Where To Get The Absolute Best Bread In The US

Remember when bread was just the stuff in your lunchbox that held your bologna and cheese together? If your childhood bread experience revolved around extra-soft, flavorless slices of white Wonder Bread, you may have made it all the way to adulthood before tasting actual bread. You can't really buy proper bread in the bread aisle at your local supermarket, though you might be able to find a poor facsimile of it in the bakery section — as long as you're lucky and get it right when it comes out of the oven.

If you want real bread, you either have to bake it yourself or visit one of the precious few bakeries in America that make bread the way our great-great-grandparents did. But separating the excellent from the so-so is tough unless you go out of your way to buy a loaf from each bakery in every big city in the country. We're making it easy for you with this list of the very best breadmakers from coast to coast. If you love a warm, crusty French boule or rustic Italian bread, take some notes and hit up the best spots next time you're in one of these neighborhoods.

Della Fattoria

This artisan bakery is located in Petaluma, California, a riverside town in winemaking Sonoma County. That means you can visit a couple of wineries in the afternoon, buy a sourdough baguette in the early evening, and make the 25-minute drive to the coast to watch the sunset with a warm slice of bread and a glass of wine. Let's go!

Della Fattoria is family-owned and prides itself on using all-organic flours and handmade starter. Even the oven is unique, burning only eucalyptus wood to keep it at a steady 450 degrees 24 hours a day. The bread menu includes the usual sourdoughs and ciabattas, but it also has atypical offerings like semolina, polenta, and fig walnut loaves. You can get more than just bread at Della Fattoria — the Petaluma cafe is popular with brunch and lunch diners and serves sandwiches, salads, chili, and a range of desserts. Wine is on the menu too, so if winery-hopping isn't your thing, sit back and relax as you enjoy the best bread in Sonoma County with a glass of local wine.

Bread Alone

One of the reasons why Bread Alone has such an amazing menu is because — as the name implies — it doesn't do anything else (well, pastries, but those can at least be loosely grouped into the bread category). With multiple New York state locations, this bakery only works with organic flours sourced from local growers, and everything is made by hand. The team has ambitious ideals and according to the website, they don't just focus on baking delicious bread but also aim to "create prosperity for our people, and minimize further harm to the planet." 

That's a great place to start, but it means nothing if you don't also have an appetizing and eclectic menu. Sure most bakeries sell sourdough, but Bread Alone goes beyond with several different kinds including French, whole wheat, and San Francisco style. If you're craving something a bit different, they also offer a peasant boule, olive ciabatta, and a 12 grain and seed baguette. If you just need something for making above-average sandwiches (no bologna allowed), Bread Alone also has a selection of bagged, sliced bread and Nordic einkorn and rye. For anyone just stopping by on their way through town, it's going to be kind of hard to pick just one.

La Farm Bakery

California and New York are pretty obvious places to get artisan bread, but you can find excellent bakeries all over America as long as you know where to look. If you travel south of New York, for example, you'll eventually arrive in the town of Cary, North Carolina, famous for its shady streets and desirable quality of life. Despite the name, you won't find La Farm Bakery on the rural outskirts — its locations are all central and easily accessible.

Don't let the modest storefronts fool you though, La Farm Bakery sells only hand-crafted bread baked fresh daily in a European-style stone hearth oven. Bakers use a handmade starter and they show up every day at midnight so the bread will still be warm when customers arrive for breakfast. Among their offerings: Asiago Parmesan, melange boule (thyme, rosemary, and garlic), simple white pan bread, and a white chocolate mini baguette. According to Trial and Eater, La Farm makes more than 35 different kinds of bread that change seasonally. The tiny restaurant is usually overstuffed with diners, so if you're planning to stop by then make sure to give yourself plenty of time.

Berkshire Mountain Bakery

According to the Berkshire Eagle, the riverside village of Housatonic was once designated a "slum or blight" by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community, a label that certainly needs reassessing. Aside from having affordable housing, the town also boasts a number of highly-rated eateries and a bread lover's dream at the Berkshire Mountain Bakery.

