By Christina Sirtak
Baguette. Challah. Farmhouse loaf. German rye. Stone ground wheat. No matter which way you slice it or how you serve it – it’s all about the bread. South Beach Diet be damned. From peanut butter and jelly to Nutella and bananas, the endless options make a loaf of bread one of the most budget-friendly food choices you can make. So when you’re craving a little more than the average grocer’s offering, try some of these fresh baked options.
Paul Bakery & Café
Founded in 1889 in France, this traditional French bakery now has locations worldwide from Kuwait to Shanghai, including four in Miami. Paul pays careful attention to ingredients: custom flour made from a low-yield, soft, winter wheat grown just for them and milled to their specifications. Even the water used in their breads goes through a special filtration system. Highlights include baguettes, classic farmhouse loaf and their brioche topped with sugar.
Paul Bakery & Café, 450 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; 305-531-2100; Paul, 14861 Biscayne Blvd., N. Miami Beach; Paul, 19575 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura (Aventura Mall); Paul, 1800 Sawgrass Mills Cir # 2500, Sunrise (Sawgrass Mills)
Le Boudoir offers an impressive variety of sandwich options, including their signature tartines on Pain Poilâne, authentic French sourdough flown in from Paris. Pain Poilâne is made from stone ground wheat flour, Brittany sea salt, sourdough starter and water and baked in wood-fired brick ovens. These impressive loaves, which start at $12.25 for one-quarter of the hefty four pound loaf, have a dense sourdough center surrounded by a thick crust inscribed with a "P." Looking for something lighter? Both locations also offer a traditional baguette.
Le Boudoir, 186 SE 12 Terrace, Miami; 169 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-442-0801; Le Boudoir, 186 SE 12th Terr, Brickell; 305-372-2333
A Slice of Heaven Bread Shop
Plan on arriving early at this neighborhood bakery, or better yet call ahead to have them reserve your loaf. Baker/owner Darlyn Cardenas will bake any of the bread varieties on her rotating menu fresh just for you, customized if you wish. The classic soft-crusted, whole-wheat sandwich bread is satisfying and not as sweet as many typical offerings, and their baguette is slightly more substantial than most, with a slight sourdough flavor. All breads are made with unbleached flour and are preservative free. Hard to find gluten-free and spelt breads are also available.
A Slice of Heaven Bread Shop, 8453 SW 132nd St., Miami; 305-259-3999
Gran Forno looks, but more importantly smells, like a traditional European bakery. The storefront window looks directly into the back of the house and shows you that they mean serious business – well, bread. Baker Rocky Roman has been baking professionally for over 22 years, and uses primarily sourdough starter or biga to leaven his breads, with very little commercial yeast. The wholegrain peasant-style loaf offers a hearty base to pair with cheese or sandwiches, and the baguette has a thin crispy crust that’ll make you feel like you’re in Paris.
Gran Forno, 1235 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-467-2244
This Coral Gables staple offers more than just chocolate. Award-winning Executive Baker Georges Berger is a past recipient of the MOF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) medal personally bestowed by the French president. Chef Berger insists on only the best ingredients, unbleached flours with nothing added except yeast, salt and water. Breads include white and multi-grain baguettes, rustic rosemary, whole wheat and brioche. Don’t miss the rustic garlic loaf: a large loaf of a homey country white bread studded with entire cloves of roasted garlic.
Chocolate Fashion, 248 Andalusia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-461-3200
German Bread Haus, Inc.
Hansel and Gretel’s gingerbread cottage has come to life, but instead of candy and sweets it’s filled with certified organic and traditional German breads. Walk into the bakery modeled after the storybook house and take home breads ranging from traditional Bavarian rye to yeast-free black bread studded with sunflower and fennel seeds. Flour for the organic breads is ground fresh daily with a stone mill using only whole grains. On the sweeter side, Bread Haus also makes traditional holiday stollen, available during the holiday season.
German Bread Haus, Inc., 311 E. Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park; for retail locations throughout Florida, visit www.germanbreadhaus.com
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