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May 7, 2007 01:22 PM

Artisanal bread in the Triangle

There were several article on bread making and artisanal breadmakers in the Triangle in this week'a edition of The Independent. A couple of the articles were written by David Aurbach. Could this be the same David A./Sinophile who posts here on Chowhound from time to time? If so, nice job, David. Interesting reads.

By the way, the merchants that were listed as making breads in the artisanal style were La Farm in Cary (and also carried in the local Whole Foods stores), Guglhupf, Rue Cler, and Ninth Street Bakery in Durham, and Weaver Street in Carrboro.

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  1. Neat articles. I really liked the idea of the backyard hearth and have added it to my future dream kitchen/ cooking needs. This list also includes a fire place in the kitchen large enough to roast my own meats. It is going to be awhile...sigh.

    1. That is not the same David. The A in David A of chowhound refers to his middle name, not his last.

      1. I know I've raved about this before, but I'm going to do it again: Kevin Farmer, the baker at Rue Cler (those are his gorgeous loaves on the cover of the Indy) is doing an outstanding job. The bread comes out of the ovens between ~ 12:30 and 2:00 pm Mon-Sat, and it's around $4/loaf. It's awesome in general, but particularly so in midafternoon when it's just cooled off. If you ever find yourself in/near downtown Durham in that early-afternoon timeframe, you owe it to yourself to stop & grab a loaf.

        You've probably had Kevin's bread, whether or not you've eaten at Rue Cler. The bakery at Rue Cler, as the little article points out, is the Pop's commercial bakery, which supplies bread to a lot of restaurants around Durham. The baguettes at Federal used to be theirs (probably still are, I'm just not 100% sure of that). The sandwich bread at Piedmont is theirs. I'm sure there are others.

        Full disclosure: I know Kevin casually; we have some mutual friends. I like to talk to him when I go in to buy a loaf of bread. Same is true of many of the other chefs/restaurateurs who make good food around here, at least the friendly ones ;-)

        3 Replies
        1. re: rossgrady

          I've had the croque monseur at Rue Cler and remember the bread being outstanding. I'm at Duke so going downtown is quite easy. I'll have to add them to my Weaver St. and Guglhupf rotation.

          1. re: rossgrady

            Has anyone had the doughnuts? I am intrigued by a really good bread bakery that sells doughnuts too, it seems that most of the time they are not produced by the same types of places but I am all for the combination!

            1. re: jean9

              The beignets are no joke -- so very worth a try.

          2. Is Weaver Street a co-op? I'm visiting from out of town and looking for places I can go; assuming it's a co-op, I should probably try one of the other places (thanks for the tip on Ninth Street; I'd already been tipped to Guglhupf and Rue Cler).

            On the same subject, Pop's Bakery on Old Oxford Road ... is that still a going concern or should I simply make the trip to Rue Cler?


            4 Replies
            1. re: NYChristopher

              It is a co-op, but sales to non-members is not a problem.

              1. re: NYChristopher

                LONG OVERDUE UPDATE

                I wanted to thank everyone for their help on this. I always thought of the Triangle as barbecue and nothing else, a mistake I'll never make again.

                RUE CLER was closed so we ended up at

                NINTH STREET BAKERY which was also closed, but the gentleman who answered the phone said he'd be happy to stick around until we got there and sell us a few loaves (we'd gotten lost, not realizing the entrance was IN THE LOADING DOCK of the News and Observer building. I don't recall which loaves we got, but if I recall correctly we got the 7-grain and also the sunflower and they were just SICK! That 7-grain might have been the best bread of it's type I have ever had (i.e., it's not the same as a Parisian croissant, so I won't compare it to one). The guy was so kind to wait for us and so nice when we got there (I believe they were repainting the place that Saturday, too, hence being closed).

                Again, I'm doing this from memory, but I'm 99% sure we made it to GUGLHUPF as well. A different set-up from the cafe at Ninth Street, we had very good coffee and tremendous baked goods.

                One last place we ended up was a CAFFE DRIADE in Chapel Hill. Again, this was more about the atmosphere than the retail baking, but what we had that was made in house was quite good. Maybe the best coffee I had while visiting, too.

                Thank you all for opening my eyes to this under-publicized (in my humble outsiders opinion) gem of an industry (for lack of a better term).

                1. re: NYChristopher

                  There are indeed several great bread makers in the area. Le Farm in Cary, in Durham besides the two you mention just a little further down from Ninth St. Bakery is Rue Cler that has a bread shop attached to it. They supply bread for a lot of the area restaurants (I'm pretty sure they make the bread for Toast, for example) but at 2 Pm they also put out some loaves for indivual purchase. In Carrboro and Hillsboro, the Weaver St. market has great bread as well.

                  And the Triangle is home to several first class coffee roasters. Caffe Driade that you mentioned is owned by the Carrboro Coffee Co. folks, who also own Open Eye in Carrboro. Counter Culture in Durham, Larry's Beans in Raleigh, and Joe Van Gogh in Hillsborough are all roasting top notch coffees. And Southern Season's house brand coffees. which are also very good, comes from a roast in Cary.

                  1. re: bbqme

                    Don't forget Tradewinds in Raleigh in the list of first class coffee roasters.

              2. La Farm is unbelievably wonderful - their bread, spreads, sandwiches, cakes/pastries, homemade granola, and cookies. Definitely worth the drive, if you don't live in Cary.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Suzy Q

                  The golden delicious apple almond tart is worth the drive. Examine their web page. Everything is as good as it looks.


                  1. re: Suzy Q

                    The cafe is now open. Imagine food as good as the bread! I managed to swipe one of the menus.

                    If you can't read the chowhound images, these are a little larger.


                    1. re: blewgo

                      What did you get? I LOVE their chicken salad.

                      1. re: Suzy Q

                        I've had the Mediterraneo, salami and gruyere, quiche and brasserie salad. It was all good. Once they had ratatouille as a side. Sadly, only once though :(