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Best bakeries in Boston area?

I am a baker from the Midwest and am taking a trip out to the New England area in two weeks and I was wondering if anyone could steer me towards some good local bakeries.
I am particularly looking for bakeries that sell sourdough breads but am also interested in different ethnic bakeries.

I also have friends who were telling me about some awesome German (?) bakery near Blue Hills Nature Reserve that sold delicious pastries and such,they could not remember the name of it but said they mainly did wedding cakes but had some excellent pastries as well.

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  1. Iggy's factory store in Cambridge near fresh pond has good sour dough, as does Clear flour in brookline. You will only see counter people at Iggy's so Clear flour might be better if you want to talk to people.
    here is an old link about sourdough

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/457583

    3 Replies
    1. re: lc02139

      Thank-you for the recommendations! I looked into both and they both look really good.I will try to visit them while I am in Boston.

      1. re: lc02139

        Both Iggy's and Clean Flour look delicious! Thank-you for the suggestion I will have to check them both out when I am out there!

        1. re: prima_donna87

          They are both great. It is Clear Flour, not "Clean" however. You'll have difficulty finding it without the proper name.

      2. Konditor Meister may be the German Bakery but it isn't particularly German. My favorite bakery in town is Canto Six in Jamaica Plain.

        3 Replies
          1. re: gourmaniac

            I believe all of the bread at Canto 6 comes from Clear Flour (not a bad thing).
            They make their own awesome pastries though.

            1. re: gourmaniac

              I will have to try Canto Six,they sound really good.

            2. That would be Konditor Meister, in Braintree. As a matter of fact, they made my own wedding cake, nine years ago today. http://www.konditormeister.com/ As gourmaniac says, they're not all that German, except for the name.

              Swissbakers is more of an ethnic bakery, you might find them interesting: http://www.swissbakers.com/index.php There's also Sweet Mandel Bakery, which is actually German, but they don't have a shop, they're a home-based baking business: http://sweetmandel.com/home

              Clear Flour Bread in Brookline has a nice French-style sourdough. http://clearflourbread

              When Pigs Fly is headquartered in York, ME, but has two Boston-area outlets, in Somerville and Brookline. http://www.sendbread.com/home.php

              There are quite a few ethnic bakeries as well - particularly Brazilian bakeries and some very good Chinese bakeries. Yi Soon in Allston is Taiwanese and has a lot of wonderful items.

              I'm sure others on the board will chime in with suggestions as well.

              15 Replies
              1. re: Allstonian

                if you run a search you'll find several long threads here on bakeries in the area. beyond bread (and the recommendations so far are right on for bread) you might want to explore our armenian and turkish baked goods and Japonaise which is an excellent bakery that blends japanese and french approaches to pastry.

                1. re: teezeetoo

                  I'm glad that other people recommended Sophia's she makes great cookies and greek treats on site and is a really sweet woman, Eldo cake house in China town makes a good whipcream fruit cake that I love for birthday cakes.

                  -----
                  Iggy's
                  130 Fawcett St, Cambridge, MA

                  Sophia's Greek Pantry
                  267 Belmont Street, Belmont, MA

                  Eldo Cake House
                  36 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA

                2. re: Allstonian

                  Konditor Meister sounds like it should be the place,we will have to check it out,even if they are not that German.:)
                  Both Swissbakers and Sweet Mandel Bakery look really good,I wish Sweet Mandel had a store!

                  Do you know any Brazilian bakeries off the top of your head that I could look into?
                  Thank-you so much for your suggestions,I really appreciate them!

                  1. re: prima_donna87

                    paderia brasil in allston should give you a taste of brasil.

                    1. re: prima_donna87

                      I personally think Konditor Meister is terrible. Gobs of sugary butter cream. Nothing noteworthy. I wouldn't drive a mile for their stuff.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        It is pedestrian and not worth the trip.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          I was really hoping someone was going to say this. I don't believe they use real swiss or italian meringue buttercreams, based on 100% butter, sugar syrup and egg white or egg yolk base. I think Vicki Lee does, however, which is why i recommended her bakery.

