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June 26, 2017 4:52 PM   Subscribe

The Bestest in the World. Every city has its beloved local bakeries—places that reliably turn out aromatic loaves of baguette or pumpernickel, small cafes that bake a pie, cupcake, or cookie that you crave daily. posted by shockingbluamp (44 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Toronto: Blackbird Bakery in Kensington Market, hands-down. Best baguettes, good sourdough, and a Pullman loaf that's legit magic as toast.
posted by sixswitch at 5:01 PM on June 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

I think my dream job might be traveling the world to research articles on the best bakeries in various world cities. I am pretty sure that's not actually a job, but that's what I would like to do for a living.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:07 PM on June 26, 2017 [8 favorites]

Not as fun as when you are going for a 20km power walk in the early morning after eating just a cereal bar, and there's a stretch of 1km where it alternatively smells of delicious pastries and freshly baked bread.

Our when the wind is slightly going west, and the industrial bakery across the block makes the living room smell of HUNGRYYYYYYYYYYY AND IT'S THREE HOURS UNTIL SOMETHING OPENS.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:14 PM on June 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh yeah, Madison Sourdough.
posted by escabeche at 5:16 PM on June 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

We'll be in Lisbon in February, and it's pretty much only family obligations that will keep me from going directly to Bélem and eating pastéis until I fall over dead.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:16 PM on June 26, 2017 [8 favorites]

Shipley Do-nuts in the Deep South -- it's what Krispy Kreme only wants you to think it is. The chain stops in my town were so old and so local that I didn't realize it was an interstate chain until I was grown. Good old glazed yeast donuts with the sugar crackling off -- vaguely hexagonal for some reason -- and one with a chocolate filling that's like icing.

I would love to go to one of these swank joints someday but I have an odd shyness about pointing to a particular sweet in a case and saying "that one," as if I am announcing, "yes, I want to put that exquisite thing into my pie hole and into this body." I have to act as if I'm buying it for someone else. A donut order offers deniability.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:18 PM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Toronto - Yes to Blackbird as selected by sixswitch, meh to Bakerbots from the linked article. If I was after sweets in Toronto I'd go to Forno Cultura.

Considering I might not put Bakerbots in my top ten, I wonder how the other bakeries in this list are actually ranked by locals.
posted by thecjm at 5:20 PM on June 26, 2017

Very proud to see the Czech Stop holding her own against the likes of Paris, Boston, NYC, Vienna, Milan, Jerusalem, Sydney, Zurich...
posted by TigerMoth at 5:31 PM on June 26, 2017 [7 favorites]

Alas, no, sorry to say not every town has such wonderful places. Where I currently live, the bakery everyone flocks to seems to be famous primarily for donuts with a glaze so sweet as to set your teeth aching.

I am quite fond of ThoroughBread in San Francisco, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:21 PM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I wasn't inclined to stay in Williamsburg but the presence of an excellent neighborhood Italian bakery was one of the few things that made me want to stay.

Some of these look like shops I wouldn't want to set foot in. So austere and pretentious.
posted by 1adam12 at 6:32 PM on June 26, 2017

For croissants, hard to beat Lune in Melbourne (Oz), and (for the almond variety) Le Paltoquet in Montreal.
posted by oluckyman at 6:38 PM on June 26, 2017

There's also a cake museum hidden in the back.

There is also a cake museum hidden in my belly. Alas, not very well hidden.
posted by srboisvert at 6:46 PM on June 26, 2017 [20 favorites]

I, too, have a favourite bakery.

Hell, no, I'm not telling you where it is! IT'S MINE. ALL MINE.

However, having just got back from Germany, omg srsly even railway stations have amazing baked snacks. How do they LIVE?
posted by prismatic7 at 7:02 PM on June 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

OK, Portlanders whose favorite bakery didn't make the list. Tell me where to go
posted by Auden at 7:09 PM on June 26, 2017

ooh, sixswitch and thecjm, have you tried all the little tarts and stuff they have in the glass case at blackbird? mmmmmmmmmmmmmm
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 7:21 PM on June 26, 2017

Canter's Deli in Fairfax, LA, puts on a great pastry case.
posted by Oyéah at 7:30 PM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Acme Bakery in Berkeley, Ca. So good.
posted by gt2 at 7:40 PM on June 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

There is a fantastic patisserie across from my work. They make an almond croissant that is heaven.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:34 PM on June 26, 2017

Oh you want to know where?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:35 PM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

When we first moved in to our most recent place, I quickly discovered - and quickly became addicted to - the mille-feuille (my most favourite of the feuilles) at the Vietnamese-run bakery at our local shopping centre. It's the Fig Tree Bakehouse and isn't much to look at, and nothing else there is good*, and the staff are unfriendly, but, man, those feuilles are some of the best I ever mille'd.

