Fill Up on Bread at These Six Spots
The trade of the baker is one of the oldest in history, and bread has been a staple in the human diet for over 10,000 years. Comforting, filling, and widely versatile, bread is also a pillar of today’s culinary world. Just look at some of the new restaurants throughout Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville that are serving up an age-old recipe in innovative ways—and baking it fresh every single morning.
Forge Baking Company
Forge Baking Company employees are kneading, shaping, and baking every morning—country sourdough, challah, pain de mie, whole wheat, and dense, subtly sweet English muffins included. Owner Jennifer Park is partial to the green-and-black olive bread, but baguettes are hot commodities with customers. The naturally-leavened loaves, made without commercial yeast, are also sourced to Forge’s sister cafes, Bloc 11 in Union Square and Diesel in Davis Square.
626 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617-764-5365, forgebakingco.com.
Chef Tim Wiechmann has succeeded at elevating Eastern European fare at his Union Square bierhaus Bronwyn, and he’s introduced other creative influences at his fine dining restaurant, T.W. Foods. But his new sandwich shop, Playska, takes it to another level. Lepinje, a Balkan version of pita bread, is fluffy and soft; sliced challah is crumbly and dense. “I think [our bread] brings innovation to the menu. It appeals to people who are curious about food,” Wiechmann said.
243 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 617-864-0170, playska.com.
The bread at Loyal Nine plays into their mission to revitalize classic colonial New England cuisine. Long fermentation develops the flavor in their sourdough-based program, with rye, sesame, corn and black pepper, and whole-wheat variations. Head baker Adam Ross has full creative freedom—in the past he’s created both buckwheat poppy seed and wild blueberry sourdoughs. Thanks to the restaurant’s new Sunday brunch menu, sourdoughnuts are an option, too.
660 Cambridge Street, 617-945-2576, loyalninecambridge.com.
Ames Street Deli
At Ames Street, the goal is to create a full flavor profile in every sandwich, and the naturally-leavened breads help. “Every member of this bakery team goes home and does research and reads books and are constantly talking about what kind of flavors they want to bring to the bread,” head baker Rae Murphy said. Personally, she’s partial to the rye, with its caramelized, sweet flavor, and the sharp-tasting mustard bread.
73 Ames Street, Cambridge, 617-374-0701, amesstreetdeli.com.
Townsman’s New England brown bread, served alongside butter in a vintage tin, is a traditional recipe executive pastry chef Meghan Thompson made lighter with egg whites and fermented soybeans. The tweaks cut the sweet and emphasize the salty. “We’re not just making it to say we make it,” Thompson said. “We’re making it because we’re trying to make it better, and make it our own.”
120 Kingston St, Boston, 617-993-0750, townsmanboston.com.
Though not technically in-house—owner Rene Becker’s bakery, Hi-Rise, is located a ten minute walk from Shepard—this bread program features the mainstays like sesame bread, brioche, and a Danish-style seed bread. The sesame, a square pillow of a loaf, is Becker’s “homage to scali,” a traditional Italian bread coated with a toasted layer of seeds.
1 Shepard St, Cambridge, 617-714-5295, shepardcooks.com.