The Best Loaves of American Bread

American Bread: 45 Loaves We Love

45 of our favorite artisanal bakery loafs of bread from around the country.

Multi-Grain Seven Seeds from Almondine

Flecked throughout with a multitude of nutty, buttery fresh seeds--poppy, sesame, flax, sunflower--this may be the ultimate sandwich bread. Pile on some roast turkey, dilled Havarti, and tomato and taste how good life can be. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Almondine
85 Water Street
Brooklyn, New York
718/797-5026

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Todd Coleman

French Rye from Metropolitan Bakery

A splash of cider in the dough hints at the Normandy heritage of this light, chewy French-style seedless rye bread (baker James Barrett usually uses hard cider for this bread, but turns to fresh-pressed local cider when it's in season). A large, lovely hole structure and light, flavorful crumb make this bread a winner. Great for sandwiches and as an accompaniment to cured meats and cheeses, this French rye also makes a delectable grilled cheese melt with a dab of whole-grain Dijon mustard. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Metropolitan Bakery
Various locations
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Todd Coleman

Olive Loaf from Wild Flour Bread

Lusty olives keep company with toasty black nigella seeds and a sprinkling of zaatar in this thick-crusted organic sourdough from Jed Wallach's eucalyptus wood-fired oven. Dip in a pool of peppery olive oil or roasted red pepper-and-feta spread. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Wild Flour Bread
140 Bohemian Highway
Freestone, California
707-874-2938

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Todd Coleman

Olive Herb Bread from Black Crow Bakery

It almost seems as if Black Crow Bakery doesn't want customers. Located in a shoddy-looking barn at the end of a dirt road with minimal signage, most would never guess that this is family-run business with masterful bread made from freshly milled flour and natural starters. Their Olive Herb Bread is especially terrific. It's cooked in a wood-fired oven and packed with Kalamata olives, fresh herbs and herbed wine vinegar. --_Alex Rush

Black Crow Bakery
232 Plains Road
Litchfield, Maine
207/268-9927

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Todd Coleman

Five Grain from Guglhupf

French-style bakeries get plenty of praise, but let's not forget that Germany also has a strong bread-baking tradition. Guglhupf founder/owner Claudia Kemmet-Cooper grew up in Deutschland, and her Durham bakery reflects her nostalgia for her home country's artisans. Case in point, the Five Grain loaf. With an interior texture that's reminiscent of pound cake and a seed-laden crust, this bread reaches its full potential when toasted and blanketed in peanut butter. --_Alex Rush

Guglhupf
2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, Suite #1
Durham, North Carolina
919/401-2600

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Todd Coleman

Pain de Mie from Clear Flour Bread

This bread from one of Boston's best boulangeries can attribute its rich and sweet flavors to ingredients such as whole milk, sugar and butter. No wonder folks often line up outside this side street-situated bakery on weekend mornings. --_Alex Rush

Clear Flour Bread
178 Thornedike Street
Brookline, Massachusetts
845/657-3328

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Todd Coleman

Sour Corn Rye from Wild Hive Bakery

Wild Hive, the former bee-keeping business turned bakery and grain mill, makes a wide range of baked goods with its local and freshly milled flour. One of our favorites is the sour corn rye: Made with freshly milled corn and rye flour, it's incomparably aromatic, and great toasted and slathered with goat cheese. --_Alex Rush

Wild Hive Bakery
2411 Salt Point Turnpike
Clinton Corners, New York
845/657-3328

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Todd Coleman

Cranberry Pecan loaf from Pain D'Avignon at the Essex Street Market

This rustic, dark-baked loaf makes for a tasty--and nutritious--breakfast. Bits of tart fruit and sweet nuts serve to heighten the sour flavor of the tender crumb. --_Alex Rush

Pain D'Avignon
120 Essex Street
New York City
212/673-4950

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Todd Coleman

Benton's Bacon Onion Bread from H&F Bread Company sold at Lucy's Market

It's no wonder this loaf has a cult following: The bakery's tangy sourdough is dotted with hickory smoked country bacon from legendary Tennessee smoke house Benton's and sweet caramelized onions for a flavor that's rich, meaty, and addictive. --_Alex Rush

