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Jan 7, 2011 06:07 PM

Best sourdough bread in Toronto?

I love the sourdough bread in and around San Francisco.
Anything similar in TO (preferable in downtown area)? But willing to travel for good sourdough bread.

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  1. Not overly original, but have you tried St. Lawrence Market - downstairs ... might be a good place to start ... also, Brick Street Bakery (Beaches and Distillery) would be a lock, in my opinion. Good luck!

    St. Lawrence Market
    92 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E, CA

    Brick Street Bakery
    55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: joe_roma

      Thanks joe_roma.
      Tried St. Lawrence Market. Okay but nothing special.
      I'll check out the Brick Street Bakery.

    2. I had a good sourdough from Whole Foods once. Not as crusty/'artisinal' as those from Thuet, St Johns etc.

      5 Replies
      1. re: julesrules

        I find the Thuet the best in Toronto.

          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

            I like Thuet too and unlike many of
            his other products, the price for a baguette is reasonable IIRC. But even in SF I think there is some debate around what constitutes good sourdough and I'm not sure what the OP is looking for. The one I had from Whole Foods was accessible, soft enough for sandwiches etc but also had good flavour.

            1. re: julesrules

              I just think he makes the best sourdough here-no SF comparisons.

              1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                Another vote for Thuet's sourdough (but can't speak to its comparative quality with SF).

      2. Very hard to find good bread (other than Italian) in TO. I'd say the St. John's bakery (153 Broadview Avenue N of Queen) is one of your best bets. Very socially active bakery to boot. Get there early or call before you go though.

        Ever tried making your own? It's easier than you think and there are a number of sources of excellent starter yeast (including the San Francisco strain). You'll get the added benefit of having your home smell like fresh bread (but you'll also have more unexpected visitors hanging around your door).

        5 Replies
        1. re: PoppiYYZ

          There may not be any good sourdough coming out of St John's now, have you tried any from them recently? The one I was buying from them is no longer made because their baker went to Woodlot in September, and they could not figure out how to continue making it! The loaves I was buying from them could have been the best in TO.

          I don't agree with it being hard to find good bread in Toronto. It's easy to find good bread at places like the Big Carrot. Fred's bread makes some good bread, much better than any Italian style you will find at the Italian grocery stores.

          1. re: PoppiYYZ

            Keep in mind that where ever you get a starter from, eventually it will be a "Toronto starter" unless you keep refreshing it. Eventually the local yeast/bacteria take over.


            1. re: PoppiYYZ

              Do you really think it's hard to find good bread in Toronto? Maybe 20 years ago but not now. There seem to be many bakeries with good bread. Now that I have started combining trips to the Cheese Boutique with a trip to SamRemo bakery for apple fritters, I've found a lot of nice bread at C.B. I like the long bread that looks similar to a baguette, which they call a "flatiron"

              Cheese Boutique
              45 Ripley Ave, Toronto, ON M6S, CA

              1. re: foodyDudey

                Agreed it seems to be getting better. Thanks in large part to many CH tips and a widening travel circle, I've had better luck. Consistency still seems to be an issue though and we still have a long way to go before we get to European standards. I feel it is simply that life time professional bakers are still very rare in TO.

                1. re: PoppiYYZ

                  But there are many, many European transplants baking bread here! Have you tried Thobors, Rahier, Jules, Thuet, JP Challet's wonderful baguette or even the wonderful Portuguese bakeries scattered around town? Sorry, but I've found bread here that is just as good as anywhere in Europe!

                  Life time professionals? Lots of those here too!

                  You should also check out Harbord Bakery's wonderful challah-and I think they can qualify as "life time professionals" since they've been around since 1926.

            2. Thank you for sharing your ideas everyone.
              I finally went to St. John's Bakery today and tried their sourdough bread and scones.
              The bread was quite good (not as tangy as the ones I had in SF) and had good texture.
              I also tried their scones (Chocolate orange ginger and Wild blueberry) and they were really yummy. I will be going back to sample their other goodies.

              But my next stop is Thuet. Do all Thuet locations carry the same stuff? 609 King Street West is the closest for me.

              6 Replies
              1. re: stargazercd

                San Fran's yeast strain is very specific and quite desirable for bread making. As I've said before, the local yeast take over so no matter where you are on the planet, unless you continually refresh your starter with one from SF, you'll eventually have the local starter.


                1. re: stargazercd

                  Stargazercd, I'm not sure the location at 609 King West is still open. It used to be Conviction Kitchen and the restaurant is now closed.

                  You have to look for a Petite Thuet - closest to 609 King West would be the location at 1 King West (around King/Yonge). I have visited the location east of downtown (King E/Sherbourne; easy parking on King E), and have had varying luck with bread availability. I've bought their baguettes (sourdough available) and country bread on more than one visit. But my favourite, the Pain au Lait buns, have not always been available. In fact, one time when my boyfriend went to get some, they told him they do not sell these buns! Best to call ahead...

                  1. re: stargazercd

                    Stargazercd, as I'm sure you are aware, and Davwud points out, there are many many types of sourdough, SF being just one. So, be sure to ask at the bakery which of their breads are a SF type.

                    To save you a little leg work, you could call first. It's possible that who ever answers the phone or works the counter isn't the most knowledgeable, so you may need to ask for a baker or have them call you back. Here is a link with some great bakeries :

                    As far as the SF style, the closest bread I've had in Toronto was the sourdough served at the Airport Keg (I know, I know, but I was hungry and had a flight). I haven't been for a long time, but it had a soft but dense interior, a substantial crust, and the tangy flavor. It was VERY good. Maybe someone out there knows where they source it.

                    1. re: PoppiYYZ

                      Any best bread list that includes Future Bakery is a scam if you ask me.

                      The fact that the article doesn't even touch upon the depth of talent at Rahier, Jules, Thuet, Thobors or La Cigogne is quite frankly absurd.

                      The blog TO article is also from 2008.

                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                        It was just an old link I had saved and thought it might still be a good starter. St John's and Epi (among others) are still good tips and the article has some interesting history too.

                      2. re: PoppiYYZ

                        That's a good point - the Keg sourdough is one of the closest (in flavour) to the SF version. I would prefer a bit crustier and a bit less 'doughy' - but it's still an excellent product.

                    2. I just tried Woodlot's bakery for the first time today and had a great red fife sourdough baguette. They also had white sourdough boules. Not as tangy as SF, but so full of flavour from being baked in their wood oven!
                      I started a thread about woodlot bakery here. Hopefully others will share their experiences.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: myriam5555

                        Loved the bread when I went for dinner on Thursday! A nice bit of tang and flavour from the red fife.