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In search of the Baltimore area's best bread, from to...

The bread business has taken off at Cunningham’s during the pandemic in a big way. The Baltimore County-based breadmaker now distributes at area grocery stores and at high end restaurants (look to see their goods at Perennial, opening above the Towson cafe this spring). I loved their country white loaf, which looked pretty with a simple leaf scoring and tasted perfectly chewy. <br> 1 Olympic Place, Towson. 410-339-7750. cunninghamstowson.com
(Christina Tkacik)

In search of the Baltimore area's best bread, from Catonsville to Charles Village

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Bread making has taken off in a big way during the pandemic. Chalk it up to all the extra time at home, coupled with the need for good, cheap comfort food. I’ve watched friends, colleagues and even New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez get in on the action.
While I have yet to try my hand and baking my own bread — chalk it up to a faulty oven — I do excel at one area. Eating it. For the past few weeks, The Baltimore Sun has sent me around the region in search of the area’s best bread, from Catonsville to Charles Village. Here’s what I found.
(Christina Tkacik)
The fan favorite: Ovenbird Bakery
Baltimore eaters are a loyal bunch, and fans I’ve spoken to already have very strong feelings about Ovenbird Bakery, the new Little Italy establishment from Keiller Kyle. Kyle got into baking after watching the “Great British Bake Off.” Today, he relies on a staff of bakers to get the loaves going just after midnight. <br> In addition to amazing sourdough that is as tasty in French toast the next day as it is eaten fresh out of the oven, he and his team serve up some delectable treats like everything bagels that will satisfy displaced New Yorkers, and a perfect tres leches cake. <br> 300 S. Exeter St., Little Italy. 443-885-9998. Ovenbirdbread.com.
Baltimore eaters are a loyal bunch, and fans I’ve spoken to already have very strong feelings about Ovenbird Bakery, the new Little Italy establishment from Keiller Kyle. Kyle got into baking after watching the “Great British Bake Off.” Today, he relies on a staff of bakers to get the loaves going just after midnight.
In addition to amazing sourdough that is as tasty in French toast the next day as it is eaten fresh out of the oven, he and his team serve up some delectable treats like everything bagels that will satisfy displaced New Yorkers, and a perfect tres leches cake.
300 S. Exeter St., Little Italy. 443-885-9998. Ovenbirdbread.com. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)
The real deal: Motzi Bread
This newly-opened Charles Village bakery got some major kudos in Bon Appetit, yet another indicator of Baltimore’s status as a Foodie Destination. Author Sarah Jampel’s article on the place ran with the headline: “My New Life Goal Is to Make Motzi Bread My Local Bakery.” I would like the record to show that I knew Motzi before they were famous, having interviewed co-owner Russell Trimmer for The Sun two years ago, back when customers picked up loaves of bread on his front porch. <br> Trimmer is serious about making bread. He not only slow ferments the dough, he grinds his own flour from local grains. Plus: He and partner Maya Muñoz also show real commitment to their surrounding neighborhood, offering a “pay what you can” to anyone who can’t afford a loaf. Check out their classic loaf, a “mix of modern wheats and ancient einkorn,” and tack on some cookies while you’re at it. Order ahead for weekly pickups at the shop. <br> 2801 Guilford Ave., Charles Village. 443-272-1515. motzibread.com
This newly-opened Charles Village bakery got some major kudos in Bon Appetit, yet another indicator of Baltimore’s status as a Foodie Destination. Author Sarah Jampel’s article on the place ran with the headline: “My New Life Goal Is to Make Motzi Bread My Local Bakery.” I would like the record to show that I knew Motzi before they were famous, having interviewed co-owner Russell Trimmer for The Sun two years ago, back when customers picked up loaves of bread on his front porch.
Trimmer is serious about making bread. He not only slow ferments the dough, he grinds his own flour from local grains. Plus: He and partner Maya Muñoz also show real commitment to their surrounding neighborhood, offering a “pay what you can” to anyone who can’t afford a loaf. Check out their classic loaf, a “mix of modern wheats and ancient einkorn,” and tack on some cookies while you’re at it. Order ahead for weekly pickups at the shop.
2801 Guilford Ave., Charles Village. 443-272-1515. motzibread.com (Amy Davis)
Most convenient: Friendly Bread
Another stop on my bread tour had to be A Friendly Bread, whose founder, Lane Levine, I also interviewed in 2019. He calls the company “a milkman for fresh, delicious bread,” and will deliver to your house. <br> I want to live in the Friendly Bread world. My inbox is full of Levine’s charming weekly emails, where he announces specials like fig and fennel. With any order you can add on olive oil, jam and honey. But the clincher with Friendly Bread is that they deliver. In the midst of another monotonous work-from-home day, there are few things better than a knock on your door letting you know a loaf of freshly baked bread is waiting for you. <br> afriendlybread.com