*Well, the pepper steak pies and jumbo sausage rolls are okay, but I've only ever eaten those when I happen to be right near the place and am starving to death, and pretty much anything tastes good then.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:43 PM on June 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

for donuts with a glaze so sweet as to set your teeth aching.

And that's...bad?
posted by holborne at 8:59 PM on June 26, 2017

Oh my God finally my time to shine has come.

Tatte is great and all, but the unassuming Clearflour Bread in Boston is the best bread I've had outside of Paris. The orange-anise brioche is to die for. And I mean that literally, I almost killed a friend who took some without the appropriate amount of pleading first. And the New England night roll, with big fat juicy rasins and half-rye flour in a gorgeously dense, slightly sweet roll? Be still my heart.

New Orleans' Breads on Oak is a goddamn treasure tucked away well outside of downtown and I would fight a brass band full of elephants bare-handed to get there again. Vegan strawberry cream brioche, and a morning glory bun so full of grated carrot and pineapple it tasted like a fruit salad.

Saint-Germain in Atlanta does a deliciously respectable Paris brest. What else is there to say? Oh, and the apricot danish I bought had enormous halves of fresh apricot, gently glazed, in the middle.

Sandholt bakery in Reykjavik is pretty dang good for a small place doing fancy pastries, but Braud and Co. is where you really want to be. Do yourself a favor, skip the cinnamon roll and go straight for the vanilla roll if they have them in. Think cinnamon roll, but with generous scrapings of vanilla bean straight into the glaze and filling.

Noble Bread in Phoenix has the most annoying opening hours of any bakery on Earth but they're allowed because oh my God the sourdough. They must develop the sponge for absolutely ages because their loaves taste like the fine wine of bread. There's so much going on and it is SO GOOD. Have eaten entire loaf in one sitting and regret absolutely none of it.

In Paris, of course, it's hard to go wrong. Stohrer was voted the best eclairs in Paris (and they are very good), but their savory food and pastries are, in my opinion, even better. Get some salmon mousse to go with that eclair. And of course go to Hure, because, well. Hure. Eat some clafoutis for me while you're at it.
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:10 PM on June 26, 2017 [11 favorites]

How do they LIVE?

as you have noted, they live better than we do
posted by hleehowon at 9:13 PM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mmm, Blackbird's pastries are good (I speak from very recent experience lol) but not #1 for me. Favourite croissant is still Chabichou.
posted by sixswitch at 9:25 PM on June 26, 2017

Auden, for bread in PDX you want Ken's. There isn't really standout pastry to be had, in my opinion. Probably St Honore? They make pretty decent pastry and vienoisserie. When we did a croissant tasting of ten from around town in a laminated doughs class, our overall fave was actually from Grand Central. Who knew? Apologies for my terrible spelling.
posted by janell at 11:16 PM on June 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Macrina Shmarina. Bakery Nouveau all the way, get your baguette and fight me
posted by Mizu at 11:20 PM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Tatte is great and all, but the unassuming Clearflour Bread in Boston is the best bread I've had outside of Paris.

I left Boston in 2007 and I still dream of the monkey bread from Clear Flour. I also remember the lines out the door and around the corner on weekend mornings. An amazing place, never beaten in my book.
posted by mykescipark at 11:34 PM on June 26, 2017

From the linked article, which does cover Sydney:
Bourke Street Bakery has the perfect balance of sweet and savory, and while it may not sound appetizing, the meat pie is hard to beat
I think if you're looking for baked goods in Australia you have accepted that the meat pie is an excellent idea, even if you don't eat meat.
posted by Merus at 3:32 AM on June 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Bourke St Bakery's best creation is the pork and fennel sausage roll, I thought everyone knew that! You don't even have to go there to try it, their recipe is all over the internet.
posted by Jubey at 3:39 AM on June 27, 2017

Having lived in the Boston area for nearly four years and still not having made it to Clearflour is one of my little regrets. In my defense, I live across the river in Somerville, but still, I need to make that happen soon!
posted by peacheater at 3:42 AM on June 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

What's not appetizing sounding about a meat pie. They've always sounded delicious to me.
posted by peacheater at 3:43 AM on June 27, 2017

Cheesecake Machismo, The finest and most unique cheesecake selection in Albany, NY

Bella Napoli
in Latham and Troy is good. I miss The Vanilla Bean ( and their cafe' in Latham ) as well as Debbie's Kitchen in Albany.

Oh, Sovrana's (also in Albany) made our wedding cake in 1993, although people think of them more as a pizzaria and deli than a bakery, they make their own sub rolls -- and they're great.
posted by mikelieman at 3:50 AM on June 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was just in Kensington Market his weekend but did not see this magical bakery of which you speak. Uh, it is possible that we were too busy stuffing our faces with gelato.