                          For a worthwhile non French style bakery, I thiink you'd enjoy the artisanal authenticity of Modern Bakery in our North End Italian area.In particular, their sfoliadel(sp.)-a three corner hat of layered crunchy pastry filled w/ a thick pastry cream) uses a very unusual pastry technique.Their torrone and almond biscotti are also excellent and their cannoli not too sweet. Their owner/baker is a pale face old fellow now; been doing this for 50+yrs.They also do a lovely display of marzipan fruit.

                          Personally I find the Brazilian bakeries' products pretty awful (except for their soft sweet breads).The Japonaise Patisserie has an amazing addictive pastry invented by them- that has a cadre of CH fans- a danish dough filled with adzuki bean paste(traditional Japanese filling of sweetened red bean paste) and whipped cream. Their curry beef donuts are also excellent (when reheated). They also do a number of French influenced cake based pastries. The Whole Foods Market (Fresh Pond, Cambridge, 5 min. from Iggy's Bakery) also has a huge bakery area with many worthwhile items and LOTS to see.

                          Also, do read the long thread i linked to in my other post because it is alot of CHs' take on the boston bakery scene today.

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/694363

                          -----
                          Vicki Lee's
                          105 Trapelo Rd, Belmont, MA

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            There are some great recs here from opinionatedchef, but I would have to disagree with the Whole Foods one. Their items look lovely, but are sorely lacking in taste and are overly sweet. With so many great independent bakeries in the area, I would not put that one on my list.

                            1. re: Science Chick

                              I have to agree with Science Chick - every time I've ever been seduced by a WF bakery item I've been disappointed.

                              1. re: Allstonian

                                I also agree on most of the Whole Foods bakery items. Meh.

                                1. re: bear

                                  Yeah, it's really weird that this "wholesome" place doesn't reflect that philosophy in their baked goods. Some awesome in-house whole grain muffins, cakes would really set them apart from other bakeries.

                              2. re: Science Chick

                                hmmm. i have bought very few sweets from them but a few have been good.And I think they do some interesting breads.

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  Their breads are ok, but kinda pale in comparison to Iggy's or Clear Flour. I seem to recall that none of their breads uses a sour starter, which I happen to prefer. The Washington St. Newton store stopped carrying many of the Iggy's breads, to try and force purchase of their products instead. This really annoyed me, as I don't think they are comparable (re: sour starter). The Beacon/Walnut store still carries a nice Iggy's selection, so I tend to pickup my bread over there instead.

                                  1. re: Science Chick

                                    marty's right next door to wh beacon/walnut usually has a good selection of clear flour. not a wf fan: don't care for their bread or their sweets. i've tried and found them disappointing in spite of lovely exterior looks.

                                    1. re: Science Chick

                                      Yep, i'm iggy's , hook, line and sinker. Francese is my only/always. But how I wish they would diversify their line (tomato bread; curry bread; chocolate, pecan, cherry(they did this MANY years ago at xmas.) Twenty five yrs ago, as a commercial customer, I went to an xmas party they threw their staff. Those owners are just the BEST of people, so I love that i love their breads.

                                      Other than Iggy's, i get Pigs Fly sauerkraut rye and dark rye and occasionally sample others; My Love's go-to is their Harvest. Really admire their products. I am a sourdough girl all the way(and the WF breads i tried and liked years ago were sour starter breads.)

                        2. hi donna, here are some threads that may interest you:

                          ONE CHOWHOUND’S GUIDE to Boston areas and restnts:
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781155

                          Boston Food Profile:
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781156

                          Ideas for Food Souvenirs;
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781171

                          Both Iggy's and Clearflour make Boston's best french, sourdough etc breads. The bakery that I think is a MUST for you, because it is sooo different, is When Pigs Fly. It is described in the Food Souvenirs link above. Very exciting place for a baker who gets jazzed by creativity. The Iggy's owners are the nicest people imaginable ; they run quite an empire now, supplying stores, restaurants etc. It would not surprise me if you called them and they offered to meet you/show you their facility. For ethnic bakeries, I would suggest you go to our long established Armenian/Greek/Turkish/Lebanese community of Belmont/Watertown (5 min. from Iggy's headquarters) Worthwhile and interesting sweets and savories can be found at: Eastern Lamejun Bakers, Sevan Bakery, Arax Bakery, Sophia's Market, all of which are located in a 5 minute radius.
                          For a higher quality bakery that does excellent wedding cakes- Vicki Lee's is also a 5 minute drive from the Armenian Bakeries. You will read references to others in the long thread here:

                          Here is a very long thread about Boston Bakeries, fyi.
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/694363

                          thread on strangest sweets in boston:
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781085

                          May is a particularly beautiful month here; welcome in advance!