H&F Bread Company
102 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA
404/357-0052

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Todd Coleman

American Harvest Cranberry Wild Rice from Bit of Swiss

This dense, fragrant, fascinating loaf is a take on a traditional Native American preparation of cranberries cooked with wild rice; the bakery adds oranges to the dough to enhance the bold flavors. Since 1967, Bit of Swiss has been one of the Midwest's leading artisanal bakeries. --_Alex Rush

Bit of Swiss
4333 Ridge Road
Stevensville, Michigan
269/429-1661

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Todd Coleman

Pane Francese from Macrina Bakery

The high crust-to-crumb ratio and light, airy texture distinguish this loaf, made with Shepherd's Grain whole wheat flour and a natural yeast starter baker Leslie Mackie made from neighboring Hightower Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Macrina Bakery
2408 First Avenue
Seattle Washington
206/448-4032

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Todd Coleman

Rustic Round from Breadbar

Spongy and almost cake-like, this slightly tangy bread from Los Angeles's Breadbar, the bakery and restaurant, is amazing when sliced and smeared with butter and sprinkled with sea salt. --_Alex Rush

Breadbar
10250 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, California
310/277-3770

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Todd Coleman

Filone from Bread Alone

Made with a quick Italian starter called a biga, this Italian bread has a slight tang and a nice, light and airy structure. This is a great bread-basket bread; it has enough flavor to be tasty on its own, but doesn't overpower foods on the plate. --_Alex Rush

Bread Alone
3962 Route 28
Boiceville, New York
845/657-3328

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Todd Coleman

Seeded Levain from Bread Alone

We love all of Bread Alone's breads, but their levain, with its balanced sourness and hearty flavor, is our go-to bread for sandwiches. Showered with seeds, it has an earthy nuttiness and rich flavor. --_Alex Rush

Bread Alone
3962 Route 28
Boiceville, New York
845/657-3328

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Todd Coleman

Rye Ficelle from Bien Cuit

You don't expect to taste rye in a crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside ficelle form, which makes this fragrant, slowly fermented loaf all the more surprising. It's our favorite from this newish Brooklyn bakery, who has already started supplying some of our favorite restaurants in the city. --_Alex Rush

Bien Cuit
120 Smith Street
Brooklyn, New York
718/852-0200

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Todd Coleman

Potato Thyme Fougasse from Hungry Ghost Bread

It's no wonder this bakery usually sells out of this loaf: Baker Jonathan Stevens' hand-shaped, wood-fired bread has a pillowy texture reminiscent of focaccia and a wonderfully herbaceous taste, thanks to the addition of fresh thyme. Amazing as a sandwich bread.--_Alex Rush

Hungry Ghost Bread
62 State Street
Northampton, Massachusetts
413/582-9009

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Todd Coleman

Truccione Sare from Sullivan Street Bakery

Sullivan Street's succulent, slightly salty sourdough bears all the hallmarks of a loaf by wunderkind baker Jim Lahey: a deeply charred, beautifully slashed crust, a moist flavorful crumb with a wonderfully erratic hole structure, and a made-up name that sounds at once novel and ancient. Top with a dollop of fresh ricotta and a drizzle of olive oil, or tear off a hunk and swish it through whatever sauce you want to sop up on your plate. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Sullivan Street Bakery
533 West 47th Street
New York City
212/265-5580

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Todd Coleman

Seeded Fougasse from Standard Baking Company

This chewy bread tastes like the best everything bagel on earth: chewy, fragrant, great with good butter. The owners of this seminal bakery have a passion for old-school European breads, and this fougasse is a great example. --_Alex Rush

