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Best Bread in Toronto

I am in search of really good bread. Ideally it would be made in-house. I live in the west end so that would be easiest, but I will travel for that perfect loaf.

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  1. I don't know what kinds of bread you like, but I can recommend the bread-baking at Messina at Scarlet Road and St Clair. Even their white loaf has a great chewy consistency and a yeasty taste that I enjoy.

    Starsky on Dundas west of hwy 27 makes a good range of Slavic rye breads.

    But I keep looking for a great caraway rye...

    10 Replies
    1. re: pearl3

      There's always Dimp's for hyper-fresh German-style ryes and whole grain breads. Factory store carries varieties not always available retail. No clue what you're after.


      1. re: Kagemusha

        Absolutely, re Dimpf's--I started going there before Jutland got trendy, and will be there today, in fact.

        But...what I'm craving is old-style German-Jewish, kinda salty caraway rye--kimmelbrot, I guess. Open Window did a reasonable one, but I find Future Bakery's version doesn't have the right "chew," for want of a better word. Maybe I just ought to safari up Bathurst Street.

        1. re: pearl3

          Know the rye you're after and Open Window's was about the best--agree Future's is way too cakey and bland with no elasticity.

          Jutland and the off Kipling 'hood did get a bit cutesy around 6-7 years back but seems to be back to body shops. Ever try North Fish at Shawbridge+Six Point? Killer smoked, cured fish, perfect for my annual vodkafest.

          1. re: Kagemusha

            Coincidence or not? I was just driving through that alley--Shawbridge, you're right; I never knew its name--and commented to companion, "You know, I've never been in there [meaning North Fish]--I've gotta go..." Thanks for the fish-quality info. Smoked and cured fish and I are BFF; occasionally I'll make some gravlax, but I've been looking for a good consistent source, so thanks again.

            And, yes, I love the sight of a chop-shop when it comes to food foraging, and I'm serious; however, I did notice Burrito Boyz moving in on one of the parallel streets, for whatever it's worth.

            Coincidence, part 2: companion and daughter [at U of T] keep asking if I'd like them to pick up some rye from Harbord Bakery for comparison's sake. I usually say it's not that far from home; I'll get around to it... I haven't been into Harbord for over 20 years, for no good reason, and here I'm crabbing about caraway rye. So daughter appears with a Harbord loaf, which I am about to try--their rugelach are spectacular, I have to say.

            1. re: pearl3

              Glad it worked. Enjoyed Harbord years ago whenever my grad student destitution allowed. I like North Fish. Stumbled in there, Stoli-soaked, with a Russian friend several years ago during a party food run(we were chauffeured, OK)and fell in love with the place. Vastly better than Starsky's fish counter--YMMV.

              Food places come and go down there. Check out Pasquale Bros. sometime a bit further east and south. OK but not the same as their old downtown outpost.

              1. re: Kagemusha

                Thanks for supplying the needed prodding to get me into North Fish; nice selection, of which I've only made a preliminary cruise. Starsky's fish counter is one of the weaker aspects of the store, and Mike's on Vansco doesn't have much range, so NF is a real find for me. Only Yummy Foods, into which I ventured once, up on Dufferin north, has ever staggered me with a smoked/cured fish selection, and it's too far out of my usual trajectories.

                Breadly speaking, Harbord's caraway rye is probably best recalled through the lens of grad-school nostalgia--much as I remember Switzer's on Spadina for pastrami and raw dills, or onion bhaja from a place near Bloor and Walmer. Harbord's rye is okay, and it toasts well, but not enough rye flour to give it real density, no yeast/starter/sour flavour, not quite enough salt, and not nearly enough caraway for me. Haymishe Bakery it is, I guess.

                Breadnote 2: much as Roncesvalles has jumped entire schools/fleets of sharks, I still walk it out of habit, and Benna's Bakery near Galley still turns out a good, dense sour rye-flour grain bread a few times a week, and is worth a try.

      2. re: pearl3

        I agree that Messina is one of the best bakeries in Toronto!!! They also make fabulous pastries and cakes! Well worth the drive to the west end!!!

        1. re: pearl3

          The very best caraway rye is at Haymische Bakery, Bathurst immediately south of Lawrence. Their whole wheat and black bread with raisins is superb. The best bakery in the city without exception.

          1. re: g.m.

            Oh, I'll be driving up Bathurst soon...do they have blueberry buns? They were a Toronto Jewish Bakery classic, and a childhood pleasure when the family would drive over to the Lawrence Plaza [Health Bread, RIP], or to Bathurst and Wilson, where there was a nest of great bakeries.

            1. re: g.m.

              Haymische has amazing poppy seed strudel, chocolate danish, rugelach(so good with cinnamon and raisin)

          2. Not too west-end, so it may not qualify, but the home-location of Ace Bakery on Hafis Rd. makes really outstanding bread (not to be confused with the pre-baked bread you get at the supermarket which is sometimes a little hit-and-miss) ...plus they have a small sandwich bar that is actually quite good.