                          -----
                          Eastern Lamejun Bakers
                          145 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478

                          Sevan Bakery
                          599 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                          Vicki Lee's
                          105 Trapelo Rd, Belmont, MA

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            if the OP is interested in sourdough bread baking, i'm not sure when pigs fly is really that interesting. my impression is that they basically do one fairly standard straight dough and just put in 38 different combinations of add ins. not that it's bad bread or anything, just not super exciting from a bread baking angle.

                            i would say that for breads in the boston area, try: clear flour, hi rise, a&j king and most definitely annarosa's out in newburyport. i think all of them do sourdough based breads. if you go to hi rise, go to the huron village location -- it's fun to watch the baking in progress there.

                            1. re: autopi

                              You might also be interested in Nashoba Brook Bakery in West Concord as they make slow rise levain breads of many types, I especially love the long rustic breads they make for restaurants. They also offer sandwiches, baked goods, coffee. Their website is www.slowrise.com/.

                              -----
                              Nashoba Brook Bakery Cafe
                              152 Commonwealth Ave., Concord, MA 01742

                              1. re: cassis

                                Nashoba's olive bread is really delicious. They add carmelized onions, and the sour dough flavor really shines through.

                              2. re: autopi

                                Yeah, I like When Pigs Fly quite a bit, but honestly, it's the Coldstone Creamery of bakeries: the mix-ins are pretty much the whole point.

                            2. Sweet Thyme bakery in Lexington is a beautiful little bakery. Gorgeous, art-like milk bread for french toast!

                              1. P&B Bulangerie in Wellfleet on the Cape may be worth a dirve- their breads and pastries are out of this world and the baker, Boris Villatte is always there. I never tried anything of this caliber in Boston

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: galka

                                  I thought the pastries at P&B were good but not great. I don't think it is worth driving to Wellfleet just for that unless one wanted to visit Cape Cod for its sights.

                                  1. re: galka

                                    If that is the place in the little strip mall I totally disagree that it is worth the drive. Passable by Boston standards but not even slightly exceptional.

                                  2. If your trip to "New England" brings you to Cape Cod, you should make it a point to stop in on Pain D'Avignon in Hyannis. It's near the airport rotary on Hinckley Rd. Amazing breads and pasteries, and if it's mealtime, they have a wonderful food in their cafe'. Worth the trip (90 min. from Boston).
                                    Enjoy,
                                    CocoDAn

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: CocoDan

                                      Haven't been to the Japonaise bakery on Beacon Street Brookline but I used to love the cream shoku bread (I think that's what it was called) from the store they used to have in Porter Square. Maybe someone can chime in on if the Brookline one is worth a visit.

                                      1. re: southie_chick

                                        already recommended japonaise above. find it excellent, reliable and unique in its products. they make very good croissants, an excellent cranberry walnut bread, good baguettes and addictive ahn doughnuts.

                                        1. re: southie_chick

                                          The actual baking is done in their Comm Ave. shop in Allston but the Brookline shop carries a larger variety in house. The donuts are especially noteworthy and the ham and cheese croissants and strawberry cheesecake are Sunday favorites in our house.

                                          1. re: Berheenia

                                            So when they opened Comm. Ave. they moved the baking operation there? Seems odd, since Beacon Street is the original location. Or did they never do any actual baking at Beacon Street?

                                            1. re: Allstonian

                                              Comm Ave was always the site where the actual baking was done - they added the storefront cafe but continue to use the ovens in the back.

                                              1. re: Berheenia

                                                this is odd because i often find the beacon street location has bread that the commonwealth location doesn't carry (the cranberry walnut rolls for example). there is also a large set of bakery ovens in the back of the beacon street cafe: do they just bake frozen stuff coming over from commonwealth?