Standard Baking Company
75 Commercial Street
Portland, Maine
207/773-2112

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Todd Coleman

Finnish Rye Ring from Blue Duck

One of a host of European Ryes from this favorite Long Island bakery, this dense rye ring (for which baker Keith Kouris ferments coarsely chopped unmilled rye berries) stems from the Finnish tradition of making circular loaves so that the bakers could string up their goods for sale. Delicious sliced thin and served with cured meats and cheeses, this versatile rye is also good toasted and drizzled with honey. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Blue Duck
56275 Main Road
Southold, New York
631/629-4123

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Todd Coleman

Russian Pumpernickel from Orwasher's

The chewy, aromatic, Russian pumpernickel at the 86-year-old Manhattan stalwart Orwasher's is old-world perfection, and our choice for a pastrami sandwich. (We also love owner Keith Cohen's new and creative and insanely aromatic chardonnay miche, made with wine yeast.) --_Alex Rush

Orwasher's
308 East 78th Street
New York City
212/288-6569

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Todd Coleman

Epi Baguette from Pain D'Avignon sold at the Essex street market

The Long Island City Bakery makes an expert rendition of one of France's favorite picnicking breads. A series of baguette-like rolls arranged like a wheat stalk that can easily be snapped off for a single serving, the epis are light, airy, and (thanks to a long fermentation) delicious. --_Alex Rush

Pain D'Avignon
120 Essex Street
New York City
212/673-4950

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Todd Coleman

Olive Batard from Seven Stars

This chewy beauty, strewn with black oil-cured Moroccan olives and briny plump Kalamatas, is the essence of the Mediterranean in bread form. Like all of the breads from this bakery, the crumb and crust are particularly moist and flavorful. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Seven Stars
Various locations
Providence, Rhode Island
401/521-2200

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Todd Coleman

Country Blonde Boule from Ken's Artisan Bakery

Inspired by the famous pain Poilane, this long-fermented sourdough bread, made from sustainably-grown flour and natural levain, has a nutty brown crust embossed with a sheath of wheat and a glistening, open-holed whole wheat crumb. An extraordinary loaf for sandwiches or simply snacking. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Ken's Artisan Bakery
338 Northwest 21st Avenue
Portland, Oregon
503/248-2202

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Todd Coleman

Pain de Seigle from Balthazar Bakery

This stunning round loaf, whose dark crust sports an etching of its bakery's first initial, was a mind-blowing addition to the New York bread scene when it debuted 15 years ago. Its flavors are as complex as the baking process itself, ranging from sour to sweet to salty. That's because Balthazar, the bakery attached to the Soho brasserie of the same name, crafts this rustic french bread by mixing organic whole wheat and organic rye starters with a splash of dark ale. --_Alex Rush

Balthazar Bakery
80 Spring Street
New York City
212//965-1785

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Todd Coleman

Walnut Levain from Acme Bread

One bite of this loaf, with its crisp, craggy crust and addictively chewy walnut-studded crumb, and you'll see why Acme has been supplying table breads to the likes of Berkeley's Chez Panisse for years. Try a slice with a hunk of Stilton and a thin smear of fig preserves. We're also in love with Acme's new hand-formed Edible Schoolyard Loaf, a toasty whole-grain homage to Alice Waters' groundbreaking program, featuring California-grown, stone-milled Yecora Rojo wheat. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Acme Bread
1601 San Pablo Avenue
Berkeley, California
510/524-1327

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Todd Coleman

Levain from Gerard's Breads of Tradition sold at City Market Onion River Co-op

This crusty sourdough loaf, made from spelt, wheat rye, sea salt, and a natural yeast, has an airy crumb and a pleasantly tangy aftertaste. It's the life's work of baker/owner Gerard Rubaud, a man so passionate about his craft that, even at 78 years old, he continues to bake for 15 straight hours, five days a week. --_Alex Rush

City Market Onion River Co-op
82 South Winooski Avenue
Burlington, Vermont
802/861-9700

