No time to backpack the Continent? Load up on Clear Flour's peerless European-style breads, such as Italian fougasse and burly German rye, and you may just find use for that trusty rucksack after all. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA clearflourbread.com.
You see the customers patiently waiting outside this off-the-beaten-path Brookline bakery on rainy weekend mornings, and you think, Surely the baguettes can't bethatgood. They are, actually, but here's betting it's the chock-full-of-fruit flaky tarts, addictive sticky buns, decadent brownies, and no-messing-around chocolate brioche that regulars consider worth getting soaked for. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA clearflourbread.com/.
This tiny Brookline shop has made its name—quite literally—on its nubby olive rolls, grainy loaves, and airy brioche. But when we line up on weekends, it's for something a bit sweeter, in the form of cinnamon morning buns, stunning fruit tarts, and showstopping pain au chocolat—a pastry so buttery and deeply chocolaty, you'll make the pilgrimage for a warm one each morning. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA clearflourbread.com.
This tiny, nestled-away Brookline bakery may not have prime real estate, but it's easy to find. Just follow the intoxicating aroma of fresh, crusty baguettes down Comm. Ave., turn left at the sweet, wafting scent of brioche, and stop when you catch a glimpse of glossy challah and crackly sourdough through the steamed-up windows. Another sign you've come to the right place: the line of impatient locals streaming out onto the sidewalk, all hankering for an impossibly perfect loaf piping hot from the oven. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA 2446, clearflourbread.com.
Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood just out of earshot of busy Comm. Ave., this Paris-by-way-of-Brookline bread haven satisfies locals with oven-fresh goods like pain au chocolat, garlic-black sesame breadsticks, hearty multigrain loaves, and fluffy brioche. Get there by 10:30 a.m. on weekends to claim one of the deliciously warm and soft pretzels before they sell out. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA 2446, clearflourbread.com.
Still the crunchiest, chewiest, and tastiest loaves in town. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA .
As you enter this charming little bakery tucked away on a Brookline side street, the aroma of warm bread hits you like a baguette to the head. While none of theartisans on our short list produced a loaf we didn'tenjoy, Clear Flour's inventory bested the rest in both texture and flavor. The "rustic Italian," with a crisp outer layer yielding to a chewy, airy interior, is the perfect landing pad for a schmear of triple-creme cheese; the aforementioned baguette, an excellent companion for high-quality olive oil. And the rustic Italian rolls with fire-roasted tomatoes? They need no accompaniment whatsoever. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA 2446, clearflourbread.com.
Flour, water, yeast, salt. Four lowlier ingredients are hard to imagine—as are the heights to which they can rise in the hands of master bakers like Clear Flour's husband-and-wife owners, Abe Faber and Christy Timon. Now in its third decade, their family shop turns out character-rich, deeply authentic European-style breads (pungent vollkornbrot, grassy sourdough) for Oleana, Toro, and other leading restaurants, as well as for a devoted walk-in clientele. Clinching the win is Clear Flour's metro location, which puts all this yeasty goodness within easy reach of carb-starved Bostonians. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA 2446, clearflourbread.com.
Not too sweet, not too sticky, these addictive, oven-warm, golden, glazed concoctions, known as Morning Buns, are required a.m. accompaniments to coffee and the newspaper. That's assuming they last until you get back home. Available with or without walnuts. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA .
The only time everybody really gets crunchy-chewy is when you're talking about bread. And the crunchiest, chewiest loaves in town are made by Clear Flour. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA .
You know you’ve found the perfect croissant when you can hear the flaky pastry layers coming apart as you take your first bite. That certainly describes the buttery, ethereal pastries rolled by hand at this Brookline institution. The classic, chocolate-filled, and Gruyère-stuffed croissants are baked fresh daily (and worth the pilgrimage), but if you want to sample the luscious apricot or raspberry versions, you’ll have to make the trek on Saturday or Sunday, and early: They sell out fast. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA 2446, clearflourbread.com.
The crisp, airy baguettes and delicious country loaves are an excellent reason to make this European-style bakery the stop for your daily bread. But it's the cinnamon 'morning buns,' pear-ginger coffee cake, and apricot brioche that make us loyal—nay, slavish—customers. Clear Flour's crowning glory, and on this even the most exacting French pâtissier would have to agree, is their chocolate croissant: diaphanous, buttery, divine. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA 2446, clearflourbread.com.
Everything we crave in a bun: a crisp, flaky crust and a buttery doughy center, coated with lots of cinnamon, with or without walnuts. Arrive early, while they're hot—and before they sell out. 187 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA .
Everything a loaf should be—and available at the seven local Bildner's stores. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA .
In an era when everyone from your grandparents to your girlfriend has gone “gluten-free,” Clear Flour is unapologetically pro carb. Apricot-studded pain de seigle? Black-sesame sticks basted with garlic-herb butter? It’s easy to see why the yeasty, buttery scent of its long-fermented loaves continues to lure locals in droves. Just arrive early if you’re looking for something special (apologies to the woman behind us who wanted the last rosemary focaccia). 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA 02446, clearflourbread.com.