Sep 20, 2022 - Food and Drink

Our guide to the best bread in Chicago

Artisan bread loaves on a shelf
Fresh loaves at Hewn Bakery in Evanston. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

We've recently witnessed an explosion of artisan bakery openings that add to our not-too-shabby lineup.

  • Local bakeries crank out a lot of wonderful things, but for this week's Food Fight, we're focusing on the most basic — bread.

🍞 Justin's pick: Chicago's got a long bread history with Turano, Gonnella and D'Amato's, and I'm sure your emails will school me on more great places.

  • But for my tastes, I'll go trendy with Publican Quality Bread, made by James Beard Award-winning baker Greg Wade.
  • I went with the country sourdough loaf, made with Spence farm rye, warthog red wheat and a dark crust ($8.50).
  • The French baguette is also a favorite.
  • Wade opened PQB's first retail bakery this year in West Town, but you can also get his bread at PQM, Foxtrot and other boutique grocery stores.

🥖 Monica's pick: Like Justin, I also love PQB — and I'll be interviewing Wade soon for his new book, "Bread Head." But for the last few years, my bread bible has been "Heritage Baking" from Ellen King at Hewn Bakery in Evanston.

  • Like Wade, King makes her loaves with local, heritage grains and slowly ferments them to create delicious, crusty and healthful bundles of love.
  • This fall, Hewn is expected to open a location in Libertyville.
  • I love all their pastries and loaves, but my favorite is the country round ($6.95).

🍞 As usual, you filled our breadbox with lots of your own fresh suggestions:

Julia T.: "My favorite bread actually comes from Bungalow by Middle Brow. Every two weeks I get a fresh, creative new loaf of bread on my doorstep along with a fun four-pack or bottle of funky beer that I never would have tried on my own!"

  • "My last delivery came with a country round with sweet corn, polenta, and parmesan and some India pale ale with 'enigma and barbe rouge,' which we've been enjoying all week!"

Jim P.: "My favorite Chicago bread is a hyperlocal loaf from Oak Park. My neighbor Tim at Lyman Ave. Bread bakes up a country sourdough every Wednesday and delivers by bike in a 20 block radius. Other OPers pick it up from his porch."

Lucy G.: "The sliced black sesame loaf from Tous les Jours Chinatown location is always a treasure. Enjoy it toasted with a little butter and a cup of tea anytime of day."

  • "Or untoasted with a sun/nut butter spread brings out the spongy texture."

Barbara M.: "I have to vote for Katich Breads from Aurora. Their German seeded rye and roasted raisin walnut and English muffins are the best I’ve eaten."

Veronique T.: "Best baguette, hands down: Verzenay."

  • "La Boulangerie on Wilson (next to Lycée Français) is pretty good too."

Carl S.: "Flat and Point sourdough and bagels are an awesome find at farmers markets!"

Barbara G.: "I joined the sourdough club during COVID but refused to turn on the oven during the summer. If it’s not my own, it’s La Fournette. The miche is my lifeline but their baguettes and croissants are wonderful as well."

Bill H.: "The focaccia from Aya Pastry is crazy good!"

Kelly S.: "The Swedish Limpa bread from Lost Larson in Andersonville! So divine!"

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