Massachusetts Bakes Better Bread

When we visit Massachusetts, we always try to stop by some of the great bakeries there. For some reason there aren’t that many places to get great bread in DC. I am sure some people are going to chime in about Marvelous Market, Firehook, or Le Pain Quandant, and they do turn out decent breads. However, both the bread and stores lack character, and end up being facsimiles of something genuine.

The bakeries we visit in MA are the real deal though, unique establishments turning out some signature bread. The two bakeries we usually go to are on opposite ends of the state, and two very different businesses.


Hi-Rise Bread Company is located in Cambridge, MA and serves fresh bread, sandwiches and treats from the bakery cafe. The seating area is near the ovens, so you can see the bakers at work. The have a wide range of breads, from boules, to baguettes, and loaves; in all kinds of varieties. They have number of creative and delicious sandwiches served on freshly baked bread. I got a Cubano sandwich, last time we visited and it was one of the best I have had. Hi-Rise is basically what Panera wishes it could be. Don’t forget to try some of their baked goods, their whoopie pies are extra tasty.


Hi-Rise is plenty popular, but I ended up finding out about them after baking their recipe for corn bread from the Artisan Baking book, by Maggie Glezer. Instead of being a flat, cake like cornbread, their recipe results in a light and fluffy loaf, perfect for sandwiches. It also has you add in corn kernels, for extra corny goodness.



Hungry Ghost Bread in Northampton, MA is a very different place. They are focused solely on bread. Inside their bakery there is no cute artwork, dainty cafe tables or any sort of cafe setting. Instead, their space is filled with a large, wood fired oven, a walk-in for retarding the dough overnight, and a cooling rack for the bread. Everything else is secondary to the baking of bread… and the bread they create is worth this devotion. All of the bread is baked free form without pans, and is usually shaped into boules. They bake a number of varieties which rotate during the week. We were lucky enough to get a loaf of wild rice, cranberry bread, which they only bake during the holidays.





In the past the have tried sourcing local wheat for their breads and some of my parents’ friends grew a patch of wheat for them. Their Twitter and Facebook pages are worth checking out, especially during the holidays when they post on what bread is available.

Both of these places are miles better than what we have in DC and it is really a treat to stop by when we visit. It would be awesome if bread with this much character became the next trend after burger joints, FroYo and cupcakes. One can only hope!



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