Another stop on my bread tour had to be A Friendly Bread, whose founder, Lane Levine, I also interviewed in 2019. He calls the company “a milkman for fresh, delicious bread,” and will deliver to your house.
I want to live in the Friendly Bread world. My inbox is full of Levine’s charming weekly emails, where he announces specials like fig and fennel. With any order you can add on olive oil, jam and honey. But the clincher with Friendly Bread is that they deliver. In the midst of another monotonous work-from-home day, there are few things better than a knock on your door letting you know a loaf of freshly baked bread is waiting for you.
afriendlybread.com (Baltimore Sun)
Worth the trip: The Breadery
Maybe I’m just a city slicker, but my drive out to Catonsville’s Breadery felt like a real country road trip. I even made a pit stop at the country corner store across the way — which has been in business for more than 100 years. The Breadery looks to be on its way to becoming an equally long living institution. Area residents can’t seem to get enough of their loaves, made from fresh-milled grain. I placed my pickup order in the afternoon, by which point the bakery had already sold out of their traditional sourdough, so I picked up the 3-seed variety instead. Dense and delicious, it made an irresistible snack for the drive home. Slicing available at no extra cost. <br> 418 Oella Ave., Catonsville. 410-203-2221. breaderyonline.com
Maybe I’m just a city slicker, but my drive out to Catonsville’s Breadery felt like a real country road trip. I even made a pit stop at the country corner store across the way — which has been in business for more than 100 years. The Breadery looks to be on its way to becoming an equally long living institution. Area residents can’t seem to get enough of their loaves, made from fresh-milled grain. I placed my pickup order in the afternoon, by which point the bakery had already sold out of their traditional sourdough, so I picked up the 3-seed variety instead. Dense and delicious, it made an irresistible snack for the drive home. Slicing available at no extra cost.
418 Oella Ave., Catonsville. 410-203-2221. breaderyonline.com (Christina Tkacik)
The talk of Towson: Cunningham’s Cafe and Bakery
The bread business has taken off at Cunningham’s during the pandemic in a big way. The Baltimore County-based breadmaker now distributes at area grocery stores and at high end restaurants (look to see their goods at Perennial, opening above the Towson cafe this spring). I loved their country white loaf, which looked pretty with a simple leaf scoring and tasted perfectly chewy. <br> 1 Olympic Place, Towson. 410-339-7750. cunninghamstowson.com
The bread business has taken off at Cunningham’s during the pandemic in a big way. The Baltimore County-based breadmaker now distributes at area grocery stores and at high end restaurants (look to see their goods at Perennial, opening above the Towson cafe this spring). I loved their country white loaf, which looked pretty with a simple leaf scoring and tasted perfectly chewy.
1 Olympic Place, Towson. 410-339-7750. cunninghamstowson.com (Christina Tkacik)
Most underrated: Atwater’s
I worry I take Atwater’s for granted. For years, the local chain has been quietly offering some of the most reasonably priced, farm-to-table fare you can find in the Baltimore area. The business has humble origins: founder Ned Atwater got his start selling sourdough at the Saturday morning farmers’ market in Waverly. Now, with five locations in the Baltimore area, they’ve added gluten free, Irish, Danish and various other breads to their repertoire, which also includes tasty standards like sourdough. Last time I visited the Catonsville branch they even had a traditional Georgian cheese bread called khachapuri. I opted instead for the tasty C’ville sourdough boule and tacked on an order of garlic and rosemary foccacia. The Bible says man can’t live on bread alone, but I’m giving it my best shot. <br> 815 Frederick Road, Catonsville, and four other locations. 410-747-4120. atwatersfood.com
I worry I take Atwater’s for granted. For years, the local chain has been quietly offering some of the most reasonably priced, farm-to-table fare you can find in the Baltimore area. The business has humble origins: founder Ned Atwater got his start selling sourdough at the Saturday morning farmers’ market in Waverly. Now, with five locations in the Baltimore area, they’ve added gluten free, Irish, Danish and various other breads to their repertoire, which also includes tasty standards like sourdough. Last time I visited the Catonsville branch they even had a traditional Georgian cheese bread called khachapuri. I opted instead for the tasty C’ville sourdough boule and tacked on an order of garlic and rosemary foccacia. The Bible says man can’t live on bread alone, but I’m giving it my best shot.
815 Frederick Road, Catonsville, and four other locations. 410-747-4120. atwatersfood.com (Photo by Matt Hazlett)
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