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life is too short to eat bad bread... denver

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So I moved hear a year ago from the bay area, california.. and still I search for good bread. Admittedly I am a bit of a bread snob... if you have ever had the bread from the Acme baking company, that is what I'm looking for.... fresh baked and hand-crafted bread... most of what i've found here pales in comparison, though, my seach has not been what I would call exhaustive, which is why i turn to you, dear chowhounds.

I know, I know... it is harder to bake it here... the altitude is a problem... and I've heard that even certain yeast strains (particularly for sour-dough) won't thrive here... and if one more person tells me to try panera, I will break down in tears. Not to trash Panera... IMHO the bread there is fine.. just fine, not great.. just fine. Better for sure, than the "artisan" loaves you an get at the grocery store, but still not as good as a lovingly crafted, mothered and coddled loaf of a good french baguette.

the best bread I've had so far, is probably from Udi's bakery... crusty exerior, with good airy, tender crumb. the french is better, sourdough, passably good. though once they wander from the baguette or batard.. they leave a little short... like maybe a good, eggy challah? (their's is a little white-bread-ish). or a crusty walnut-cranberry loaf (their's is decent, but I usually toast it first).

a well crafted loaf is a thing of beauty and deliciousness... I need something to use as a foil for all the local cheeses I am looking forward to trying this summer...

any suggestion would be welcome. thanks in advance.

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  1. I had similar problems as a former BayArean.

    Denver Bread at 30th & Irving made Acme-worthy breads but I haven't back for a couple of years so YMMV. I live down south now and Whole Foods is our bread shop of choice. Very good French bread at Trompeau on Evans near DU.

    That Crusty Bay Area style bread is impossible to find w/ strong sourdough flavors but Denver Bread came pretty close. Things may have changed- but "back in the day" they were very smug and proud of themselves and didn't provide much in the way of customer experience. Hopefully that's improved.

    If you haven't picked up a Levain loaf at Cherry Creek Whole Foods you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    2 Replies
    1. re: e_bone

      e_bone, I think we are often on the same wavelength. I concur with Denver Bread. Glad to hear about Trompeau, as I also live to the south. The bread at Pajama Baking Company, new on S. Pearl, owned by the folks who own Gaia Bistro, also looks promising, though I've yet to buy a loaf...

      1. re: tatamagouche

        I bought a baguette from Trompeau last time I had a class at DU, it had a good flavor, but the texture of the crumb was off... very small bubbles, very homogenous. I was dissappointed. However, I had a raspberry & sweet cheese danish their though (and a strong cup of french roast) that were quite pleasing.

        will have to try pajama Baking Co & Levain at whole foods.

    2. Both Costco and King Sooper have La Brea Bakery breads. Costco has their wonderful Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, sometimes still warm from the oven.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Pampatz

        yes, I have had this bread... while it is fresh baked, it is not fresh "made"... which IMHO, is just not the same.

        1. re: withalonge

          If you're up for an adventure, stop by City Bakery at 5454 Washington Street to grab a loaf crafted by Michael Bortz - Denver's premier bread baker. He supplies many of Denver's best restaurants. While they mostly sell wholesale, call first (303 292-3989) and tell them you are stopping by.

          1. re: Pastajohn

            Oh, really, they'll sell a loaf or two to walk-ins?

            1. re: tatamagouche

              yes, but I would call first to make sure someone is there and they have what you want.

      2. I second the motion on Denver Bread. Udi's is good too, but IMO, better at the bakery (Stapleton) than at various farmers' markets or retail outlets. If you get to Boulder, Breadworks (Broadway between Alpine and Balsam) has excellent breads. So does the Whole Foods in Boulder, which -- when it opened -- incorporated a bakery called the Daily Bread.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ClaireWalter

          This brings up something about Whole Foods' breads: I find they get moldy really quickly, which in this climate always surprises me. Breadworks' and Udi's breads always last far longer.

        2. Try Grateful Bread at the Cherry Creek Farmers market. The ciabatta is the same one I had at Table 6 and it's fantastic. So is the baguette - perfect crust and density. And the croissants and chocolate brioche are out of this world - but make sure to get there early! Yesterday they were already sold out of most of the pastries by 11. No chocolate croissants for me this weekend! :(

          2 Replies
          1. re: Denverfoodie32

            If you consider Michael Bortz Denver's premier bread baker, I recommend trying Hershey's chocolate too, America's premier artisan chocolate maker.

            1. re: rogerthat

              You must be an Orowheat fan.

              Try the olive sourdough rolls or the lavender levain at Rioja - both from City Bakery.

          2. As someone who lived in SF for a few years (late 80's), you will never live anywhere else that has bread as good. Sorry. There is some 'decent' bread where I am now (Hoboken, a few brick oven places), but nothing like SF. Sorry

            1. Baguettes and other breads with low moisture content / high surface area ratios in Denver can be wonderful in the morning, still warm from the oven, but the Denver air is so dry that they can be like baseball bats by dinner time. I use to break them into thirds and put them in big zip-locks as soon as I got them home, sometimes with a spritz of moisture, to keep them edible for dinner.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Veggo

                Breadworks and Denver Bread Co are my faves. Whole Foods bakes in each market, so some are better than others. When Boulder's Whole Foods opened, it incorporated Daily Brea, and it's breads are great and don't go bad.

                Bnemes3343 - I moved from Hoboken to Boulder 20+ years ago. I lived at 10th and Bloomfield; where are you? When I go back to visit, I buy bread at Marie's to bring back to Colo. IMHO, it's the best in town. But not all the bread and fesh mozz' could lure me back there. Too crowded and too crooked.