HOME > Chowhound > Great Lakes >


Best Bread in Detroit Region

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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.

    1. 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. 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

          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

            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. 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. 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. 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

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

                1. 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. 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

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

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

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: rtv

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

                      1. 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

                          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. 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. 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

                              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

                                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. 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 Reply
                              1. re: milcrat

                                How distressing to hear that Zingerman's is slumping. I lived in Ann Arbor over a decade ago and they were superb. Luckily for me, I learned to make my own breads at least as good as, or better than, what I could buy anywhere--I just make a few styles--but I would be sorely unhappy to have no source for excellent bread.

                              2. 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

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

                                  1. re: North Oakland Gal

                                    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

                                      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. 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


                                        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

                                          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. 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

                                            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

                                              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

                                                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. 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. 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. 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 Reply
                                                1. re: bakerbob

                                                  Been very pleased with every loaf I have bought at Boule in Plymouth. I like the epi baguette best because you get more crusty crust. I love the cherry walnut toasted with butter and the harvest grain that I think they only sell on Saturdays. I've never found a scone that I've enjoyed very much, so I can't comment on them. The croissants are poor - I ate a Balthazar croissant everyday for 6 months when I interned there during cooking school - it's hard to compare.

                                                2. 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

                                                    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. 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

                                                      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. Has anyone tried crust in fenton?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: christyar

                                                        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

                                                          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. 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....

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: gan911

                                                            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

                                                              I recommend their almond croissant ...

                                                              1. re: rainsux

                                                                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. re: gan911

                                                              Yes, Give Thanks' almond croissant is amazing. Some of their wonderful breads are carried at The Townsend Hotel Bakery in Birmingham, and also at Palate Pleaser in Bloomfield Hills.
                                                              Also - the croissants at Le Petit Prince on 14 mile in Birmingham are quite good. It's a wonderful French bakery - but closed for part of the summer. I imagine their baguettes are worth a try.
                                                              You can buy Stone House bread (from Leland/Traverse City) at Hillers. I've seen it at 15/Orchard Lake Road. They get deliveries on T,Th, Saturday.

                                                            3. 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.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: wolfgangdomeier

                                                                from detroityes.com

                                                                As of April of 2002, Chamberlain Bakery became a part of Alexander & Hornung, Inc., a half-century old European style sausage and ham company, also in Detroit. Owned and operated by Bernie Polen and Tom Eckert, Chamberlain moves into the new millennium with our priorities in tact. We will endeavor to maintain the authenticity and integrity of our famous breads, while improving consistency and service. Bernie and Tom plan new offerings in the near term. We have made our French Rolls available to our wholesale customers. On special order for now, Raisen-Egg Bread Rolls, Pumpernickel Rolls and Sour Dough Rolls are available. Coming soon; A wonderful multi grain bread and we have had excellent success in the early stages of a braided egg bread.

                                                                1. re: Michigan Mishuganer

                                                                  My parents grew up by vernor and chamberlain area my mother would go to the bakery as a little girl and they would twirl her in the big mixing drums. It was a sad day when they closed. I visited a European market in fort Myers , fl and they carried Lithuanian bread from Chicago and its the closest sour dough rye I've had since chamberlain sour dough. We always called chamberlain bread Lithuanian bread which may give your clue for the recipe.

                                                              2. I was just directed to Chow, I owned Chamberlain Bakery and yes, it is gone. There may be some hope on the horizon...our previous manager has opened his own bakery and we are trying to get the Chamberlain breads back to market...stay tuned.

                                                                1. I just discovered The Rye Bakery in Flushing. Little far to the north, but worth checking out in my opinion.