Dough in TO?
September 24, 2009 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I love sourdough. It doesn't seem like anyone else in Toronto does, though.

Could anyone recommend a TO bakery with a bread that's
  • thick, flaky crust-ed
  • moist, spongy on the inside
  • sour, real sour
Basically what Boudin makes in San Francisco. Or what Venice Bakery sells as "Vancouver Sourdough" out west.

I've tried Future Bakery and Stonemill Bakehouse, both of which make look-alike sourdoughs with all the flavor of a baguette.

I could bake my own bread or air-freight Boudin's, but I'd much rather just support a local bakery... help!
posted by anthill to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Some good hints over at Chowhound.
posted by SNACKeR at 2:11 PM on September 24, 2009

Ace? Their sourdough is OK, it's not Boudin's, but it's not bad. Their Cranberry Focaccia with Raisins? Holy poop, it's amazing.
posted by GuyZero at 2:23 PM on September 24, 2009

Panera's sourdough likely qualifies, but it looks like its closest locations aren't in Toronto proper.
posted by zsazsa at 3:09 PM on September 24, 2009

IANA sourdough expert, but I really enjoyed the loaf my wife bought at My Market Bakery.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:11 PM on September 24, 2009

San Francisco sourdough (the best) can't be made as good anywhere but San Francisco. Something about the weather. And of course, the proprietary sourdough starter. I lived all over the east coast for years and never found a single piece of sourdough as good as the bad stuff in SF. It just doesn't exist. It's very sad.
posted by brainmouse at 6:23 PM on September 24, 2009

It's a chain, but Cob's Bread makes decent sourdough.
posted by evadery at 6:42 PM on September 24, 2009

San Francisco sourdough (the best) can't be made as good anywhere but San Francisco. Something about the weather.

A fascinating thing about sourdough: it is actually a combination of bacteria and yeast that is particular to every region. If you start a sourdough with a culture from another region, then that starter will eventually be taken over by the yeasts and bacteria that are already present in the environment where the starter lives. This is why the famous San Francisco sourdough is unique to that region--it won't survive for long outside of the bay area.

Are you really interested in trying to make your own (you say you could bake your own, but...)? It's not nearly as hard as people think...I recommend Daniel Leader's wonderful Local Breads as a decent place to start, although there's a lot of great books out there by people like Peter Reinhart, Rose Levy Beranbaum, Jeffrey Hamelman, Edward Espe Brown, and more...just poke around Amazon to get a sense of the different vibes that different authors have.

Otherwise...good luck finding a good bakery in Toronto (I mean that sincerely)!
posted by dubitable at 7:01 PM on September 24, 2009

The best is made by Marc Thuet's bakery. I had a dead-of-night tour a few years ago, which meant that I got to see the raw ingredients as I sampled the bread as it came out of the ovens. Their culture is fed with organic apples and other fine things, and the starter dates to Reformation-era France. The backstory wouldn't matter without the bread, though, which is, yes, crackly, moist, bubbly, sour (but not too-), and perfectly salted.

It's available at Thuet's restaurant, along with amazing macarons, or at Pusateri's sometimes. It looks like this.
posted by voronoi at 7:14 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

You can also get Thuet sourdough at La Fromagerie on College between Ossington and Dundas. There's a fancy organic store on Queen at Givins (I can't remember the name) that I *think* also sells it. Also . . . The Healthy Butcher? I think? Best thing to do, though, is to go to Thuet in the morning when the loaves come out fresh and warm.

Thuet loaves are about $6 apiece, depending on what kind you get, and totally worth it. I've never had better bread in Toronto.

(If you go to La Fromagerie, pick up some Benedictine Bleu to go with the loaf.)
posted by Felicity Rilke at 9:39 PM on September 24, 2009

There's a place called Mabel's Bakery on Roncessvalles that says all their breads are sourdough based. However, I haven't had them so can't speak for them.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:49 PM on September 25, 2009

Thank you very much for the responses - I will check them out at a loaf-eating pace. Today I tried St. John's on Broadview north of Queen E. Angeligus Bread: flaky, chewy, and with a tiny hint of sourness. Good bread, but needs more sour!
posted by anthill at 4:57 AM on September 26, 2009

I was going to suggest St John's - it's not perfect, but its better than most of what I've tried so far. I find Toronto (at least, the Annex-y area) strangely devoid of good bread - haven't tried it myself, but I've heard Thuet's supposed to be good.
posted by iona at 5:29 AM on September 26, 2009

Tried Cob's (the franchise) San Francisco-style sourdough today. It's good. Best so far....
posted by anthill at 1:22 PM on October 7, 2009

Never did get to try Thuet's... too hard to find in-stock. Cobs it is. Thanks everyone!
posted by anthill at 9:21 AM on November 30, 2009

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