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Bakeries in Portland (Bread)


Jack Rose
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Anyone out there have comments and suggestions for local bakeries? I regularly patronize One Fifty Ate at Wiliard Square in South Portland, for they make a really solid baguette especially when they are coming out of the oven. Different than a classic French baquette that I found in Paris the three odds years that I lived there. Floury, nice overall crust and texture.

Standard is hit or miss, depending on what you go for. Admittingly, I have not had all their offerings but have only really liked the Pain au Levain, plus the staff is always rude and snooty. It is a bakery, come on now! Felt the same current upstairs with regard to decorum. Really, more people would patronize if they had better treatment - this is what has been relayed to me from peers and the few friends that I have met so far (new in Portland).

Big Sky is overall pretty good and consistent, but I would not say consistently great as far as products go. I am there at least once a week at the Firehouse (usually Mondays for double stamps on loyalty card and to have bread for the week). I think the German Rye, with sauerkraut mixed into it, is one of their best. Their ciabatta is pretty good and their baguette is a bit above par. Their seeded breads (one is called 3-seed) and honey wheat are decent for sandwiches as well. Not a big fan of there danishes, goods, and baked goods though. They need to figure something out with their coffee, not all that great and only one offering, save for a flavored and a decaf. Staff is pretty cheerful and friendly, which is a big plus. Only drawback for me is that it is usually filled with children - don't get me wrong I like kids, but they are usually out of control over at the mock worktable playing with dough while parents are chatting and blissfully unaware what type of scene is going on behind them.

Foley is more for cakes and desserts, but really have not found them to be mediocre at best. Two Fat Cats has a horrid name and I think it is way to expensive for what you get. I still patronize them but find it hard swallowing the bitter pill of $17 for an apple pie. Homey and a intentionally retro with regards to desserts of prior generations, just don't think that their prices are in line with the results. I had tried Katy Made desserts and thought that they were average, surprised at how many restaurants sold their products instead of making desserts in house.

Any that I have missed? I am on the look-out and hoping to find some hidden gem. Bagels? Cookies? Tarts? Donuts? Please save time and don't mention Dunkin Donuts and Mister Bagel.

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Two others are:

Sophia's on Market St. next to Tommy's Park. Great European style pastries, Cannolis are filled to order to avoid sog. Their Tini bread makes a great sandwich. Steve,the baker was writing a book over the last year or so, so their hours were pretty sketchy, but they seem to have settled down to Tues-Sun 9 to 2. Sunday they serve brunch.

Rosemont on Brighton Ave is a bakery as well as a grocery. I like their baguette with it's extra thick crust and they also sell fresh pizza dough which we get fairly frequently. (And the vegetables here really are fresh )

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Not really in Portland, but 'Southern Maine", I always get a kick out of the 'When Pigs Fly' factory store in York/Kittery...Same general area as the Stonewall Kitchen Home office(head south on RT 1, look for the small white signwith black lettering, right turn, go straight back, then bear off to the right, 40 BrickYard Court ...They appear to do product testing through the store, I've had some really yummy creative loaves there...If you are looking to purchase- bring cash--they don't take cards..

Karen

All that is needed for evil to survive is for good people to do nothing

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  • 3 weeks later...

Janet, thanks for the mention of Sophia's and it is on my short-list of places to try. One of the things that bewilders me is the focus and trumpeting of local bakeries milling their own flour on premises. Both Foley and the firehouse bakery of Big Sky Bakery seem to be very proud of this, something akin to roasting your own coffeebeans on premises for a cafe'. I think that it is surely of interest, but flour is by no means a commodity and it is easy to purchase and obtain - an example being King Arthur in Vermont, which makes great products.

Instead of paying so much attention and putting effort into the milling, can local bakeries put a bit more effort into their actual bread baking. It is close to impossible to find a quality pastry in Portland and the variety of breads offered are hit and miss. I think that I would prefer an establishment doing just one product really great and impecable, then doing a wide assortment half-assed.

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Now that I've promised you great things Jack, Jon has told me that Steve is without a baking assistant right now, so he has scaled back considerably. But he always has cannoli and at least a couple of sweet treats to go with his breads.

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