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Bread in St.Louis MO

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mister Aug 18, 2007 12:18 PM

When are the better restaurants here going to get with it and start serving an interesting selection of bread? Actually, I think Cardwells and Amer.Place offers up several varieties. Any others? The itailan places have to be the worst-Marconi is ok for what it is, but it's not great italian bread. They would go out of business in 6 months serving that stuff in NY or NJ.

And what's with Companion? Has anyone else noticed the bauguettes, etc. no longer have a chewy, irregular crumb created by a long rise and natural leavening? Now it's just generic bread. I think Bread Co. does a better job, and that's not saying much. Did companion change the bread to increase profit or to better suit the preferences of the market? I suspect it's a combination of both.

Years ago I worked at MM in st. albans. They served partially cooked heat and serve rolls from sysco. Nasty, doughy stuff, but people loved it because it was served hot. So, if customers are happy with lousy bread as long as it's hot, why go to the trouble and expense of upgrading?

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  1. Pylon RE: mister Aug 18, 2007 03:10 PM

    The only two places I can think of that have interesting bread baskets are Brio's and WildHorse Grill. Most places are pretty dern disappointing. But hey, keeps me from filling up on bread. Cause...you know...that's how they getcha.

    1. bobzemuda RE: mister Aug 18, 2007 07:06 PM

      Bread shouldn't be served hot anyway. It makes it chewy.

      Giving bread to everyone for free does, in fact, cost money. Having outstanding bread just isn't worth it in the long run for most places.

      Even an American Place's seems to have suffered. The first time I went, I admit, it was something special as we got 4-5 different kinds over 9 courses.

      Also, there is really only one outstanding bakery in the area (222) and most restaurants don't have the time/space/money to make the bread in house, and truly make it great. Therefore, once again, it's just not worth their while.

      Several restaurants used to have better bread when Pandora's was still in business, because they'd buy from them, but when they went under, Companion took the reigns, and as you pointed out, there's doesn't seem to be as good as it once was.

      Bill

      5 Replies
      1. re: bobzemuda
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        bakemeacake RE: bobzemuda Aug 19, 2007 10:55 AM

        Indeed, STL is a bit of a desert when it comes to quality bread making. Since your average St. Louisian thinks Panera makes great bread there really isn't much of a demand. It was a sad day when Pandora shuttered its space many years ago. Companion is acceptable but lacks an artisan quality. I admire Black Bear Bakery on Cherokee but find their products entirely uneven (perhaps they have improved in the last year?). In a pinch picking up a par baked La Brea Bakery (Los Angeles) baguette at the Wine & Cheese Place works. Sadly, it's often better than anything freshly made in St. Louis.

        1. re: bakemeacake
          bobzemuda RE: bakemeacake Aug 19, 2007 01:58 PM

          Black Bear is atrociously uneven. I think it's because of the whole anarchist angle. I've seen a revolving cast of employee's roll through.

          I do really love their Pumpernickle, but the more Artisan (non-sandwich) styles of breads I've really only even seen at the Wednesday Schlafly market.

          definitely cruise over to 222 in Edwardsville some weekend, if you want a delicious pastry, a glorious espresso/Capp, and a truly beautiful loaf to return home with. Any true lover of bread will relish the drive back knowing that the goods are safely in the car awaiting their slathering of butter when they return home.

          1. re: bobzemuda
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            bonwich RE: bobzemuda Aug 20, 2007 02:55 PM

            There's usually a good selection of Black Bear -- not to mention stuff from the local Bosnian bakeries -- at Global Foods Market in Kirkwood. I sometimes worry about how frequently it comes in and how long they'll let it sit out before turning it, but I generally have good luck there.

            If you like crusty, hearty Eastern European style bread, there are some places on Gravois. Haven't been for a while, but I really like Stare Grad with butter and some nice country-style preserves.

            1. re: bonwich
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              bakemeacake RE: bonwich Aug 20, 2007 07:19 PM

              There is always Whole Foods too!

          2. re: bakemeacake
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            geochic RE: bakemeacake Oct 17, 2008 10:00 AM

            I don't know that "the average St. Louisan thinks Panera makes great bread" as much as St. Louisans settle for Panera. I can't say I've ever heard anyone rave about bread from Panera... other than maybe the asiago cheese bagels (which in my opinion are highly overrated).

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          achilles007 RE: mister Oct 12, 2008 02:27 PM

          Even though I havent been inside and tasted their food yet, there is a nice little bread shop via 10031 Manchester Road called "Breadsmith"-- its right across the street from Oberweiss--

          Here's the website-- such a big selection of bread!!!

          http://www.breadsmith.com/breads.html

          2 Replies
          1. re: achilles007
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            CheesemongersWife RE: achilles007 Oct 13, 2008 10:15 AM

            Breadsmith is a pretty big chain...we even have it out here in PHX/Scottsdale! I know the Wine Merchant carries Breadsmith in thier shops...and I'm sure others do as well.

            I have to agree 100% with bobzemuda on his 222 recommendation....it was a frequent trip for me when living back home. Lukcy for me the person who guided 222 on breadmaking has a shop right here in Phoenix....so I'm not suffering too much.

            1. re: CheesemongersWife
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              mister RE: CheesemongersWife Oct 16, 2008 07:28 AM

              The state of bread isn't very good here, so just as I was forced to learn how to make pizza when I move here in 1990, I've now taken up breadmaking. Loaf bread is working out fine, but I am figuring out a way to build a steam generator for my oven to improve the hearth bread.

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