and it's great. It would be less expensive than driving up, however, the experience not the same. Good luck in your bread quest. I have bought bread at the Give Thanks Bakery in Rochester and was pleased but did not try a rye.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: houndlover
                          mrfood1965 Nov 24, 2007 09:20 AM


                          You read my mind. I'm going to mail order a batch for the holidays. I'll let you know how well they travel. I think the closest (to Metro Detroit) retailers of Stone House are in Midland.



                          1. re: houndlover
                            willygreen Feb 13, 2008 11:16 AM

                            Be careful before you drive all the way up here to get a loaf of bread. Stone House has changed hands. They also have had a large production facility in Traverse City for quite some time. IMO, much lower quality than the stuff that comes out of Leland. I haven't been happy with the Stone House Bread I have bought from the grocery stores in Traverse City.

                          2. n
                            North Oakland Gal Oct 23, 2007 09:01 AM

                            Stand in line at Zeman's (Greenfield and 10 Mile) for the best, chewiest Jewish Rye Bread ever!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: North Oakland Gal
                              dearborn barkis Nov 14, 2007 09:13 PM

                              nice tip, gal. I found Zeman's and tried a loaf of Jewish Rye today. excellent.

                              1. re: North Oakland Gal
                                coney with everything Nov 15, 2007 06:53 AM

                                there's another Zeman's at 13 & Southfield, conveniently across the street from Penzeys (and that market that used to be Vic's--can't remember what it is now). Zemans also has awesome babkas.

                                1. re: North Oakland Gal
                                  mrfood1965 Nov 24, 2007 09:16 AM

                                  Zeman's is OK but it doesn't have the depth of flavor (combination of something ethereal - smokiness maybe? - and tangy) and the old world starter that Chamberlain had. I heard from a local chef earlier this year that he and a partner were interested in producing a Chamberlain-like line of breads but haven't taken the plunge yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

                                2. m
                                  milcrat Oct 23, 2007 08:39 AM

                                  I totally agree with you mrfood. Zingerman's bread has gone down hill and the bread service there has gone down the drain. I've been going there for the past 6 years and since the last 3 years it's been horrible. The baguettes are like rubber. Also the staff doesn't care. I asked them to pick me a fresher one and they just picked the first one they saw. They didn't even do the squeeze test that they used to do to find the best one. At the end zingerman bread is just too expensive for bread that is no better than what you get at whole foods.

                                  So i wanted to know if you found the best bread place yet. I really would like to try what you've found.

                                  1. m
                                    mrfood1965 Nov 8, 2006 03:45 PM

                                    Any specific recommendations at Eastern Market? I associate Bartz with big airy pillows of white bread and those gooey cinnamon apple loaves that make the list of top comfort foods of the Upper Midwest. Good if that's if that's what ails you but not exactly what I'm in the hunt for.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: mrfood1965
                                      Docsknotinn Jan 15, 2008 11:34 AM

                                      Milanos but they are still not in the category of some of the other area offerings. Zingermanns quailty is down I agree but it is still just as good as any others in the area I know of. The give thanks bakery is great but I'm in Rochester and it can be hard for people to find. I give then my first pick since the zing train has gone so commercial.

                                      1. re: Docsknotinn
                                        potato Oct 12, 2008 06:54 AM

                                        I went to Milano's after a morning at Eastern Market.

                                        Their bread was not "bad" -- no chemical after taste, no raw or gummy insides, and it was fun to see the rows of little rolls moving along the conveyor belt behind the counter. I bought some rolls ($2.24 / dozen), which the saleslady emphatically assured me were "really good." They were okay but nothing to swoon over.

                                        I considered buying some of the sweets but they all looked overly sweet and coated with a thick powdered sugar glaze. I bought a sweet with a poppyseed filling that everyone in my family judged to be far too sweet.

                                        I would say, acceptable for a loaf of soft bread, but definitely NOT for anything hearty and crusty, so in my opinion, not really worth a stop. The coleslaw was too sweet, while the cashier was not at all -- she yelled at my 4 year old when he tried to take our bag of bread and took someone else's instead. I think it's pretty mean to make a 4 year old cry, myself.