I will put it on my list for the next time I'm in town.
posted by janepanic at 4:00 AM on June 27, 2017

oh dear lord the NYC bakery they put at number 1 was the cronut place people that is just a flash in the pan trendoid thing
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:21 AM on June 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

25 Bakeries Around The World You Have To See Before You Die

That is the worstest title! I wanted to think about pastries, not dying. Also checklist people suck! That is no way to live. "Oh shit I've only seen 17 of the 25 bakeries I have to see -= HAVE TO SEE - before I die!" Also it's a cliche.
posted by thelonius at 4:36 AM on June 27, 2017

Sorry, Slice of Pie in Rolla, Missouri is not on this list of the best bakeries ever, therefore it is invalid.
posted by jferg at 5:17 AM on June 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wait, no Pastelería Ideal in Mexico City? They have a second floor that is all wedding cakes! I dream about the croissants at Jackman & McRoss in Hobart, Tasmania...but for croissants in Seattle it's Honoré or Besalu in Ballard, or the cretzels (yes, pretzels made with croissant dough) at Coyle's Bakeshop in Greenwood.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 8:17 AM on June 27, 2017

Please someone identify the pastry in the third picture (on the right) in the Bourke Street Bakery spread so that I may locate such an item and shove it directly into my mouth. Some sort of sweet cheese pie? With pistachios?

Czech Stop is great, but I do have to be that person pointing out that if you have time to get off the highway and go into town, there's several other bakeries in West that are even better...
posted by theweasel at 9:28 AM on June 27, 2017

Just off Dupont Circle, Un Je Ne Sais Quoi is an upscale mom'n'pop patisserie that, as far as I know, introduced the meringue-based deliciousness known as merveilleux to D.C. And then expanded to include their versions of Paris-Brest, financiers, madeleines, etc., etc. Again, that's "merveilleux"—especially the chocolate one.
posted by the sobsister at 9:44 AM on June 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

In other places it is to shameful for me to mention, but this may be right place.

I love baked. I moved to a place 100 feet from a very very good pattiserie. Good and expensive. I would go almost every day, some times twice a day.

In 6 months I gained 10 pounds and spent, this is the most shameful part, 900 dollars in pastries.

So I decided to learn to bake, but I know it is unhealthy to bake and eat a whole batch.

So my small electric forge project turned into a very high tech easy bake oven.

An Arduino based PID temperature controlled, very highly insulated, 2,000 watt electric easy bake oven.

I am working on a humidity controller, right now I just have a port on the side through which I drip water, but I know I could do better, I only need a humidity sensor that works at high temps and is food safe.

I've only spent about $180 in parts, and it takes me a full afternoon to make just a single kouign amann, but it is worth it just for how my workshop smells. (Lithium grease, hot metsl and, buttery pastries smell so good together)
posted by Dr. Curare at 9:51 AM on June 27, 2017 [9 favorites]

You may actually be my hero, Dr. Curare.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:04 AM on June 27, 2017

In the heat of where I live, before I invested in AC, I was baking. I turned one day to my $30.00 toaster oven, and I mused, "It is not a great toaster, but how is it an an oven?" Well, it is GREAT! I had purchased a stack of 4 fluted, six inch round baking dishes. So I started out with a twin chocolate chip cookie pie, with coconut. I served them to family who stopped by. That oven heats up in a minute, and it is at 425, and within minutes it is cool again. The delight of my summer breakfast has been quickie Dutch Babies, served with either compotes I put up or fresh sliced strawberries, pineapple, Mexican papaya, what ever I have around. This little oven also bakes sliced potatoes, I will try beets today. This is cooking for one 101, in summer, without much added heat. I found somehow in this article a Yemeni layered pastry, that rolls into a roll, that fits into a pan with a bunch of other rolls, and Hong Kong egg pastry. I am going to make these in my toaster oven. I live within a big city block of one of the best bakeries in my town, and take it from me, my town is an abandon all hope, ye who enter here, kind of town for pastry. Why I bake it instead, even in the summer.
posted by Oyéah at 10:05 AM on June 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I only need a humidity sensor that works at high temps and is food safe

Wow, are you building your own Combi oven? Is there a project website for this?
posted by polymodus at 11:17 AM on June 27, 2017

Sorry, no website. It started as a very small heat treating kiln, the cavity will just fit a grapefruit. The commercial ones are too big and power hungry for my use.

There are many projects online for firebrick and refractory mortar electric kilns. I use nichrome wire for heating, some heavy duty solid state relays, a ceramic kiln thermopair and a couple of Arduino, one for the PID and one for the UX.

My favorite part was ordering Satanite refractory mortar :)

I could have used a toaster over connected to the PID, but I already use one for reflow, and I like my pastries lead free :)

I did not even know it is called a combi oven, I just used a tray of waterlogged rockwool to add some humidity, and a tiny computer fan to assist convection, but now I want precise humidity control. Turns out that the math humidity inside a hit oven is not trivial.
posted by Dr. Curare at 11:57 AM on June 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

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