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Jul 21, 2013 07:42 AM

Is there a REAL good old fashioned bakery in the Baltimore area?

I'm talking about the kind that used to be in every neighborhood: where you could buy bread, rolls, cakes, Danish, coffee cakes....everything! It seems like we have a plethora now of "specialty" bakeries, e.g. cupcakes, OR bread (only). But I'm talking about an old-fashioned full-service bakery. Does this even exist anymore?? I just came back from a trip to Barcelona, where there is practically a bakery on every block selling freshly baked croissants, baguettes, loaves, pastries. I remember as a kid that these bakeries existed here in the U.S. too, but I can't find ANY now. I can't imagine that a full-service, all purpose bakery wouldn't do well in almost any neighborhood! There's even a bakery in Barcelona where they specialize in whole grain gluten free breads and cookies: the most delicious spelt and kamut breads and cookies. They are WAY ahead of us over there! Or am I just missing something? If you know of any bakeries of the kind I'm looking for, please let me know!

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  1. I think one of the main reasons you don't see too many artisan/ entrepreneur type bakeries is because of the competition from all of the supermarket in store bakeries. That said, at least Wegmans is a pretty good alternative.

    I just came back from San Francisco/ Berkeley area......there wers some fabulous french bakeries there

    7 Replies
    1. re: MDicecreamguy

      I agree that supermarket chains have killed the small bakeries. And are the Wegman's bakeries really the same thing? Is there someone there early in the morning mixing dough from flour and yeast? Or do they get preformed frozen loaves from some central location and just pop them in the oven? (I know...I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes this bakery thing.). How do the small bakeries in Berkley survive against the supermarket competition? I don't really expect you to have answers to these questions. This is just what's going through
      my head as I contemplate our food culture here in the states as opposed to other parts of the world.

      1. re: MDicecreamguy

        My favorite is Acme Bakery on Telegraph. Best kalamata bread anywhere.

        1. re: flavrmeistr

          I can't find an Acme Bakery in Baltimore. Do you have a web site or phone number?

          1. re: bmorecupcake

            That's because it's in Berkeley, CA, from whence the OP had recently returned. I should've made that clear. However, If you find yourself out that way, Acme is one you want to check out.

              1. re: bmorecupcake

                I guess it was MDicecreamguy that was talking about the bakeries in SF/Berkeley. I fully agree. There are some great ones. Haven't made it to Barcelona yet.

          2. re: flavrmeistr

            Some of these bakeries have closed or are closing. My own local version, Louise's in Woodlawn, closed two years ago. They had a great chocolate-enrobed doughnut and a good buttercream doughnut.

            I'm not sure I'd purchase a croissant or baguette at these bakeries. Honestly, once I got past the charm and nostalgia, I found too many things tasted the same and had similar textures. I'd be okay with that, too, but the taste and texture is unpleasant to me. I think one reason is that everything is heavy on shortening. I'm not sure if this was always the case. Maybe it all tasted better when lard was popular, and the switch to vegetable shortening ruined everything. Or maybe butter was used back when it was affordable, and everyone switched to shortening after dairy became expensive.

            That being said, each bakery still has at least one thing I crave. At Fenwick, it's the peach cake. Hoehns has this bun-type thing. I think at Woodlea it's the pecan pie. Keller's in Linthicum Hieghts has the most old fashionedest doughnuts, even if they are shortening-based. I didn't like them at first, but since Louise's closed, it's the one I keep going back to when I don't want to pay $4 for a "real" doughnut at Artifact.

            Hamilton has a location in Fells Point now, too, but I wouldn't put them in the old-fashioned-Baltimore-bakery category.

            I've been to Yia Yia's more times than I care to admit, but never found anything I liked there. They are just doing too much.

        2. In a word - no. BUT, within the last few years I am seeing better and better bread from small bakeries, and more people willing to pay for it.. So I am hopeful that things are turning around.

          1. Try the Woodlea Bakery on Bel Air Rd (4900 Blk)
            Hamilton Bakery on Harford Rd

            Also ,not Old fashioned B'More but try Piedgrotta near Little Italy

            4 Replies
            1. re: Hue

              Thanks for these great suggestions!

                1. re: Hue

                  Thanks again. These look like exactly what I'm talking about! Didn't know they still existed! I'm heading to Hamilton Bakery later today...

                  1. re: joy314

                    Since you are over that way..this place is on Philadelphia Road in Rossville.
                    If you have been to diner in B'More you have probably seen their products

            2. What about Atwater's? They sell a full line of baked goods (a myriad of breads, pastries, etc.), in addition to everything else.

              3 Replies
              1. re: lawhound

                Atwater's is great... as is Stonemill Bakery, Great Harvest, and The Breadery. Don't get me wrong..I appreciate the newer bakeries and love their breads. What I was looking for was more or less an old fashioned all purpose bakery that features the full gamut of baked goods: bread, rolls, croissants, coffee cakes, Danish, cakes, cookies, etc. As I've learned through this message board, there still are a handful of these neighborhood bakeries out there.

                1. re: joy314

                  Since you mentioned croissants you should keep in mind that the neighborhood bakeries you have in mind have their roots in the German baking tradition (at least in the Baltimore area). Croissants are not going to be what they're known for.

                  Napoleon and Patisserie Poupon are two excellent French style bakeries in Baltimore that will offer superb croissants and croissant based pastries. Napoleon also has a range of french breads.

                  As for your quest another possibility is the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmer's Market in Hunt Valley, near Wegmans. They have a large bakery section that sells the breads, rolls, sticky buns, coffee cakes, cookies and pies that one associates with an old fashioned American bakery. And they're pretty good - all made by Amish families.

                  1. re: Roland Parker

                    Great idea..I hadn't thought about the Dutch farmers market.

              2. I've enjoyed the patisserie at Bonaparte Breads, but have yet to have much of their actual bread. The croissants are quite credible.