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Sebastopol and Santa Rosa: Village Bakery - organic Danish breads, princess cake, fig anise bread, challah, sourdough, and lots of stuff with cardamom

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I’m not sure why this bakery doesn’t get more attention with its homey fresh fruit pies, cakes, tarts, cookies, quiche and artisan breads.

For those interested, there are wheat-free breads and the label on one bread says there is no commercial yeast. A few vegan desserts are available.

I am not a fan of dense breads yet I’m totally hooked on the organic kernebrod, traditional Danish whole rye.

It is dense but not dried out and loaded with lots of tasty slivered sunflower seeds. There are also poppy and flax seeds that are nicely blended in the dough and not annoying like some bread. The loaf is covered with sesame seeds.

I also like the dinkelbrot, spelt bread, similarly full of tasty seeds. It is the only spelt bread that is delicious to me. Volkenbrot I waa told is just the kernebrod without sesame seeds

They have a bread of the month that is available on Wednesdays. This month it is fig anise which I haven’t tried yet. On one visit they had classic hamburger buns which people were snapping up.

They will slice bread, but the Santa Rosa has a better slicer than the Sebastopol location which can’t handle some of the denser bread.

Some breads are available every day. In the first link, I’ll post the bread schedule.

There is also a basket of half-off, day-old breads and they often have discounts on other baked goods.

The lady behind the counter said the princess cake was rich ... and it was.

In addition to being a very generous slice, I don't really know what made it so much richer than most.

Maybe it was the rich custard. This is not a subtle cake so there’s lots of flavor in the marzipan. The layers are whipped cream, cake, more whipped cream, custard, cake, still more whipped cream raspberry jam, cake all coated with green marzipan.

They had some nice-looking fruit pies that are different on each visit. Once they had strawberry rhubarb.

There’s a case of various types of plain, fruit and savory Danish. I’m pretty sure the Swedish apple cake will be my next purchase as it keeps calling out to me. I did try the cardamom cake which was nice. That day they had a small version of the cake.

Cookies: Cornmeal lemon, ginger, cardamom, bowties, rugulach, Russian tea cakes, oatmeal cranberry, hazelnut, raspberry linzer, chocolate chip, etc

There are bars and brownies, nice-looking Swedish almond marzipan tart, lemmon poppy seed cake, cream cakes such as Black Forest, NY Cheesecake and more.

I’ll post some details of what I’ve tried to date in a reply.

At lunch there are half a dozen sandwiches (turkey and such), a few salads, soup and quiche. Beverages include Taylor-made coffee and Tazo Tea

While both locations carry all baked goods, the breads are made in Sebastopol and the cakes and sweets at the Santa Rosa store which is next door to the very nice Pacific Market. I noticed Santa Rosa also had more cakes available by the slice plus mini brownie squares for $1.

There are tables at both locations to sit and eat. It is nothing fancy along the lines of bakery seating at places like Sweet Adeline. I’d place it sweet-wise somewhere between Sweet Adeline and Hopkins Street bakery and the bread close to Semi-freddi or Grace baking in spirit

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Village Bakery
1445 Town and Country Dr, Santa Rosa, CA

Village Bakery
7225 Healdsburg Ave, Sebastopol, CA

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  1. Breads available every day: Plain and seeded baguette, organic French Country wheat, pane Francese, pane sandwich, Sebastopol sourdough, seeded sourdough, sourdough flute, assorted rolls.

    Days of week the specialty breads are baked

    Challah (TU, F)
    Challah rolls (F)
    Cinnamon Raisin (W, F)
    Organic cracked Whole Wheat (M, W, F)
    Garlic cheese sourdough (TU, TH, SA)
    Organic Kalamata olive sourdough (M, W, F)
    Organic kernebrod (M, TH)
    Potato onion ciabatta (TU, SA)
    Rye-Light German (TU, SA)
    Rye – NY Caraway (M, TH)
    Organic six grain sourdough (SU, TH)
    Organic splelt (SU)
    Organic toasted walnut dourdough (TU, SA)
    Volkornbrot (M, TH)
    Potato onion hamburger buns (F, SA)

    1. A few other items I sampled or bought

      Cardamom cake: the cake reminded me in texture of Drake’s coffee cakes. It had the same sort of crumb … like if an angel food cake and a pound cake mated and this was the child. It was topped with brown sugar mixed with slivered almonds. The woman at the shop said some people toasted this. I tried that and it was even better. Use a toaster over since this is a delicate cake that crumbles easily. Microwaving was good, but not as good as toasting.

      Swedish cookie – nice tangy raspberry jam on top of a sandy (in a good way) crumbly buttery nutty cookie... mmmm

      Cardamom cookie with sparkly sugar on top - This was the most mildly flavored of all the cardamom baked goods I tried. It was thin large, somewhere in texture between hard and soft. I really liked the balance in this cookie, not too sweet,, spicy, hard, soft.buttery. Make that another mmmmm. Recommended.

