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Baguettes in Baltimore

Where can we find baguettes and other good bread without going into Whole Foods? We live in Federal Hill and my husband works in Canton, so anywhere there or in between that is simple to pop in and out of. Cook's Table used to sell them but closed; the Italian bakery at Cross Street Market has lame bread. Suggestions?

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  1. This may sound like sacrilege, as I am about to suggest--horror of horrors--a CHAIN restaurant. However, I have found that Panera bread has far and away the best french baguettes around. They are, first and foremost, really fresh, which, right there, means they beat 80% of what's available. Locations can be found at Panera.com, I believe.

    1. I am not too snobbish to eat Panera, but there's none within miles around.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sweetpotater

        Looks like there's one opening in the newish bldg by the harbor with the Best Buy. I saw a sign in the window on the 1st floor last night.

        1. re: sweetpotater

          You said your husband works in Canton: there is a Panera on Boston Street.

          1. re: Dithyramb

            Panera's French "baguette" is not the real thing. Kind of like today's NYT's Olympics' aside: "London croissants bear as much resemblance to the genuine article as a mop head does to an English muffin."

        2. I find the bread at the Canton Safeway to be great. I generally choose the Green Olive or Kalamata olive loafs or the Como, but sometimes the man picks up baguettes which I cannot quibble with. They also have sourdough baguettes.

          We did stop at Piedigrotta Bakery on Central Ave on the East end of Little Italy (http://www.piedigrottabakery.com/). Very authentic. The owner was very enthusiastic about her breads and described each one. We got the standard Italian bread (not my favorite bread, but they did a good job with it) and also a Kalamata Olive loaf. I thought the crust and the chewiness of the Safeway Kalamata Olive loaf was better. (I like verrrrry crusty, chewy, bread).

          IMO, the best bakery I've found in Baltimore is Stone Mill Bakery. They used to sell their products at the Eddies in Roland Park (and I think they had a satellite shop a few doors down from there) but no longer. They're up in Greenspring Station, if you're ever up that way. Excellent whole-grain and other breads.

          Years ago I stopped at a cheese stand in Cross Street Market and they were selling baguettes and other breads, as well. I remember that baguette well. Crisp, firm outer crust, with the inner bread as light as air. It was very well done. I don't know where they got that baguette, but it was damn good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: venera

            Piedigrotta is my favorite bakery in Baltimore, but the bread is not real crusty. IMO the best crusty bread is from the Maranto bakery near the Lexington market as sold by various retailers, including some branches of Giant and many Italian delis in the Baltimore metropolitan area, including Trinacria on Paca street.

            1. re: elgringoviejo

              Where, exactly, is Maranto? I love their bread!

          2. Bonaparte's in Fells Point has great authentic baguettes. I think it's on Ann Street, right by the harbor. I'm not a fan of the Safeway baguettes.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ko1

              Agreed on Bonaparte. After spending two months in France a couple of years ago, my husband and I decided that Bonaparte's was the most authentic in the city. Also, the Bonaparte baguette was what they sold at Cook's Table.

            2. Actually, Rosina Gourmet in Canton (also one on Lombard)used to carry the good Stone Mill Bakery ones- not sure if they still use them it's been awhile, but you could check. Either way, they use really good breads. Also could try DiPasquales in Highlandtown or Tratoria Anna Maria in Fed Hill.

              1. I realize you'd have to schedule this purchase, but what about the couple of bread vendors at the Farmer's Market (both Waverly and the Jones Falls markets)? Uptown Bakers and Atwaters have great breads; there's another stand (the name of which I don't know) that has great baguettes, ciabatta and foccacia.

                1. Those are all good suggestions -- I was just thinking of the "honey, can you pick up a baguette on your way home" situation that happens all the time. Last night he got one from the Canton Safeway. It was fine for its purpose (dunking in soup) but we will try Rosina and Bonaparte in hopes of more crustiness.

                  1. Definitely Bonaparte!! Any they have other french pastries that make it worthwhile.

                    1. Bonaparte has some serious bread.

                      They also make great sammies and the quiche is worth the trip alone.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Tugboat

                        You know...the Wine Market sells baguettes at the front counter most days...I can't imagine they're that bad. The food there is so good. Probably worth a shot...

                      2. I don't know about baguettes, but I dearly love the cheese bread from Dorthea's on Eastern Avenue, which would be on your husband's way home. It would at least be worth a try. Patisserie Poupon has nice tarts and cakes, but I don't know if they produce more humble baked goods like bread. It's not too far out of his way either.

                        I like Atwater's in Belvedere Square for really good bread, but that's a bit off the beaten track for you. But worth it! I feel like Atwater's used to sell its bread to other stores, but now that they have all the space at B-Square maybe it's just that location (and the Kenilworth Mall store).

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: pomme de terre

                          Is Dortheas in business???.......I used to get her Cinnamon Raisin bread in MoCo.....but was told the business closed.........

                          1. re: maypo

                            Where on Eastern ave is Dorthea's? Trinacria on Paca street has yummy bread and baguettes.

                          2. re: pomme de terre

                            Patisserie Poupon doesn't produce it's own bread but it sells Bonaparte and Bread Line.

                          3. Bread in Baltimore--Bonaparte in Fells Point and Savage Mills, Stone Mill Bakery in Greenspring Station, bar @ The Capital Grille ;-), oh, Patisserie Poupon is a PArisian run find on E Baltimore St--you will thank me for this, I hope.

                            3 Replies
                              1. re: nosey

                                Patisserie Poupon is on the north side of E. Baltimore St., just east of President St.

                            1. Try Bonjour on Falls Road near Lake Ave.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: thedanny

                                I agree w/ Bonjour - very good bread

                              2. There is no authentic French baguette in Baltimore. None of the places mentioned in this thread really sell authentic baguettes - they only look like baguettes. I think it's because they don't have the steam ovens necessary for baking. Authentic French baguettes may be found in Cambridge/Belmont MA at Iggies, but they no longer ship long distance. I've tried all the Baltimore places recommended and it's thumbs down. Happy to hear of a new find.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: MabelDodge

                                  Could you please describe the characteristics you look for in an authentic French baguette? Then maybe someone can guide you to a place that meets your criteria.

                                  1. re: bmorecupcake

                                    None of the places mentioned above sell "il est correct" baguettes. A baguette should have a golden, crunchy crust and the inside should be light with gaping holes. It should be made by hand, naturally leavened have a high water content and a long fermentation. It should be moist and chewy. King Arthur's flour insists the bread must be made in an oven that emits steam.

                                    1. re: MabelDodge

                                      Could you elaborate on "made by hand"? Do you mean shaped by hand or the whole process including mixing/kneading should be by hand, too?

                                      1. re: MabelDodge

                                        Bon Fresco in Columbia has some wonderful breads, including a baguette that has at least a 24 hour fermentation. The homemade soups and sandwiches are delicious, too, and healthy. You'll never realize you're eating "health food". You can buy individual loaves of challah, raisin bread, ciabatta, etc. The breads, pastries, soups, salads, etc. are made from scratch.

                                        6945 Oakland Mills Road Columbia, MD 21045
                                        (410) 290-3434

                                        1. re: Vidute

                                          Thank you so very much; this sounds hopeful (and makes me hungry).

                                          1. re: Vidute

                                            I don't believe Bon Fresco's baguette's are naturally leavened, although you can call and ask before going to be sure. There ciabatta definitely has a sour tang to it.