If you want to stick with what you know, the bakery has basic baguettes, ciabattas, and a couple of different San Francisco style loaves. But it also makes some really unique recipes, like cherry pecan artisanal bread, cheese and herb or dark chocolate mini ciabattas, potato onion bread, and a customer favorite that goes by the name bread & chocolate.

Another fun offering at this bakery is the pizza crust. Not everyone knows how to make dough from scratch, but we can all figure out how to pile toppings on. If you're craving a homemade pizza, you can stop by this artisan bakery and buy a thin white, wheat, or spelt crust, throw whatever you want on top, and have pizza exactly how you like it right out of your own oven.

Acme Bread

Just outside of San Francisco you'll find the college town of Berkeley, which is mostly famous for being liberal and having a cool shopping district. More importantly, it also has a great bakery: Acme Bread. Just as you might expect from a Berkeley business, the company takes sustainability very seriously. In fact, Acme's website has a whole page devoted to its all-organic flour, which it sources from a historic flour mill somewhere in Utah. 

Just about everything this bakery uses is organic, from the pumpkin seeds to the raisins. And in case all of the organic ingredients just aren't quite sustainable enough, the bakery also generates its own electricity with photovoltaic panels and uses renewable diesel made from vegetable and animal fats. This place is in Berkeley alright.

Acme Bread was founded in 1983, baking only four different kinds of bread at the time. Today it sells more than 100 different products and has a second location in the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco. Among its offerings: challah, fougasse and herb, rustic style rye, pain au levain, and a pumpkin loaf.

Seven Stars Bakery

Back on the East Coast in the big city of Providence in the tiny state of Rhode Island, Seven Stars Bakery sells handcrafted sandwiches made with its own fresh-baked bread. The bakery takes pride in its stone milled, whole grain, locally sourced, organic flour and the fact that the Food Network named it one of the best bakeries in America in 2020. Seven Stars' sourdough starters are more than 20 years old (in bread, that's a good thing) and they have six different types of pre-ferments that give the bread its flavor and texture.

The bakery has a robust menu that includes standard baguettes, rustic country sourdough rounds, and French rye, but it also branches off into more unique offerings like Vermont cheddar sourdough, epi (fashioned to look like a stalk of wheat), and sesame spelt. You can pick up a whole loaf to enjoy at home or order a sandwich or salad. For a quick snack, grab a hot coffee and one of the tempting pastries such as a buttery flaky kouign amann or a muffin. 

Denver Bread Company

Just in case you were starting to think that good bread can only be found on one coast or the other, this bakery proves you can make a great artisan loaf even without the close proximity to an ocean. The Denver Bread Company in Colorado bakes loaves that are just as good as anything you can get in an east or west coast bakery. To be fair, its owner has roots in New York and was educated in San Francisco, so his bakery in Denver is basically the best of both worlds in the midsection of America. According to Denver Magazine, who recognized owner Greg Bortz as baker of the year in 2010, Bortz was riding his motorcycle cross-country when he ran out of gas in Boulder and decided to stay awhile.

Amidst the bakery's selection of bread, you can find batards, boules, Italian sfilatinos, and focaccias. The menu changes with the seasons, so you might find cherry walnut bread on one visit and Irish soda bread on the next. Unlike some of the bakeries you'll find in California, The Denver Bread Company doesn't spend a lot of time bragging about sustainability, but it is involved in some important community initiatives like a charity benefiting people with HIV/AIDS and cancer, and it has made a waste-free promise to deliver unsold goods to vulnerable people.

