North Miami's Great Harvest meets customers' kneads

Great Harvest photos by Linda Bladholm / For the Miami Herald

Editor’s note: This location of Great Harvest has closed. 

By 10 a.m. Great Harvest Bread Co. in North Miami is filled with the warm scent of bread with two-pound round loaves cooling on racks. 

Fruit bars, brownies, cream-cheese scones and lemon-ginger-blueberry muffins are baked in time for opening along with fresh-brewed Panther coffee. At lunch there are sandwiches on honey whole wheat (try hummus with sunflower and pumpkin seeds).

Owner Claude Juneau recently opened the first Florida franchise of the bread company founded 30 years ago by a newlywed baking couple in Great Falls, Mont. 

When Claude’s wife, Lorraine Portelance, was offered a job as a radiation oncologist at the Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami, they relocated to South Florida from Montreal. Claude worked for years as an accountant but took the chance to make a fresh start doing something he loves.

Every morning, hard red winter wheat kernels from farms in the plains of Montana are milled at the bakery into bread flour. Dough is mixed with giant paddle hooks, kneaded by hand and shaped on a wood table, then baked in a three-door convection oven. 

Bread selections rotate, including the Popeye with roasted red peppers, spinach and Parmesan; the cinnamon chip (good for French toast); the Mediterranean with olives and rosemary; and whole-wheat breakfast blast with dates, oats and cinnamon. 

There also are packets of granola and pancake mix and jars of fruit spreads, whipped honey and nut butters.

All you “knead” for a slice of good bread, including gourmet butter, is here.

Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.