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Todd Coleman

Cinnamon Sugar Brioche from Milo & Olive

Do whatever it takes to get your hands on a piece of Milo & Olive's cinnamon sugar brioche. Seriously, it is that good. Baker Zoe Nathan made it her life goal to see how much butter she could put into her brioche dough without it breaking, and the result is sumptuous and spun through with crackly cinnamon-sugar pinwheels. Serve with a steaming cup of cafe au lait for a deliciously decadent breakfast, or use it as a base for French toast. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Milo & Olive
2723 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, California
310/453-6776

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Todd Coleman

Asiago-Parmesan from La Farm

Think of heavenly, crisp caramelized cheese atop a casserole; that's what the asiago-parmesan bread by French baker Lionel Vatinet tastes like. We're equally wowed by his more traditional sourdoughs, which have a moist, tangy crumb and chewy crust. --_Alex Rush

La Farm
4248 Cary Parkway
Cary, North Carolina
919/657-0657

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Todd Coleman

Country Bread from Tartine

With a moist, sour, malty, nutty crumb and pronounced, caramelized crust, Tartine's country bread is the gold standard for artisan loaves in San Francisco and beyond. Like all of Tartine's lovingly made loaves, this one is truly beautiful. --_Alex Rush

Tartine
600 Guerro Street
San Francisco, California
415/487-2600

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Todd Coleman

Whole Wheat Sourdough from Bread Alone

This slightly tangy, rugged whole wheat sourdough from New York's seminal Bread Alone bakery is our staple at home for sandwiches and snacks: it makes a stellar PB&J. --_Alex Rush

Bread Alone
3962 Route 28
Boiceville, New York
845/657-3328

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Todd Coleman

Bread & Chocolate from Berkshire Mountain Bakery

We're crazy about Berkshire Mountain Bakery's dense sourdough boule studded with bittersweet Callebaut chunks. Excellent on its own, spread with raspberry jam or dunked into a steaming cup of cappuccino. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Berkshire Mountain Bakery
367 Park Street
Housatonic, Massachusetts
413/274-3412

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Todd Coleman

9-Grain Loaf from Blue Ribbon Bakery

Blue Ribbon restaurants do it all in New York--soulful comfort food, pristine sushi, and remarkable artisanal breads from their 135-year-old wood burning oven. This loaf, made with malty-flavored yeast and whole grain flour, is our favorite; flavored with Blue Ribbon's Mexican honey and encrusted with oats, it's great for sandwiches or toasted and smeared with cream cheese and jam for breakfast. --_Alex Rush

Blue Ribbon Bakery
35 Downing Street
New York City
212/337-0404

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Todd Coleman

Baguette from Bread Alone

With its blistered crust and fragrant crumb, this famed New York bakery's baguette is a staple in our kitchen. -- _Alex Rush

Bread Alone
3962 Route 28
Boiceville, New York
845/657-3328

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Todd Coleman

Leelanau Cherry Walnut from Avalon International Breads

This sweet-tart sourdough is chock-full of Northern Michigan dried cherries and chopped walnuts. Serve alongside a simple roast chicken for dinner, or spread with some creamy butter and a sprinkle of sea salt for a delicious afternoon snack. -- _Meryl Rosofsky

Avalon International Breads
422 West Willis Street
Detroit, Michigan
313/832-0008

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Todd Coleman

Pan Francese from Iggy's

Pour some olive oil into a bowl, rip off a piece of this bread and go to town! Iggy's naturally leavened bread is like the love child of a ciabatta and a baguette, blessed with a sturdy crust and soft interior that makes it perfect for dipping. The Francese is also a key reason why many Bostonians consider Iggy's the Red Sox of bakeries. --_Alex Rush

Iggy's
130 Fawcett Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts
617/924-0949

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Wheat Walnut Raisin from WheatFields Bakery

Plump raisins sweeten this hearty country levain, which is baked in WheatField's wood-fired Spanish brick oven. California walnuts bring out the toasty nuttiness of the grains, a mixture of organic wheat flour with a touch of rye and spelt. Try it toasted for breakfast with softened butter, or serve with a cheese plate. --_Meryl Rosofsky

