Greater Boston’s got an impressive bread scene. There are some decades-old stalwarts serving up old-world-style loaves and boules; there are some newcomers obsessing over slow-fermented sourdoughs. Whether a bread lover is in the mood for a fluffy Japanese bun or a hearty loaf studded with nuts or a crusty-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside baguette, there’s a Boston-area bakery that’s ready to deliver. From Salem to Roslindale, here’s the rundown on 17 must-try bread destinations in and a bit beyond Boston.Read More
Where to Buy Excellent Bread in Greater Boston
Tangy sourdough, dreamy baguettes, fluffy Japanese bread, and more
A&J King Artisan Bakers
Garlic sourdough, anadama pan loaves, brioche, and more — North Shore favorite A&J King bakes it all, not to mention pretty pastries, tarts, and other treats. Founders Jackie and Andy King trained with the bread experts at Standard Baking Co. in Portland, Maine, before opening their own Salem spot in 2006; they’ve since expanded to a second location and distribute bread throughout the North Shore and Greater Boston.
Nashoba Brook Bakery
This Concord bakery’s loaves are a common sight in stores throughout Massachusetts (and a little beyond); founded in 1998, the company does brisk wholesale business. But if you’re in West Concord, be sure to check out the bakery and cafe itself, which boasts comfortable vibes and scenic views. Nashoba Brook’s popular sourdough is made from the bakery’s own yeast captured from Concord grapes — try one of the embellished varieties, such as Harvest, which is full of pecans, cranberries, apricots, figs, and candied ginger.
Ebisuya Japanese Market
Located in Medford Square, Ebisuya is the go-to spot for all sorts of Japanese ingredients, not to mention sushi and ramen made onsite. If you’re lucky, you’ll show up when there’s fresh bread available, too. Look for anything labeled Kevin’s Bread, which is made in-house — you might find soft rounds of tofu bread, mochi-stuffed matcha anpan (Japanese sweet rolls), fluffy milk bread loaves with sweet milk cream filling, and lots more. Keep an eye on Ebisuya’s special bread Instagram account for pertinent updates.
Mamadou's Artisan Bakery
Mamadou’s has locations in Arlington and Winchester; hours tend to be limited, and the bakeries have no up-to-date online presence to speak of, but it’s worth a bit of effort to pick up the phone or swing by and see if the doors are open, because Mamadou Mbaye has been baking some of the area’s best baguettes (and croissants and more) for over a decade. Mbaye, who owns the shops with his wife Mame, learned traditional French bread techniques in his native Senegal.
Owners Nathalie and Franck Beddiar hail from southern France, and their Medford bakery, Colette, is the place to go for all kinds of lovely French baked goods, including eclairs and croissants. For bread, the baguettes are a must, but don’t hesitate to explore the other loaves, too, like the sandwich-friendly pain de mie. The cozy shop is relatively new — it debuted in spring 2020 — but has quickly become a neighborhood favorite.
This Cambridge stalwart, open for over two decades, makes slow-fermented, old-world bread with an eye toward sustainability and affordability. Simple Pullman loaves, brioches, and focaccia are highlights among Iggy’s many products, which can be found at the Cambridge bakery but also at numerous stores in Massachusetts and beyond. (There’s even a sibling shop all the way in Australia.)
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Winter Hill Bakery
This Somerville bakery has been doing its thing for decades — maybe over a century, by some accounts — although it’s changed locations and hands over the years. Once Italian, now with a touch of Portuguese, the bakery continues to serve simple, affordable loaves, including Scali, a Boston-area Italian-style favorite; French; Vienna; and more.
La Saison Bakery
There are many reasons to go to La Saison, which opened in late 2020 in a quiet corner of Cambridge: The chocolate cake is extraordinary, the pastries are exceptional, the hospitality is top-notch. As far as bread goes, co-owner Soheil Fathi’s lightly tangy sourdough is a showstopper. Order ahead of time to get your hands on a loaf, and watch for interesting variations like cranberry-pecan and fig-walnut.
Forge Baking Company
Sibling to popular Somerville cafes Diesel and Bloc, Forge is where the magic happens — the spacious location features a large kitchen with room to bake plenty of bread, including maple oat rounds, baguettes, brioche, and more. Forge hosts some classes, too, including one on bread.
Hi-Rise Bread Company
Around since 1996, this neighborhood mainstay offers a wide selection of artisan loaves — not to mention a lengthy menu of groceries, pantry staples, prepared dinners, cafe beverages, and spirits. The bread selection typically includes crusty sourdough batards, French-style sourdough boules, baguettes, and more. One might also find traditional Boston brown bread, Nordic rye, challah, and plenty of other options. Hi Rise also partners with some local restaurants, so don’t be surprised to find it on the table at, for example, Mistral.
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Waltham-based Bread Obsession is named appropriately; once you get a taste of this bread — particularly the durum levain loaf, but, really, any loaf — you will become obsessed with finding it again. Varda Haimo and Joan Forman distribute to a small number of local stores and restaurants (such as Woods Hill Pier 4 in Boston and Zuzu’s Petals in Cambridge) and make appearances at farmers markets. (Don’t try to go to the location of this map point, which is the generic Google location for Waltham; Bread Obsession doesn’t have a public storefront.)
It just feels right buying Italian bread in a little shop tucked away in a North End alleyway and down a flight of stairs. Bricco Panetteria — sibling to Trattoria Il Panino, Mare, and several other popular North End restaurants — is the place to go for ciabatta (try it with prosciutto and parmesan), one of five baguette shapes, sunflower batards, and more.
Pizza Project is a local mobile pizzeria that emerged during the pandemic. (Don’t look for it at the location of this map point, which is just Google’s generic location for Boston.) As the name suggests, it’s mostly about pizza — very good pizza — but the team has also been playing around with sourdough breads, occasionally making them available for pickup or delivery. Crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, this is bread you’ll want to track down: Follow along on Instagram for alerts.
You’re almost definitely going to Bakey for the chocolate babka (and perhaps a cheese stick or two). Some call babka bread but some call it cake, so in case you think it’s not quite a fit for this map, the downtown bakery does put serious effort into its breads and rolls, too, including dense Danish rye, challah, and sourdough loaves.
Clear Flour Bakery
This decades-old Brookline institution came under new ownership a few years back, but Nicole Walsh and Jon Goodman haven’t changed much, aside from adding some modernizations like upgrading the point-of-sale system. The bakery tends to focus on French and Italian loaves, such as baguettes, fougasse, and ciabatta, but customers will also find some German breads, challah, whole grain loaves, and lots more, depending on the day.
When Pigs Fly
Based in Maine and founded in 1993, When Pigs Fly operates Massachusetts retail shops in Jamaica Plain, Somerville, Brookline, and Newburyport, selling hearty, flavor-packed loaves. When Pigs Fly shines most in its many-ingredient varieties, such as the mango, pineapple, and raisin loaf with toasted sesame and ginger, but the simpler options, such as chocolate, are good as well.
Fornax Bread Company
Since 1997, this Roslindale bakery has been highlighting European-style breads, particularly slow-fermented boules but also a variety of Italian white breads, French baguettes, pumpernickel loaves, and lots more. In addition to selling bread at its storefront — where customers can also get sandwiches, soups, and salads — Fornax distributes to various area restaurants, cafes, and stores, including Allandale Farm in Brookline and City Feed & Supply’s two Jamaica Plain stores.
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