Baking great bread requires perfection, and perfectionism is baked into Hi-Rise Bread Company’s DNA: the first location was opened in 1996 by a former food critic. Today the bakery-cafe boasts two Cambridge locations: on Massachusetts Avenue near Harvard Square, and on Observatory Hill. More than a dozen varieties of bread are baked daily, from Nordic Rye to Vanilla Bean. Each is good enough to be savored solo, but an extensive sandwich menu utilizes the loaves in whimsically titled creations like Cash for your Hargo, stuffed with pickled onion and melt-in-your-mouth short rib.
It’s fitting that a city with a famous marathon has a clutch of world-class bakeries. Whether you’re after the perfect sandwich or just seeking a companion for your jam, here are a few of our favorite carb suppliers.
Somerville Bread Company
Somerville Bread Company opened a Winter Hill storefront in 2016 after finding success (and inspiring lines) at area farmers markets; soon, the bakery will relocate to a larger location in Union Square. The lineup of breads, many of which take three days to make, include time-tested classics like Irish Soda Bread and Rosemary Foccacia as well as newfangled creations like Turmeric and Cashew with Raisin. Those unable to schlep to Somerville for the goods can find them at the Boston Public Market each day.
Brookline institution Clear Flour Bread relies on traditional French and Italian baking techniques to create fresh loaves worth waiting in line for. If you make the trip, you’ll be surprised by the likes of Venetian Olive and Black Forest Rye; check the detailed website to find out which of the 26 varieties are available that day. Those with a soft spot for knotted dough formations, take note: German Soft Pretzels are served on weekends.
North End restaurant magnate Frank DePasquale takes bread seriously, and a visit to Bricco Panetteria is like getting a peek into his secret stash. The bakery is accessed via an easy-to-miss alley behind DePasquale’s flagship Bricco restaurant, and successful seekers will be rewarded with hefty baguettes, spongy focaccia, and prosciutto-and-parmesan studded ciabatta. Those with greater appetites can head to Bricco Salumeria next door for classic Italian sandwiches like Porchetta and Eggplant Parmigiano.
The married duo behind Iggy’s Bread of the World elected to do things the Old World way; from start to finish, making bread is a two-day ritual. Their 16 varieties read like a classic greatest-hits list, from airy Country loaves to sweet Cranberry Pecan. Iggy’s breads are often encountered in local restaurants or grocery stores, but true devotees can visit their North Cambridge headquarters for sandwiches, charcuterie, and freshly baked delights.