Ken's Artisan Bakery

Back to the west coast now, Ken's Artisan Bakery opened its doors in Portland in 2001 and has since been featured in big-name publications like Travel + Leisure and the LA Times, the latter despite it not even being located in LA. Ken's Artisan's menu includes a short list of options including country blonde, basic baguette, ciabatta, and walnut bread. The bakery also makes a variety of different croissants, with fillings like goat cheese and leeks, ham and cheese, and several fruit-based or chocolate varieties if you prefer something sweeter.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ken's is open for lunch so you can try the bread in sandwich form and then grab a hazelnut butter cookie for dessert. If you'd rather just pick something up while you're grocery shopping, you can also find Ken's bread for sale at a couple of local markets. And if you're more in the mood for pizza, Ken's also operates a Portland pizzeria with equally stellar reviews. If you want to learn how to make Ken's bread or pizza at home you can purchase one of two books authored by owner-baker Ken Forkish.

Tartine Bakery & Cafe

San Francisco invented bread. Well, not really, but you can get a San Francisco-style sourdough at just about any bakery in America, so it's hard to argue that the city by the bay hasn't had an outsized influence on the breadmaking industry. So really, if you love artisan bread and you're going to visit San Francisco, you have to visit one of Tartine Bakery's three locations. According to Bon Appétit, the bakery was founded by a New Yorker and a Texan duo who began their baking careers in France before moving to California to learn the ropes of Golden State-style breadmaking. Today, their bakery is so popular that you can expect to wait in line for at least an hour — and it's worth it.

Tartine's website offers detailed instructions on how to store a loaf of Tartine bread: in a breadbox, muslin bag, or unsealed paper bag inside an unsealed plastic bag. Stored any other way, the bread's crust loses its crunch and overall awesomeness. Besides its anticipated sourdough, Tartine's menu also includes an oat porridge loaf, Danish-style rye, buttermilk bread, and a broad selection of pastries.

Bien Cuit

The New York Times called breadmaker Zachary Golper's signature bread "bulbous and heat-bludgeoned," but who cares. There's no such thing as an artisan breadmaker who values visual perfection over flavor. In fact, the more rugged the boule, the more it reflects the long, breadmaking history that informs almost every one of the bakers on this list.

At Golper's Brooklyn bakery Bien Cuit, you'll find baguettes, demi baguettes, pain au lait buns, campagnes (traditional French sourdough), and rye ficelles, among others. Many of the breads are vegan and although some of the cookies and treats are marked gluten-free, the bakery hasn't stooped to making a gluten-free bread yet (maybe because there's not really any such thing as delicious gluten-free bread).

According to Bien Cuit's website, the bakery prides itself on small batch mixing, so bakers can give personal attention to every single loaf. It also uses a technique called slow fermentation, which means it takes between 16 and a whopping 68 hours to make a single loaf of bread. If you're wondering how Bien Cuit does this, well, you're in luck. Owner-baker Golper has also authored a book that lets you know exactly how to make Bien Cuit-style bread in your home kitchen.


One of the descriptors you hear a lot when people talk about good bread is that it's rustic. The word is typically used for loaves that are crusty and dark golden with an airy crumb. So calling a bakery Rustica is a little bit genius, since the name itself describes pretty much everything anyone is looking for in a delicious loaf of bread.

According to the local Minneapolis Star Tribune, Rustica first opened in 2004. Like so many of the other bakeries on this list, the secret to Rustica's success seems to be, at least in part, down to using locally sourced grains that are milled onsite. The baked goods are also sold at the nearby restaurant Kieran's Kitchen Northeast, and you can buy them at local co-ops and other markets, too.

Rustica also does breakfast pastries, desserts, and assorted treats, and its bread menu is comparatively small. You can get a basic baguette, multigrain loaf, levain, olive loaf, or a miche. You can also get challah bread (but only on Fridays), and (of course) a rustic loaf because if you couldn't, well, that would be silly.

Milo & Olive

In early 2020, Los Angeles Times wrote that Milo & Olive had "the best breakfast breads in Los Angeles," but this Santa Monica bakery does more than just breakfast. It's also a full-service restaurant serving a range of pasta, pizza, snacks, soup, and salad.

