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Where to get fresh-baked (artisan?) bread near Menlo Park, CA?
September 23, 2009 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Where to buy fresh baked (artisan?) bread in the Menlo Park, CA area?

For as long as I can remember, I've really liked fresh baked bread. I'm trying to find somewhere where I can get bread as close to the point of having just been baked as possible. (I'm a little too lazy to bake it myself at the moment, as this previous ask.mefi discusses.) Ideally, this would be a place that bakes bread all day and I could just drop in and buy a loaf (or a boule or whatever).

Complicating my quest is that there seem to be different types of bakeries, and most of the bakeries around here seem focused on selling cupcakes and the like. Is there a special name for a bread bakery, or special resources for finding them?

California also seems to have some sort of "artisan bread" movement, but I can only seem to find big artisan bread wholesalers (which is what Acme Bread seems to mostly be, unless I go up to the city). By the time I get, say, Acme Bread at my local supermarket it seems a bit old (though maybe I'm going at the wrong times). My favourite place to get fresh baked bread on the east coast calls itself an "artisan bakery" and seems to specialise only in bread, so maybe this is the right direction?

Any suggestions for specific locations or where/how to look would be most appreciated!
posted by pbh to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Mountain View farmers' market on Sunday mornings. I forget the name of the vendor, but O how I miss their herbed ciabatta rolls.
posted by libraryhead at 12:59 PM on September 23, 2009


Most of the farmer's markets on the Peninsula have at least one baker.

Check this link for markets in your area to try. I usually do the San Carlos market on Thursdays, and Beckmann's serves up some pretty great bread.
posted by padraigin at 1:04 PM on September 23, 2009


Have you tried the parbaked loaves that you finish in your own oven? The MP Trader Joe's and probably other places as well) used to carry them.

Otherwise I'm fairly sure that Draeger's Market bakes their own bread. And there's a Le Boulanger on Santa Cruz Ave. I imagine your best bet for getting a fresh from the oven loaf is to go first thing in the morning, though.
posted by rebeccabeagle at 1:42 PM on September 23, 2009


Thanks for the useful links and notes so far everyone!

rebeccabeagle: "Have you tried the parbaked loaves that you finish in your own oven? The MP Trader Joe's and probably other places as well) used to carry them.

I've had a few of these. They're not bad, and I like that they're warm and have that "fresh" quality too them. They'd be a good solution, but they seem a little sterile, don't seem to last super long and picking up a big pile of white goo at the store never really seems appetising. That said, I may just be buying the wrong ones.

Otherwise I'm fairly sure that Draeger's Market bakes their own bread. And there's a Le Boulanger on Santa Cruz Ave. I imagine your best bet for getting a fresh from the oven loaf is to go first thing in the morning, though."

Yeah, this is probably true, and seems accurate with respect to the farmer's markets discussed above as well. It seems like everyone bakes the bread overnight and maybe parbakes some loaves for further away markets.

I guess what I'm dreaming of is a place where I could walk in at 2pm and get a fresh baked loaf from the last hour or so that's still warm. (I know such places exist elsewhere, but not of one in the bay area.)
posted by pbh at 2:20 PM on September 23, 2009


Tartine in SF has a seriously good rustic bread and La Farine in Berkeley/Oakland makes my favorite baguette - both bake their bread all day so you can pick up a still-warm loaf at 2pm but neither is all that close to Menlo Park. I don't know of anywhere closer to you.
posted by foodgeek at 2:53 PM on September 23, 2009


FWIW, the NYT featured no-knead bread is extremely easy. I make it every day and I loath working with any form of dough/pastry.

There is literally 5 minutes of work total and (my favorite part) - you don't get your hands dirty. I ignore the part of taking the dough out of the bowl, I just add a little flour and use a spatula to flip it over itself a few times.

Hands down the best rustic/artisan bread I've ever had. Extremely lenient also - I've let it rise from 4 hours to 28 hours, and it still tastes awesome.
posted by wongcorgi at 4:36 PM on September 23, 2009


It's been some years since I lived in the Bay Area, but when I did, I loved the breads from Il Fornaio. There is still one in San Jose in the old Saint Claire hotel. And even if you can't get "fresh from the oven," most really good breads come back to really good if you wrap them in foil and bake at 350 for ten minutes or so.
posted by path at 4:51 PM on September 23, 2009


There's a great bakery that comes to the downtown Palo Alto Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings. They make a really great blue cheese and walnut wheat bread.

Also, if you enjoy bread from Il Fornaio as referenced by path above, there is one in downtown Palo Alto.
posted by dbolll at 5:51 PM on September 23, 2009


Fairly sure that libraryhead is thinking of Acme Bread Company. Their herb slabs (and rolls) are indeed very, very tasty.
posted by not.so.hip at 7:17 PM on September 23, 2009


I'm partial to Boudin sourdough bread, and you'll find it through that link in San Mateo.
posted by jet_silver at 8:21 PM on September 23, 2009


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