            I am still looking for outstanding light & crusty hoagie-rolls like you get in NYC & Philly.
            Anyone? :-)


            1 Reply
            1. Silverstein's Bakery on McCaul is very cool as you can get all kinds of bread literally hot off the racks, dirt cheap.

              Also, Stonemill Bakery, Haymishe Bakery, Harbord Bakery and Bagel World (now called Bakery World I believe) make great breads.

              4 Replies
              1. re: magic

                Also, the "Seeduction" bread at Whole Foods is stupid good.

                And the pecan bread at Scaramouche (which you can buy for takeout I believe) is also incredible.

                1. re: magic

                  Also, Ali's Fresh Baked at the Saturday farmer's market at St. Lawrence Market (north building). On the west edge of the market, 'bout half way up the aisle. Great stuff!

                  1. re: magic

                    I'll have to check that out. I've always felt that there was no bread of any quality at SLM north or south.

              2. Tatsu's Bread at Lakeshore and Nineteenth Street (Near Kpling Ave.) A bit pricey, but worth it for the quality. Made in-house. Lots on offer including gluten free.


                1. The search for truly great bread is a long and arduous one. I have finally settled on Haymische Bakers on Bathurst just south of Lawrence on the east side. The bread that they sell on weekends only is wonderful. Several dark breads with seeds, a marvellous light rye with caraway, a splendid multigrain. Only one better is Dave's Killer Bread only available in U.S.A.

                  1. I know it's a chain but Cobs has some excellent breads. If you're looking for a rye, try their German Rye for a dark, dense bread. I've also tried their walnut sourdough and plain sourdough which has been delicious and also their cape seed loaf.

                    Highly recommended!

                    1. Universal Bakery on Lakeshore always had a great rye bread, but its been a while...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: justsayn

                        I have not had Universal Bakery bread, however I have a friend who has to get a loaf there every time she is in town. Last time was at Xmas and she sweats by it.

                      2. Has anyone tried Fred's Bread yet.? I haven't but a friend recommended their bread to me. She finds her Fred's Bread at the Rowe Farm outlet on Bloor and Bathurst. I'm not sure what other stores carry it. I think I'd like to give it a try.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ER2

                          I'm pretty sure you can get Fred's at most Loblaws. They have some interesting flavour combos but I wouldn't go out of my way for their bread. I like Harbord for challah and St Johns for sourdough, but I will give Le Matin a try as per ghostdogg's rec below.

                          1. re: ER2

                            Fred's Bread is also available at Pusateri's.

                          2. there's a bakery on parliment north of college, but I can't remember the name. They have really yummy challah and their poppyseed danishes are pretty good too.

                            1. St. Johns Bakery @ Broadview/Dundas for sourdough

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: junkie

                                Le Matin @ Coady and Queen East, for the sourdough Boule. Superb.

                                St. John's is nothing to write home about.

                                1. re: ghostdogg

                                  I agree St. John's used to be the best but the last few times I've gone it hasn't been great. Still Way better than Brick Street and I like their mission but I wonder what happened to the bread?

                                  1. re: LexiFirefly

                                    The head breadmaker from St. John's left last year to go to Woodlot. Which explains why Woodlot's breads are so good.

                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                      I knew that i just thought since he was there for so long someone would've been properly trained.

                                  2. re: ghostdogg

                                    Le Matin's baguette is the worst bread I've ever had. No crust, no structure (doughy), and smells way too yeasty. Thuet's bread is some of the best. If you get to the Sarauren (sp?) market on Mondays DeLa Terre's bread is really stunning. And I would not blame woodlot for St John's problems. Chef's and bakers change jobs regularly. It is up to the business owner to ensure there is always a back-up plan

                                2. Thanks for the great suggestions! I'm going to try them all.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. I like the "My Market Bakery" in Kensington's bagels

                                    1. I too love MY Market Bakery in Kensington ,I also love Starskis caraway rye ...

                                      1. Epi Bakery near Bayview/Davisville - excellent breads.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                                          I second Epi. My fave is the walnut bread, but they're all good.

                                        2. Got a roasted pepper baguette at San Remo yesterday - they had some very good looking breads. First visit, but we will be back.

                                          1. When it comes to bread I’m very picky. I want my bread to be fresh, no additives, crunchy with good texture, and simply delicious. No fuss. My favourite bread that meets these requirements, I buy it in a bakery called Palermo Bakery, 1084 St Clair Ave West at Dufferin. They offer Italian style bread at extremely reasonable price. Nice unassuming place where you can find the finest Italian bread baked daily on premises. This bakery is a nice hidden gem. They have their regular customers. Best time to go there is morning or early afternoon as it’s usually sold out by 6 pm.