WheatFields Bakery
904 Vermont Street
Lawrence, Kansas
785/841-5553

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Todd Coleman

Apple Cider Cranberry Levain from Bread Alone

The cider and cranberries give this moist sourdough an even more expressive sourness. We love this soft fragrant bread for porchetta or other roasted meat sandwiches. --_Alex Rush

Bread Alone
3962 Route 28
Boiceville, New York
845/657-3328

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Todd Coleman

Pumpkin Seed Loaf from Della Fattoria

The taste of toasted sunflower seeds permeates this bread, also distinguished by its fluffy crumb and crispy, mahogany-colored crust. Owners Ed and Kathleen Weber achieve that textural contrast by baking the bread directly on the hearth of their wood-fired brick oven. And they're as particular about the ingredients as they are about the baking method, using only organic flours, a natural starter and Brittany Sea Salt, which they like for its "bright, clear flavor," in the dough. --_Alex Rush

Della Fattoria
141 Petaluma Boulevard North
Petaluma, California
707/763-0161

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Focaccia Fina from il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

This spongy, slightly sweet and yeasty bread is used for the delicious panini served at the restaurant-market il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, but it's amazing on its own. Infused with olive oil, it has a glossy crust, soft and feathery interior, and a flavor that is somewhere between focaccia and the best dinner roll on earth. --_Alex Rush

il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
53 Great Jones Street
New York City
212/837-2622

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Todd Coleman

Apricot Walnut Loaf from Columbia City Bakery

Luscious golden dried apricots marry well with sweet roasted walnuts in this lovely levain loaf. (Cranberries stand in for the apricots around Thanksgiving and Christmas.) Baker Evan Andres likes to bake this bread on the darker side to bring out sweet notes of caramelization in the crust, tempered by the mild tang of the crumb. A great table bread, this would also be wonderful toasted and spread with peanut butter or turned into French toast and drizzled with maple syrup. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Columbia City Bakery
4865 Rainier Ave. S
Seattle, Washington
206/723-6023

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Finnish Ruis from Nordic Breads sold at the Union Square Greenmarket

This bread from a New York City bakery that specializes in hearty Nordic styles has a dense texture, a pronounced molasses flavor, and a rich, smoky flavor. Slice it thick for serving with cured meats or fish. --_Alex Rush

Nordic Breads sold at the Union Square Greenmarket
Broadway at East 17th Street
New York City
212/788-7476

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Todd Coleman

Cherry Chocolate Loaf from Zingerman's

French Toast-lovers take note: This lush bread from Ann Arbor's bread mecca features both French and Belgian chocolate, along with dried Michigan cherries. It's both sweet, tart and slightly savory--a great basis for brunch. -- _Alex Rush

Zingerman's
3711 Plaza Drive
Ann Arbor, Michigan
734/761-2095

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Blueberry Boule from The Larder at Tavern

Fresh blueberries stud this chewy sourdough boule, trailing thin swirls of fruit juice through the fine-crumbed interior. The Larder bakery and take-out shop, the companion to chef Suzanne Goin's Tavern restaurant, offers a rotating bread schedule, but thankfully this loaf is a daily feature. It's heavenly with a spoonful of blueberry preserves or lemon curd. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Tavern
11648 San Vincente Boulevard
Los Angeles, California
310/806-6464

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Todd Coleman

Semolina Raisin Fennel from Amy's Bread

This signature loaf from one of New York's favorite bakeries bursts with fragrant fennel seeds and sweet golden raisins. A crunchy dusting of cornmeal crowns the crust, making this bread a sturdy base for creamy cow's milk or goat cheese. --_Meryl Rosofsky

Amy's Bread
Various locations
New York City

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Todd Coleman

Como loaf from Grand Central Bakery

This beloved Pacific Northwest bakery makes the ideal bruschetta bread. With a sturdy, flavorful crust and airy crumb, it's no wonder it's one of the best-selling breads at Grand Central's nine retail bakeries. --_Alex Rush

Grand Central Bakery
Various locations
Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon

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Todd Coleman

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