I used to make bread-lots of it. I loved getting my frustrations out by kneading it. Loved the aroma in my home while it was baking. There was nothing better to serve with one of my homemade stews or soups for dinner. My family loved each loaf. They loved not only the savory ones, they enjoyed the sweet ones as well. Toasting a thick slice with some preserves for breakfast was to drool over on many a cold morning.
Then they grew up and out. To make a loaf of bread for just hubby and myself is rather ridiculous. I rarely eat a sandwich and prefer cereal for breakfast. Hubby is one of those people who won’t eat the bread unless it’s hot out of the oven. After that he considers it stale and won’t touch it.
Now when soup season arrives, I buy a loaf of artisan bread and use what we need and freeze the rest. Here are some of the best I’ve found in Orange County:
Believe it or not-Costco! Especially if our “kids” our joining us. Everyday a shipment of the most wonderful artisan breads from the La Brea Bakery are delivered. Our favorite-either the rosemary and olive oil or the kalamata olive. The only drawback, besides having to buy two large loaves, is that you have to be an expert at slicing!
Von’s or Pavilion’s also have wonderful artisan breads with many flavors and textures to chose from. What I particularly love about this new “bread bar” is that they will slice the loaves to your specifications! Thin, thick-doesn’t matter, they will and do accommodate. They also have an area to make your own nut butters. So you can really come up with quite the special old-fashioned PB & J (peanut butter and jelly)!
Panera’s is synonymous with gourmet breads. Tucked away near Mother’s Market in Costa Mesa this little place puts out terrific products. The aroma of wonderful baking is truly intoxicating. Worth the trip and the wait-which both times I went in was about 15 minutes.
Pacific Whey Baking Company in several locations throughout the county. Besides the wonderful breads, breakfasts here are terrific. Personally, my favorite is actually the chocolate pinwheel. Great bakery products no matter what you chose here. Trust me, when you see the display, you will NOT stop at a loaf of bread.
Now I personally didn’t enjoy Boudin Bakery all that much, but there are many who think this place has the best sourdough around. They boast using a 150 year old starter. Maybe I prefer the sourdough I tried at Vie en France better just because the staff treated me better. You decide.
If challah, Jewish rye and pumpernickel are more what you lean toward then go no further than either Solomon’s Bakery in Laguna Hills or Katella Bakery in Los Alamitos. Both are made on the premises and all types are very good.
Remember, bread is the sustenance of life-all of the above venues know this and make it worth taking home one of their loaves and taking a big bite.