                                    2. j
                                      jlawrence01 Nov 6, 2006 06:49 AM

                                      Have you tried any of the vendors at Detroit's Eastern Market or Windsor's Public Market?

                                      I always bought my bread at Bartz' Bakery on Telegraph in Dearborn.

                                      1. c
                                        ckbear Nov 5, 2006 09:24 PM

                                        Ive heard they opened an outpost of LA's La Brea Bakery out in Detroit - can anyone confirm? They're known out here for their awesome artisinal breads.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: ckbear
                                          mrfood1965 Nov 8, 2006 03:41 PM

                                          Yes and no. La Brea is doing what other - seems like mostly West Coast - bakeries are doing nowadays and that is selling pre-baked loaves that are then finished off in the supermarket bakery dept. ovens or else they're shipping across country. La Brea can be found at: D&W, Farmer Jack, and Kroger. Quite honestly something gets "lost in transportation" if you ask me. It just ain't the same bread when it gets to Kroger.

                                          Along the same lines, Morgan and York in Ann Arbor was selling Pain Poilane shipped direct (half loaves were $15 as I recall). Now this I'd be willing to try although the price is steep.

                                        2. j
                                          Jeff from Michigan Nov 1, 2006 11:16 AM

                                          I recommend Burghardt's at 7 Mile and Farmington for their exceptional German Sourdough Rye.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Jeff from Michigan
                                            rtv Nov 1, 2008 04:41 PM

                                            not there anymore!

                                            1. re: rtv
                                              coney with everything Nov 2, 2008 07:17 AM

                                              Whoa, what happened? Their website says they were in business more than 100 years!

                                          2. b
                                            bishopsbitter Oct 29, 2006 11:51 PM

                                            Unless things have changed radically surely Hamtramck was (and is?) the place to pick up loaves of "bread" versus bread. Now if your definition of bread does not include weighing in like a bowling ball and possibly severing several fingers trying to carve a slice through a crust of sublime thickness . . . seek elsewhere.

                                            Although estranged from the area for some years when back there a visit for a loaf and some hard sausage for a road trip north is absolutely worth it.

                                            I can't imagine their breads (and cream cakes!) have gone so far back in the betting as to not trump most other offerings. Apart from New York it's one of the few places I ever found in the US where they bake "bread".

                                            [An amusing aside: I once went to a bakery in Tulsa Oklahoma and was told "no we don't sell any unsliced bread" . . . . well obviously it was unsliced at one stage, yes? I tried to bargain for one yet to be guillotined but to no avail.]

                                            I suggest set course for Hamtramck.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                                              Cherry Oct 24, 2007 01:40 PM

                                              I second this recommendation. The best bakery in my opinion is New Deluxe on Conant at Casmere.

                                            2. a
                                              AndreaT Oct 29, 2006 07:47 PM

                                              The artisan sourdough bread from River Street Bakery in Ypsilanti is fantastic - you can buy it right next door at the Ypsilanti co-op (fresh Mon, Wed, Fri I think???) - when it comes in warm from the oven people line up. They have a 3 seed sourdough that is fantastic (and great toasted) - and their baguette is VERY chewy and flavorful. Best I've found since I moved here a year ago. I think it's a wood-fired oven, it must be to give their crusts such good texture.

                                              I stopped going to Zingerman's when they treated me like I was crazy on my first trip there when I asked for a loaf of ciabatta. They gave me all this condescending attitude like I was asking for a unicorn or something "uh ... i've never heard of anything called that - are you sure that's what it is called?". Anyway, I have always thought their bread to be fine but overrated and overpriced.

                                              1. c
                                                CestMoi Oct 28, 2006 06:09 PM

                                                Is Holiday baking bread again? I live a stone's throw of the original Holiday and they buy their bread from Superior.

