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Best "healthy" pastries in the east bay, best whole wheat bread

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scorpsjl Apr 10, 2010 11:56 AM

I'm wondering what everyone thinks are the best "healthy" pastries in the east bay. No pastries are really healthy, I s'pose, but some have bran, oats, raisins, other fruits, nuts, seeds... and other things with a modicum of nutrients! Since I have a hard time deciding what to get in a delicious bakeshop anyway, I usually am happiest erring on the side of slightly healthier (and this provides a more consistent way to judge bakeries against each other).

Of course, bran muffins are the most obvious, and there are oat bars, oat scones, etc...

And who makes the best whole wheat bread??

As for bran muffins, the bread garden makes a good small one that I like, and I also happen to think their whole wheat loaf is delicious; it also lasts for an incredibly long time in a plastic bag.

At La Farine (too French to be really healthy, I think), I tried the "wheat levain" but it didn't seem any "wholer" than white bread. I should have asked them how they make it. The spelt loaf at Cheeseboard is another tasty whole-grain bread, but it was a little too dry for my tastes. Of course, the cheeseboard has the cherry-corn scone, which is a whole grain. Anyone have an opinion on their oat scones?

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La Farine
6323 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

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  1. BernalKC Apr 10, 2010 12:06 PM

    Arizmendi would have to be in the running. They veer to the healthy, whole grain side of the pastry spectrum. I'm enjoying their 'city bread' -- a whole wheat rye -- right now, in fact.

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    Arizmendi Bakery & Pizzeria
    4301 San Pablo Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608

    1 Reply
    1. re: BernalKC
      operagirl Apr 10, 2010 07:57 PM

      Yes, Arizmendi does have a lot of "healthy" options! The cornmeal and cherry scones are delicious and enormous. Cornmeal is a wholegrain, and cherries are fruit . . . but I wouldn't exactly call eating a whole one of those a healthy idea.

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      Arizmendi
      3265 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA

    2. b
      bgbc Apr 10, 2010 12:41 PM

      OctoberFeast bakery on University near Milvia had some pretty hardcore-healthy-looking, dense whole grain breads last I went in. I've only tried the pretzels - not whole grain -- which were delicious and nicely sour nonetheless. They also sell simple yeasted pastries.

      1. Windy Apr 10, 2010 12:56 PM

        Not sure about La Farine, but Acme's levain and my favorite bread at Arizmendi (the suburban bread) are both white/wheat mixed.

        Based on their cookbook, the Arizmendi/Cheeseboard scones use a lot more butter than I consider healthy on a regular basis. Kind of depends what your constraints are.

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        La Farine
        6323 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

        Arizmendi
        3265 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA

        1. Robert Lauriston Apr 10, 2010 01:18 PM

          I like the multigrain scone from Morel's Bread at the Berkeley Saturday farmers market. That's the only pastry I buy on anything like a regular basis.

          Acme makes a whole-wheat loaf with poppy seeds that's pretty spectacular, I've seen it only at the bakery. I find their whole-grain variations on the levain dry and less flavorful than the standard one.

          My other favorite whole wheat bread is Vital Vittles. Really they make only two different breads, a whole wheat with a dozen or so different additions and a sourdough rye.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            ourswimmer Apr 10, 2010 04:29 PM

            I also really like the Vital Vittles bread, for a basic whole wheat bread to make sandwiches. Vital Vittles also makes some pastry-type products, including cinnamon/raisin swirl rolls and cookies, and a few sweeter although not super-sweet breads such as an apple-walnut and a seasonal persimmon. The fruit breads make really good breakfast toast.

            Those Acme whole wheat loaves are sometimes in supermarkets, such as at Farmer Joe's and Piedmont Grocery, but not in any numbers and not every day.

          2. daveena Apr 10, 2010 01:28 PM

            I really like the oat scone from Arizmendi - it's my favorite scone there - but I doubt it's all that healthy.

            I actually really like Trader Joe's Pain Pascal - it's a whole wheat miche, slightly sour, good texture, really much better than I thought possible for a commercially produced bread.

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            Arizmendi
            3265 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA

            2 Replies
            1. re: daveena
              moto Apr 10, 2010 01:52 PM

              the recipes in the Cheeseboard Collective cookbook will produce pastries nearly identical to the Arizmendi stuff--they're the basis of much of the Arizmendi menu--and as one might suspect, they taste good because they have plenty of fat and sweeteners.

              the Trader Joe's pain pascal is an artisan style loaf, organic flour, minimal ingredients, and one of their better products. I suspect they subcontract a fair bit of their production of fresh products to medium-sized businesses.

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              The Cheese Board Collective
              1504 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

              Arizmendi
              3265 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA

              1. re: moto
                Melanie Wong Apr 10, 2010 04:10 PM

                In Northern California, Acme Bread bakes certain of TJ's private label breads.

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                Acme Bread
                1601 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

            2. moto Apr 10, 2010 01:55 PM

              if Bread Garden across from the Claremont Hotel is still in business, their goods were minimally sweetened and were on the real food/whole grain side of the spectrum rather than empty calories/simple carbs and sugars.

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              Bread Garden
              2912 Domingo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

              1 Reply
              1. re: moto
                Caitlin McGrath Apr 10, 2010 07:37 PM

                I'm not sure which Bread Garden products you're referring to, but while they certainly have a selection of whole grain breads (and I think whole wheat croissants), I wouldn't call their cookies and pastries in general "minimally sweetened," and the "sweet" stuff isn't in particular whole grain.

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                Bread Garden
                2912 Domingo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

              2. escargot3 Apr 10, 2010 03:25 PM

                I agree with Robert that Acme's WW bread with poppy seeds is really great, and I think is only available at the bakery itself.

                Recenlty I asked the folks at La Farine about their WW rolls and was told they only use 100% WW. Must be ground really fine cause they're really lite.

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                La Farine
                6323 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

                1 Reply
                1. re: escargot3
                  s
                  scorpsjl Apr 10, 2010 03:40 PM

                  Thanks for all the replies so far! I guess I really should have split this into two posts. I would agree that no pastries are really very healthy, but again, as far as things go, if two pastries have equal amounts of butter and one has bran, then the latter will be a little healthier, presumably. If the latter has nuts, well, then it will have more protein but maybe more fat! Anyway, I'm often in the mood for something with a stouter flavor, which is usually true for these "healthy" pastries... but only if they're delicious! That's why I'm asking!

                  As for the other question... well, best whole wheat, that's something I'm definitely curious about.

                  FINALLY, I forgot the BEST WHOLE WHEAT item I've yet to have tasted. Crixa Cakes whole wheat honey nut role (vegan! how is that possible) is, I have to say, absolutely stunning. Might be the best bread item in the east bay.

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                  Crixa Cakes
                  2748 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                2. v
                  vulber Apr 10, 2010 04:02 PM

                  if you're into that stuff (i'm not, and therefore am not a fan), Mission Creek Cafe on Valencia b/n 20th and 21st makes these chocolate chip cookies that have a very bran-y taste to them

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