10 Great Places to Harvest a Bounty of Artisan Breads
USA Today
November 15, 2007

The traditional Thanksgiving turkey will, of course, be the centerpiece on holiday dinner tables next week, but why not try something different in the breadbasket? Peter Reinhart, author of the new Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor, shares his recommendations for artisan bakeries nationwide with Kathy Baruffi for USA TODAY.

Acme Bread Co. - San Francisco
"Acme, the first of the new- generation bakeries to consistently produce world-class hearth bread, is the most important artisan bread bakery in America. Every time I visit, the quality actually seems to improve," Reinhart says. "In addition to some of the best bread you will ever taste, shopping at Acme's also provides an opportunity to visit the gorgeous Ferry Building Marketplace — the new benchmark of American artisan food markets." 415-288-2978; ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/acme_bread_company

Amy's Bread - New York
"There's no shortage of terrific bakeries in New York, but Amy's Bread has distinguished itself for its commitment to quality products and community involvement," Reinhart says. "The semolina fennel raisin twists are a signature item, but all of the breads and pastries, such as the wonderful muffins, scones and cakes, are baked with the same attention to detail and traditional craft techniques." Visit the Chelsea Market location — one of three in the city — for one-stop holiday shopping. 212-462-4338; amysbread.com

Clear Flour Bread - Brookline, Mass.
"Abe Faber and his wife, Christy, have been producing spectacular breads and pastries for 24 years at their small bakery," Reinhart says. "Try the French Ancienne, a ciabatta-like rustic bread with a crisp crust and creamy large-holed crumb. They also make dense, complex German rye breads. Take a few of the morning pastries home, too. Check the website for their daily bread menu." 617-739-0060; clearflourbread.com

Village Bakery Cafe - Amarillo, Texas
"The ciabatta breads are beautifully holey, the croissants are flaky, and the fresh fruit danishes are to die for at Phyllis and George Enloe's shop," Reinhart says. "They also make seeded and red curry lavash cracker breads, focaccia, and various country breads with nuts and cheeses, as well as gorgeous desserts." 806-358-1358; villagebakerycafe.com

Bit of Swiss Pastry Shoppe - Stevensville, Mich.
"Owner/baker Tim Foley's bakery makes you feel like you're in Europe, with extraordinary almond croissants, whole-wheat scones and pastries, along with Bavarian cream cakes, butter-cream tortes, wedding cakes and the finest- quality hearth and sandwich breads of all styles," Reinhart says. Seasonal specialties include Cranberry Wild Rice bread for Thanksgiving and Holiday Stollen for Christmas, available for shipping. 269-429-1661; bitofswiss.com

Companion - Clayton, Mo.
"Owner Josh Allen serves up great baked goods and also one of my favorite all-time breakfasts, custardy baked eggs with various fillings," Reinhart says. "The cafe also makes fabulous sandwiches on their ciabatta, New York rye, croissants, and Parisien and specialty breads. There is also an inspiring array of moist cakes, colorful tarts and petits fours." Clayton is one of three locations in the St. Louis area. 314-721-5454 companionstl.com

The Pearl Bakery - Portland, Ore.
"The huge, 4-pound pillowy Pugliese loaves are, alone, worth a special trip. But every time I visit the Pearl, the products keep getting better as the bakers continue their ongoing commitment to study with international baking masters. The pastries are every bit as good as the breads and, as a bonus, the Pearl is just one block away from Powell's Books, the largest independent bookstore in America," Reinhart says. 503-827-0910; pearlbakery.com

Mrs. London's - Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
"Michael and Wendy London's artisan breads have long been among the best in America, but now, with their cafe — oh my! Whether it's meringues and macaroons, custard-filled Saint-Tropez Beret, or soups, salads and sandwiches — everything is done with a spectacular flair for both presentation and flavor. The food here will transport you to Paris — and Saratoga Springs isn't too shabby in its own right," Reinhart says. 518-581-1652; mrslondons.com

King Arthur Flour Bakery - Norwich, Vt.
"One of America's greatest bakers, Jeffrey Hamelman, presides at this destination bakeshop on the scenic Vermont/New Hampshire border, where you can take classes in the showcase bakeshop at the headquarters of the famous King Arthur Flour Catalog," with a beautiful retail store next door to the bakery, Reinhart says. "No point in listing the products — you will want everything — but the rye breads and pastries are definitely not to be missed." 802-649-3361; kingarthurflour.com

Seven Stars Bakery - Providence
"Hearty, crusty, European-style breads come flying out of the giant round brick oven built at this shop just blocks from Brown University on Providence's East Side," Reinhart says. "The newest location, on Broadway, offers a larger cafe atmosphere. The baguettes are terrific, but so is the crusty olive bread — difficult choice, so get them both." Reinhart says. The popular shop was temporarily renamed Yums for a scene in the recently released romantic comedy Dan in Real Life. 401-521-2200; sevenstarsbakery.com