                                                1. c
                                                  CestMoi Oct 28, 2006 09:20 AM

                                                  There is a small baker in Livonia, I think it's in a residential area, Superior Bakery. The best baguette in the city. Plain white bread, perfect crust, delicious bread. They make a great bread bowl too. There are plenty of great bakeries out there, but if you want a plain loaf, look for Superior.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: CestMoi
                                                    mrfood1965 Oct 28, 2006 02:20 PM

                                                    OK - I will check this one out and get back to the boards. As far as baguettes go, Holiday Market in Canton makes a tasty baguette in either traditional (including epi) or sourdough.

                                                  2. b
                                                    bjohnson Oct 26, 2006 05:24 PM

                                                    Try the Give Thanks Bakery in downtown Rochester. It's a little hard to find - behind the Main Street Billiards with a back alley entrance. Wonderful breads and pastries.

                                                    1. l
                                                      luckygirl Oct 26, 2006 04:43 PM

                                                      Not a loaf of bread but...

                                                      There is a Syrian baker 17 & Dequinder whose flat breads are beautiful. The name of the baakery iis P'ain D'or. Let them warm up a bread for ii their oven. It only takes a minute and makes such a treat! My faves are the cheese and parsley and the Zatar (sp).

                                                      1. l
                                                        luckygirl Oct 26, 2006 04:39 PM

                                                        Gosh, I haven't experienced any deterioration in Zingerman's bread. Care to elaborate on what your feeling that their bread isn't what it used to be? I don't mean to challenge you rather am interested in your take. I will say, as much a I adore Z's bread and it is a staple in our home, I've never been fond of the baguette.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: luckygirl
                                                          mrfood1965 Oct 27, 2006 02:47 PM

                                                          Well, I was going to start with the baguette but you beat me to it. The overall quality is down in the farmhouse, semolina and other traditional breads. They are often dry, less dense, with a cardboardy crust and generally they’re less flavorful than in the past. It's hard to compare their novelty mix-in breads (chocolate cherry, pecan raisin, chile cheddar...). For somewhere around $7.00 a loaf my expectations are not nearly fulfilled. This too and they are selling the stuff everywhere. Shockingly two local stores around me - one a health food market and the other a boutique produce/grocer - sell the stuff already sliced and....bagged in plastic! This violates Zingerman's own whimsical but serious advisory against suffocating your bread. Yet they're letting stores sell it that way? What, no quality control once it leaves the oven? Seeing this left a bad taste in my mouth and simply confirmed what I already suspected: Zingerman's, like Kashi, is now owned by Kelloggs - ha ha. But seriously I wish there was someone in the Detroit area - or heck, someone anywhere who has bread baking skills and some killer starter just waiting to grow and wants to do it in Motown - who can give Zingerman's a run for their money. You would be a success because I think this is one bread-deprived city. I’ll definitely check out everyone’s suggestions although once we get into the flatbreads of the Middle East I think the Detroit area rocks.

                                                          1. re: mrfood1965
                                                            Summerfield Oct 27, 2006 04:53 PM

                                                            Concerning baguettes, I buy directly from Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor. He's been baking bread for at least the last 27 years. His baguettes are superior to any others that I've had in Ann Arbor. You have to buy eight loaves at a time. I eat one immediately and freeze the remainder. They re-heat nicely. If you don't want to buy eight at a time, I think that the Village Corner in Ann Arbor gets a fresh delivery every Wednesday afternoon. You can buy just one if you like. After Wednesday, VC freezes the remainder and sells them that way. Can't help you with rye bread.

                                                        2. c
                                                          CestMoi Oct 26, 2006 09:39 AM

                                                          Still and always, Avalon Bakery. On Willis Street in the Cass Corridor. mmmmmmmmm. C'mon. Everyone gets a bad loaf once in a while.

                                                          1. c
                                                            cheesegirl27 Oct 25, 2006 07:51 PM

                                                            Dakota Bread - West Bloomfield on Orchard Lake Road.
                                                            http://www.dakotabread.com - absolutely delicious.

                                                            If you around Ann Arbor, also try Zingermann's they are known for their bread.

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