                                                1. re: Berheenia

                                                  Okay, I'm totally confused. So for 20+ years, Japonaise Bakery has been doing its baking in the back of the Comm. Ave. storefront, even as various other restaurants have moved in and out of that same space?

                                                  1. re: Allstonian

                                                    When they opened on Comm Ave I went for lunch and they told me that this was where they had been baking for years for the Beacon Street and now defunct Porter Square bakeries and that they had decided to rent the adjacent storefront for a third cafe. So the answer is yes but I don't know if they've been there for 20 years.

                                            2. re: southie_chick

                                              i'm addicted (as are a number of other CHs to their 'adzuki creams' and I also love their curry beef donuts but i tried their plain and chocolate donuts a few months ago and they were dry and horrid; i tossed them.

                                            3. re: CocoDan

                                              be aware that these driving times are optimal as it took me 3 1/2 hours to drive from barnstable to boston this last friday afternoon and has taken as much as six hours to drive from the woods hole ferry landing to boston on sunday of a holiday weekend.

                                            4. fornax bakery in roslindale makes excellent sourdough. vouros greek bakery nearby is great too.

                                              1. Kondetor Meister is gross. There's a place across from R.F. O'Sullivan's (nice burgers) in Somerville named Petsi's Pies which I thought was tremendous. Also, Modern Pastry in the North End.

                                                -----
                                                Modern Pastry
                                                257 Hanover St, Boston, MA

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Guinness02122

                                                  Thanks for saying what I was thinking. Disgusting amounts of lousy frosting on crappy cake. That's KM.

                                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                                    Right. Never knew the fascination. I liked This Takes The Cake in Quincy before they shut down.

                                                2. I love Massis Bakery (Armenian) in Watertown -- particularly their spinach feta bouregs. I'm not a baklava expert, but if you are in the area, there are a number of places to sample the wares within blocks of each other, though I don't know if they all make their own. Massis, Arax, Sevan and Eastern Lahmejun. Also check out Sofra, which is a traditional bakery with turkish flavors -- the flavor combos don't all work, but it's pretty interesting stuff.

                                                  Flour (not "Clear Flour") is the popular choice -- they have a PR machine so they always make "Best of Boston"-type lists. Their stuff is pretty good, but not mind-blowing.

                                                  Also, I LOVE Canto 6. I think I have lost 5 lbs since moving away from living around the corner from it.

                                                  -----
                                                  Sofra
                                                  1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                  Massis Bakery
                                                  569 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: astrid

                                                    Second the motion for the spinach feta bouregs at Massis Bakery!

                                                    Also, I stopped by Arax a few days ago, and amid all the yummies there, found a heap of STILL WARM lamejuns. I loved how they were a bit crispy (just short of charred) at the edges. So good!

                                                    I do highly recommend a visit to the trinity of middle-eastern food shops (Sevan, Arax, Massis) all within a two block stretch of Mt. Auburn Street in Watertown. While I know there is a large Arab population in the Detroit area, as far as I know we have the second largest Armenian community in the US (after LA). If you visit I am sure you will find cookies, stuffed breads, flat breads, and other baked items that you would probably not find at home. Good stuff!

                                                    -----
                                                    Massis Bakery
                                                    569 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                  2. I recently enjoyed Madrid Bakery on the Sudbury/Marlborough line on Rt 20. They have two classic Spanish cakes which are unbelievable. They have decent truffles in addition.

                                                    1. My favorite bread is at a very hidden (back of a warehouse-y looking building & and martial arts studio in Watertown) location- milk bread at Danish Pastry House. Great macaroons too.

                                                      -----
                                                      Danish Pastry House
                                                      205 Arlington St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: lucywellington

                                                        I forgot about this bakery and I love their very dark, European bread. Everything else is too sweet for me.

                                                      2. Certainly the one world class bakery is Hi-Rise: Rye, Challah, Flute. Next tier are B&R: Baguette; Iggy's: pizza, ciabatta; Flour; Clear Flour; Swiss Baker. I stopped buying from Clear Flour a couple of years back because the crusts started getting thin and soft, but their breads are a cut above most.

                                                        www.shrinkinthekitchen.com