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Your favorite Bay Area bread

Please tell me your favorite Bay Area bread. We're trying to come up with an everyday bread for our family and I'm ashamed to say, in the bread-paradise that's the Bay Area, that we still haven't found one.

We're looking especially for suggestions for whole-grain non-sourdough bread but are open to trying other breads on occasion. We live in North Oakland and my office is in West Berkeley -- so recommendations near there are especially welcome.

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  1. Henry's Harvest Rustic Multigrain- Grace
    Arizmendi- Oakland
    Acme- all of Acme's breads
    Golden Harvest- Oakland
    Bay Bread- City
    Tartines Bread in the city

    La Brea Bakery based in LA, has a great 9-10 grain bread and Andronico's sometimes carries it, it travels well and last for a couple of days.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Lori SF

      oh and Grace's Muliti Grain bread which I happen to have and just made a grilled cheese sandwich with

      1. re: Lori SF

        Thanks, Lori. A multi-grain bread is exactly what I'm in the mood for. Do you know where I might find it?

        1. re: coriander

          here is a link-
          http://www.shurgain.com/GRACEBAKING/s...

          Most markets that have a decent bread selection will carry this, I only know of the places in SF. Maybe calling them to find out where specifically in your area. I am sure Whole Foods or many of those great markets over in the East Bay have it. It is a great bread, when fresh great dipping in olive oil, once it sits for a day or two great for grilled sandwiches, toast, french toast, etc.

          http://www.shurgain.com/GRACEBAKING/s...

          1. re: coriander

            I have the second the suggestion from LoriSF about La Brea's bread. Even though it's not from the Bay Area, it is great. I bought a whole grain bread that I really enjoyed. La Brea's bread can be found at Whole Foods and even Costco. What's nice is that it's baked half-way in Southern California and then shipped. And then it's baked to full freshness at the final destination store, so it's just as good as locally made.

          2. re: Lori SF

            I love the Grace Baking breads. The Pugliese loaf is a staple in our house (it isn't whole grain, though).

          3. re: Lori SF

            We've been thrilled wtih all of the various rolls and smaller loaves at Acme. We're always hauling our stash back on the Bart from the Ferry Building on Saturdays.

          4. There's a seller at the Temescal Farmers Market that has a great whole grain bread, it's called the Sprouted Whole Grain Bread, or something like that. I really like it, and I'm annoyed that I can't remember right now the name of the bakery (it has "Bay" in it, I'm pretty sure). The market is on Sundays.

            1. Feel Good Bakery in Alameda makes a wonderful whole-grain bread called "Wholey-Moley" -- if you can't make it to Alameda, they sell at some local farmers' markets (Sunday, Jack London Square, for example).

              http://www.feelgoodbakery.com/pages/8...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                I agree, and would caution anyone not to eat too much of its bread like I do. I like Feel Good's French baguette, as it has a great crust. I also like a couple of breads that have dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds, but I can't remember what they're called. I enjoy Feel Good's pizza too for a quick snack.

                I don't care for the cookies I tried; I think they keep them too long. The cases are filled with sweets made on days prior, whereas the bread is always fresh. That said, I once enjoyed a fruit tart there that was quite good, but over priced.

              2. For me, Acme's "pain au levain" is the best bread in the world. Picked up still hot in the morning, all I need is a little butter and good preserves and I'm all set. It's not whole grain, but it's certainly more complex than a boring white loaf. Also, it has a small amount of sourdough starter, I believe. Please, give it a try. The folks at Acme tell me that they actually prefer the larger loaf to the smaller one, although the smaller one is already pretty darn great.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jess Leber

                  I agree with the Acme levain bread and would add the Tartine bread as my other favorite.

                2. Vital Vittles sounds like cat food but is a wonderful whole-grain bread. It makes great toast. It's organic, too. You can buy it at their store in West Berkeley, but the hours are funny. I often find it at Grocery Outlet. It's a great deal.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: Glencora

                    Oh my god -- that's so funny. I really did think it was pet food! (I used to have one of those "only in Berkeley" moments when driving past the place.) Now that it's deemed fit for human consumption, I'll definitely try it.

                    1. re: coriander

                      My favorite is the 3 seed bread. But you might like the 12-grain.

                      1. re: Glencora

                        They also sell it at regular markets but the best loaves are sold at the Farmers markets. Which brings up Esther's German Bakery which is sold at the Sunday Montclair Village Farmers Market. I also like The Bread Garden next to Rick & Anns.
                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/45010

                        1. re: rworange

                          In what way are the loaves at the farmers markets better?

                          1. re: Glencora

                            I would occasionally buy VV at what was Tower Market and Berkeley Bowl and not impressed. Just your standard 'healthy' bread. I almost didn't even want to bother with the free samples with the farmers market, but glad I did. It just tasted so much better. Don't know if it was the particualar variety (don't remember). I'll pick up a loaf occasionally but only at the farmers market. Glad to know that you can buy it at the bakery. Didn't know they sold retail.

                            1. re: rworange

                              I do think that it is too "healthy" for sandwiches, but it makes really nice toast.

                              1. re: Glencora

                                I just discovered Vital Vittles bread this weekend, and I completely agree. It is amazing as toast, but for regular sandwiches it's slightly too dry.

                                Dave MP

                                1. re: Dave MP

                                  When I buy it at the farmers' market it's usually very moist. At the store, sometimes on the dry side.

                              2. re: rworange

                                Vital Vittles grind their own flour fresh daily, gives the bread a lot more flavor. Usually I get it at the farmers market, but when I get it at the Bowl it's sometimes still warm.

                                All the different breads are minor variations on the same dough, except the sourdough.

                                It's so soft it's problematic for sandwiches unless you toast it, which I always do.

                            2. re: rworange

                              Esther's German Bakery is now being sold at Berkeley Bowl.

                              1. re: wally

                                Supposedly they sell at the Alameda Farmers market too. Thanks for the tip on BB.