Best all around bread
Essential Bakery’s Pain du George- This bread is a slightly sour organic wheat loaf. It is huge and holds up well for days. Use it for toast, sandwiches, with dinner… even to make strata and stuffing. Everyone who tries it loves it. It is named after their head baker, George DePasquale.
Grand Central Bakery’s Semolina baguette- The semolina is only available in Grand Central’s bakery locations as opposed to it’s sibling, the rustic baguette, available at various Seattle grocery stores. The semolina has a denser crumb and less air, like a true French baguette. More delicate than the rustic, it is reason enough to visit any of the local restaurants clever enough to serve it. Le Pichet, Cafe Campagne and Bastille, to name a few. The semolina is the closest thing in Seattle to a real Parisian baguette, possibly even as good.
Best baguette, runner-up
Columbia City Bakery’s ficelle- It is a baguette of a different shape, sort of like a horse of a different color. Their ficelle is chewier in texture with a paler exterior than a traditional baguette. It has good flavor and is outstanding in part for its authenticity. I have to admit, though, that I have never been to the bakery. So many local restaurants and cafes serve bread from this bakery that I don’t have to.
Best dinner roll
Columbia City Bakery’s roasted potato dinner roll- I recently learned that I don’t have to dine at Chez Shea to eat these rolls. You can buy them at the bakery, in Columbia City. They are ungodly delicious. The potato gives them a moist, dense, earthiness. The crust is paper thin, comparable to the skin on a baked potato but in bread form. These killer rolls are almost a meal in and of themselves as they are roughly the size of a softball.
Best oat bread
Tall Grass Bakery’s honey oat bread- This bread is sublime- with its dark brown crust contrasting a pale oat interior. The flavor is hard to describe. It is slightly sweet and has a dominant oat flavor and moist texture. There is nothing like it. Tall Grass is located in Ballard and often has a stall at the Sunday Ballard Market. Their bread is also sold at Madison Market.
Best potato bread
Macrina’s rustic potato loaf- several local bakeries make a potato loaf but this one is the cat’s pajama’s. The bread is a bit salty with a rich potato flavor and snowy white crumb. The crust is thick and golden and balances beautifully with the almost airy quality of the interior. It is the perfect bread for BLT’s.
Best sandwich bread
Tall Grass Bakery’s honey wheat bread- This whole wheat bread is the perfect sandwich bread. It is hearty, wholesome and tastes like homemade wheat bread with an artisanal twist. It holds up well for several days.
Le Panier- I have eaten many croissants in Paris and tried them occasionally in Seattle but they tend to disappoint. Le Panier’s croissant is the exception to the rule and has the perfect balance of golden flaky exterior and buttery, pull-apart insides. It is never too doughy or too crisp but is impossible to eat gracefully, and isn’t that the hallmark of any good croissant?
Best home style loaf
Blackbird Bakery’s oatmeal wheat bread- You have to go to Bainbridge Island for this bread but it’s worth the trip. Whenever I have the chance to head to this quaint bakery, I order buttered toast with a cup of whichever homemade soup is available and I order a loaf to take home with me. This is your mother’s bread. Or maybe your grandmother’s. At any rate, it tastes the way homemade bread was meant to.