It's exciting to arrive at a bakery for a photo shoot before dawn. The lights are on, music is playing and the bakers are mixing doughs and kneading on open butcher block tables covered in flour. This work is for strong hands and committed artisans. Each loaf or pastry has its own sensitivity, requiring serious vigilance from beginning to end. Here we feature bakers we recommend for their expertise, creativity and consistently great breads and pastries.
BERKSHIRE MOUNTAIN BAKERY (Link here for interview & photos with Richard Bourdon.)
Richard Bourdon is a seasoned master, baking bread in his gorgeous bakery for decades. In 2010 he was recognized by Bon Appetit magazine as one of the top 10 best bread bakeries in America. You can always find him at the local farmers markets, and his bread is sold locally at Guido's and Co-Op in Great Barrington. Our favorites are the Sunny Flax Artisanal Bread, Jalapeno & Cheese Mini Ciabattas, Bread and Chocolate (an overall customer favorite), the San Francisco Pan Loaf Bread and the Ciabatta Artisanal Bread, which is the best Ciabatta ever ... anywhere. Visit the bakery itself, where Richard sells his breads, soups and pizzas to bring home. 367 Park Street, Housatonic, MA/ (413) 274-3412/ berkshiremountainbakery.com
HAVEN CAFE & BAKERY (Link here for story and photos.)
You're probably not aware of it, but underneath the restaurant at Haven in Great Barrington is a large bakery where bread and bagels, cakes and tarts are kneaded and shaped from early morning throughout the day. Haven has two restaurants, situated in the heart of Lenox and on Stockbridge Road in Great Barrington, serving breakfast and lunch - great egg dishes and large, healthy salads. There's much that's unique about this place - put your order in at the counter up front, then take a seat and a server brings your meal to the table. Our favorites are the scones, the cakes, lemon bars and, in fact, all bars with chocolate and nuts. 8 Franklin Street, Lenox, MA/ (413) 637-8948; 325 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA/ (413) 528-5433kitchens havencafebakery.com
OUR DAILY BREAD (Link here for story & photos.)
Zvi Cohen is the owner of Our Daily Bread, and he runs the bakery with his sons Yoni and Gavriel. There's a real pride of place here - you feel welcome and at home. The bakery produces an extensive variety of great breads including baguettes, beautiful artisanal loaves and big bagels. The Cohens were so popular, they renovated a larger space down the street from their original Main Street location, and that's where Our Daily Bread is now. They turned the original store into The Gluten Free Bakery, keeping the huge Italian oven that's cemented to the floor, and the small dining area in the front. The Cohens deliver gluten-free across Hudson Valley and the Berkshires. Our Daily Bread, 116 Hudson Avenue, Chatham, NY/ (518) 392-2233/ The Gluten Free Bakery, 54 Main Street, Chatham, NY/ 518) 392-9852/ odbefree.com