At the time of this writing, Milo & Olive only had two savory bread loaves on its menu: a country loaf and a ciabatta. These two breads are excellent, but most people come to Milo & Olive for the cinnamon sugar brioche, chocolate marble pistachio loaf, or lemon poppyseed bread — the kind of carby snacks you crave with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. So if you ever find yourself watching the sun come up in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, you can have something sweet for breakfast and grab a ciabatta to eat on the beach at lunchtime. The coffee onsite is excellent too, served with Clover organic milk or housemade coconut milk.

Zak the Baker

Zak the Baker is both the name of the baker and the name of his bakery, and what's more, The Kitchn writes that the owner-baker also holds the coveted title of "Miami's crowned king of bread." What more do we need to say, really? Zak Stern runs the rainbow-colored bakery with his wife Batsheva, and together they create loaves that are both delicious and beautiful to look at. The bakery started in Zak's garage and became a local phenomenon within five years, which is a pretty amazing feat for any business but especially a bakery, given that they compete with other bakeries, every grocery store in the county, not to mention grandma.

Zak's bread menu features seeded and plain versions of a standard baguette, six different kinds of sourdough (including Jewish rye and olive & za'atar), a few varieties of bagels, and two different kinds of sandwich bread. And Zak's also has a range of pastries, cookies, salads, and spreads, just in case you'd like to buy something to serve with your bread. There's coffee too, so maybe you should just plan to stay for a while.

Iggy's Bread of the World

The name of this place implies a lot of variety, and Iggy's Bread of the World does have a big menu with everything from brioche and focaccia to ancient grain and country style. The name is really more of a promise than a description, though. You won't find a map of different breads from around the world, instead, you'll find bread made "for all people," which is Iggy's pledge to its customers: Serving affordable basic bread such as country sourdough and whole wheat along with fancier types of bread that are still within a doable price range for most customers. Also, the bread is delicious, so why even bother with supermarket selections anymore.

According to Boston.com, Iggy's was focused mostly on wholesale until the COVID-19 pandemic eliminated most of these sales To make up for the lost revenue, Iggy's started delivering bread to locked-down families, and its retail business became a runaway success. Today, you can also buy Iggy's bread at the local farmers market, or you can get it on-site at Iggy's Fawcett Street location in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Red Hen Baking

Owner-baker Randall George founded Red Hen Baking Company after he moved to Middlesex, Vermont and realized that there weren't any local bakeries making bread the way he liked it. As it turns out, other residents liked his style of baking too, and Red Hen quickly became a popular place to buy freshly baked bread. Like so many other artisan bakeries, Red Hen's promise is to create delicious bread with minimal environmental impact and strong support for the growers and producers it sources its ingredients from.

Red Hen is also a cafe, so you can grab a cup of coffee while you're picking up your online order or stay for a breakfast sandwich or pastry. Red Hen's bread menu includes favorites like ciabatta and a classic French baguette, but you'll also find fun creations like a Cyrus Pringle (wheat), Kingdom Rye, and a Mad River Grain (whole wheat with mixed seeds). The pumpernickel is sprouted and is called a "sprouternickel" because, why not?

Red Hen likes to spin classic recipes with various seeds and grains and it also features a potato bread made with local Yukon Gold potatoes. If you're local, you might want to start at the top of the menu and work your way down, because it's all unique and it's all delicious.

Sullivan Street Bakery

Sullivan Street Bakery is a New York City favorite, but you can also find it down in Miami, in case you're not into the New York vibe. According to Miami Herald, the bakery is owned by James Beard Award winner Jim Lahey, who first opened the Soho location in 1994. In the Big Apple, you can also find Sullivan Street Bakeries in Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen, because what could be cooler than baking bread in Hell's Kitchen.

Sullivan Street's website is a little stingy with its menu — you can't order online or check out the offerings before you head over — but its wholesale products include some really unique breads like a disco Romana, a flatbread called pizza bianca, and some rustic-looking filones, ciabattas, and sourdoughs with fancy names like cruccolo and candela. And if you want to try your hand at making James Beard Award quality bread at home, there are also a few cookbooks: one featuring Sullivan Street recipes, one for pizza, and another one promising no-work, no-knead recipes. Sounds good to us.