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Panera Bread v. grocery store bakery

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I have one great bakery near me, but they close early and unless I remember to go at lunch to get bread I'm out of luck. Other than that its the Hannaford bakery or the Price Chopper bakery. A new Panera opened near me, very convenient and open when I leave work.

How is the bread as compared to regular supermarket chain bakeries? (no Trader Joes or Whole Foods near me, just Hannaford, Grand Union or Price Chopper).

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  1. I think the loaves Panera makes are excellent. Their bagels are too airy and inauthentic. Their danish are meh - tend to be dry. Cookies are nothing special. But the breads, particularly the multigrain and the Asiago cheese, are worth going out of the way for.

    7 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      As is their sourdough. On the pastry side, their orange scones are not to be missed.

      1. re: mucho gordo

        One can miss the orange scones here and not feel denied.

      2. re: greygarious

        I agree, their pastries are ordinary. I do like their bagels and their bread is fantastic. We received a gift card from a relative and ate so much sourdough bread!

        1. re: libgirl2

          Bread is definitely awesome - sourdough...YUM! The asiago is pretty darned good too. I have to disagree on the bagels, though. Those aren't really bagels - not quite sure what they are, but not bagels!

          1. re: jbsiegel

            Another addict of the sourdough and asiago here!

            1. re: ForFoodsSake

              I never pass a Panera without stopping for a large sourdough loaf to bring home.

              1. re: ForFoodsSake

                I feel that they add too much asiago to their bread; one cannot taste the bread for the cheese - where I shop.

        2. that raisin bread of theirs is excellent.

          1. Thanks. It is nice to have the option of picking up a decent loaf of bread at the last minute.

            1. I've had very good luck with their breads. Scones are good too. And I confess a weakness for their chocolate pastry ( sort of a pain au chocolat) about once every six weeks or so.

              1. I had the asiago loaf last week. It was not bad, but I'm not a huge sourdough base fan and this seemed quite sour. I will be going back to try the baguettes and others. It was very nice to be able to pop in after work and pick up a good loaf without fighting the grocery store traffic as well.