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Baked in Seattle

What's your favorite local bread?

I usually get Grand Central's como or sourdough, depending on what I want, and I generally feel that Grand Central is the best local bakery for traditional styles. Sometimes I pick up a ficelle from Panzanella if I'm cooking for myself but still want bread to go with it.

Beyond that, I've not been terribly impressed. Essential is decent in a pinch, but not as good as Grand Central (however, I do like the pan de muerto they make in October). Macrina seems to put a lot more effort into their pastries than their breads. Tall Grass's bread has never done much for me.

Who makes an appropriately crusty French baguette? I like the baguettes at Cafe Presse - do they make them in house or do they contract it out to someone?

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  1. Those are made by Grand Central only for Presse, which is a shame because they're delicious.

    2 Replies
    1. re: christy319

      I may get flagged for this, but I'm just trying to help out! I work for GCB (sales & marketing!) and wanted to let you know that you *can* buy the baguettes we make for Presse at our cafes on a daily basis. They're baked later in the morning, so are only available after noon. They're called "petite semolina baguettes" (we also make a larger version). We're in Pioneer Square, Eastlake and soon to be Burien. They're also being served at Le Pichet, Campagne, Bastille, Re:public and all Ethan Stowell restaurants.

      Le Pichet
      Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA

      86 Pine, Seattle, WA 98101

      1. re: abstract206

        Thanks! It was a waiter at Presse that told me that there was no other place to get them--I shouldn't have been so quick to believe him.

    2. Favorite breads come from Columbia City Bakery. Campagne and Olive Ciabatta are my favorite for eating, roasted potato my favorite for sandwiches. (I don't get to each much sourdough anymore due to strong anti-sourdough preferences in my family but I remember theirs being good.)

      Dahlia Bakery is also good for bread - underrated, I think.

      For a baguette specifically, I go with grand central or le panier depending on where I'm shopping (grocery store or pike place.) This time of year I don't even bother setting foot in the market, though.

      Dahlia Bakery
      2001 4th Ave, Seattle, WA

      86 Pine, Seattle, WA 98101

      16 Replies
      1. re: terrier

        Can you get Columbia City stuff anywhere other than the bakery? I've seen their bread at restaurants, but can't remember encountering it at any of the grocery stores in north Seattle.

        1. re: lavaca

          I've seen Columbia City at the Capitol Hill farmers market on Sunday morning. And since they're there, they might be at other farmers markets as well?

          1. re: dottie349

            Apparently that and Columbia City are the only farmers markets that have it. The website also says to try the Sunset Hill Green Market, though.

        2. re: terrier

          Columbia city is tops for me as well. I think they only sell out of there bakery and wholesale.
          The baguette is awesome.

          1. re: terrier

            Are the pastries (croissants, etc.) at Columbia City Bakery also excellent? We will be in Seattle in a couple of weeks and will be driving to Vancouver. The NY Times travel section did a story about Seattle a couple of months ago and they listed them #1. It appears that they are very close to I-5 so it won't be more than a 10 minute detour to stop there for something to eat for breakfast (our Seattle hotel does not provide it).

              1. re: MisterBill2

                They aren't far from I-5. Columbia City has several good breakfast options, too. The French toast at Geraldines Counter is life changing.

                1. re: Booklegger451

                  Thanks -- the menu at Geraldines Counter does look very good. How much of a wait will I find on a Saturday morning (9-10am) and how difficult is street parking (and should I be concernred parking a car there with all of my luggage in it?).

                  1. re: MisterBill2

                    Parking is very easy... there is a lot just up the street from Geraldines (east, turning off of Rainier at Ferdinand, the corner with Geraldines) that is $1 for 2 hours (best parking deal in Seattle). I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a table for two at Geraldines, and rarely more than that for a 4-top.

                    1. re: Booklegger451

                      Thanks. That sounds like a great deal and probably safer than street parking. I just found a place for dinner in Vancouver so eating a full breakfast and then not having to stop for lunch is probably an excellent idea. We could probaby stop at Columbia City for stuff for Sunday breakfast (I have 2 free buffet breakfasts at the hotel but there are 4 of us and I'm not paying $24pp for the other two). Yes, I know it won't be fresh but it should still be pretty decent.

                      1. re: Booklegger451

                        We ate at Geraldine's today. It was wonderful, my family said I had to thank you for recommending it. We each had something different, including the French toast. It was all great. Parking was easy. They quoted 20 minutes, it was 15-20 to be seated. If I had realized they were busy when I drove by to get to the lot, I would have let someone out to put our name down while I parked (they have very small spots in that lot, my rental minivan took two spots!

                        1. re: MisterBill2

                          I'm glad you all had a good meal at Geraldines. It's one of my favorites. I was surprised at the wait until I remembered that this weekend was Seafair here in Seattle, and the neighborhood may have been a little crazy due to it's proximity to the hydro races.

                          I hope Vancouver is being good to you!

                2. re: terrier

                  I'll jump on the Columbia City bandwagon, too. They're my favorite bread in town. I like their Campagne and their ciabatta. I think I've also become addicted to their Sicilian Prune cookies.

                  1. re: terrier

                    I just saw a Columbia City stand at the Queen Anne Farmers Market, which may be of interest to some of you. They're selling whole loaves, rolls, and pastries.

                    1. re: lavaca

                      Is that the one in the sculpture park?

                      1. re: Booklegger451

                        Nope, it's on top of the Hill - Crockett Street between 1st Ave W and Queen Anne Ave.

                        Queen Anne Cafe
                        2121 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                  2. Le Fournil makes a very good baguette, and lucky for me it's a short walk from my home.

                    1. Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle for International prize winning baguesttes.

                      Bakery Nouveau
                      4737 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

                      1. Macrina Bakery is by far my favorite, although their bread may be a little less traditional than what you're looking for- I much prefer savory over white wheat breads. Macrina's Volkhorn bread is fabulous as is their rye.
                        I also love the pumpernickel from Pacific Coast Bakery. They are at the U District farmer's market in the winter and spring and at the Ballard farmer's market in the summer. That is absolutely my favorite bread.

                        Macrina Bakery & Cafe
                        2408 1st Ave, Seattle, WA

                        1. For traditional loaves try...
                          Boulangerie Nantaise (http://www.boulangerie-nantaise.com/) they are located in Belltown on 4th Avenue.

                          1. As far as I'm concerned, the best loaf of bread in Seattle is Panzanella's rustic country bread. Not as good as it was when it's original owner, Ciro, ran the bakery, but still the best country bread in the area and there's nothing else like it here, so far as I know. It is hearty, so if a baguette is what you want, this isn't it. But when fresh, tastes great without anything on it, makes the best bruschetta. It keeps well for bread, and is great toasted after a day or two. So since you visit Panzanella, presumably you know about it.