      By time I got to them the brown paper bag they cookies were in had turned translucent with butter soaking through.

      Seeded baguette – good. It reminded me of Semi-freddi

      Sebastopol Sourdough – a nice crusty sourdough though not much tang.

      NY caraway rye – I just tried a sample, but I’m thinking either the sample was mislabeled or it is nothing like what it says.

      Hot Cross Bun Nice white cross, but not enough raisins or any citron, too much cardamom. Raisins were chopped up so there might also be some dried cranberries in there. White raisins and maybe black raisins or currants but too finely chopped to tell

      Brownies: Respectable, average cake brownies. The regular had bittersweet chocolate notes in the frosting. The cream cheese has a frosting made of that.

      1. Sonoma County has less than a half-million residents, and I suspect the highest density per capita of great bakeries. I've never been in the Sebastopol location and it's probably been at least 5 years since I stepped in the Santa Rosa store. There used to be a branch in Windsor too, I think. Village Bakery is owned by Patrick Lum, who you may remember from the much missed Sfoglia. I hope you asked the staff if they'd start making sfogliatelle.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I'll have to ask, though neither place has a chatty staff. It took a bit to get the bread schedule. In all the years I've driven that road in Sebastopol, I never once noticed Village Bakery across from D's Diner and near Safeway. When I asked, I was told it had a number of owners over more than 20 years.

          I'm finishing off the last of my dinkelbrot and comparing it to the kernebrod. I have to say I just like both equally, so it is a matter of what day I am passing by. This has been a great mid-morning snack especially with a bit of peanut butter. It is dense and filling and only about 100 calories. Hmmm ... maybe I should add these to my 10 top tastes of 2009 list just due to being so satifying if not a wow factor. I look forward to the little snack

          IMO, it is not in the same class as Downtown Bakery, but a top-notch excample of the everyday neighborhood bakery.

        2. I am so into the bread at this bakery.

          This was the last day for their bread of the month - fig anise. If you ever see it as a special again ... snap it up. This soft brown bread with a thin crust was so fragrant and full of anise flavor. There were generous pieces of dried fig throughout.

          This is the first time I've been there earlier than closing and they had pie by the slice available ... triple berry $2.75

          The filling is sheer greatness. The berries are cooked but held their shape so the whole blueberries, raspberries and blackberries were not only visibly identifiable but didn't just meld together ... blueberries tasted like blueberries, etc. It was not soupy, but dense .. but not the densness of cornstarch or something like that ... dense with every bite filled with berries. There was some nice lemon flavor in it too.

          The crust is flakey and nice. It is there to hold the berries and is not the star. The only thing I didn't care for was the struesel topping which got a little soggy. Still ... one of the better pieces of pie I've had in the bay area. Looking forward to trying the apple pie next.which has a crust on top rather than strusel.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rworange

            Grabbed a piece of apple pie, $3, at the Sebastopol location on Saturday. Double crust sprinkled with coarse sugar for some sparkle, this is a deep slice packed with thinly sliced, firm apples with a bit of cinnamon. I liked the fruit filling quite a bit, good tart-sweet balance and not gooped up with cornstarch. The flaky crust is pretty bland, and while nicely browned with an egg wash, it is underbaked and some parts have a raw floury taste.

             
          2. The sample of the stollen was really good ... soft, fresh, full or raisins with a subtle spice beautifully pulling together everything together and upping the flavor. Given that they have so many items with cardomom, I'm guessing that might be it.

            Other Holiday menu items available
            - Swedish Chrismas limpa with orange rind, fennel, caraway, and anise seeds.
            http://scandinavianfood.about.com/od/...
            - pannatone
            - Danish almond kringle
            - bakery mice ... hmmm, didn't see those, sounds interesting
            - pumpkin bread
            - gingerbread
            - buche de noel ... which looked nice
            - Gift-wrapped princess cake ... available in chocolate also
            - Holiday chocolte framboise
            - Cranberry cheesecake
            - Cranberry sourdough
            - Cranberry nut tart

            There were also very cute Christmas cookies ... especially the snowmen.

            The Limpa is the bread of the month which is only available on Wednesday or by special order

            1 Reply
            1. re: rworange

              Wow! Thanks for the thorough posts! I feel like I've been there. :) Will definitely check out the Sebastopol location as I'll be spending more time in that area soon.

            2. Stopped by to try this because I was so impressed by the burger bun at Boon in Guerneville. Got a chocolate / almond paste square called a Tosca that was seriously an NC-17 pastry, intense bitter chocolate, strong almond, more salty than sweet. I got some vollkornbrot, will report back on that later.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                How's the rye bread?

                As I stated above, Sonoma County surely has the highest per capita ratio of great bakeries. I think it's part of Peter Reinhart/Brother Juniper's legacy and all that wild yeast in the air.