Best Houston Bakeries For Freshly Baked Bread
There’s an incomparable smell, texture and taste to freshly baked bread, but most of us don’t have the time to make professional-quality bread at home. Here are a few places around Houston for picking up top-notch baked goods.
Note: As of the publication date, these bakeries report being open and fully stocked following Hurricane Harvey. Exceptions are noted in the text.
Angela’s Oven, 204 Aurora: This family-owned and operated bakery has a storefront in the Houston Heights and also sells artisan bread at farmers’ markets around town all week. The handcrafted breads are made with unbleached and unbromated flour, in a range of vegan-friendly styles like sourdough and baguettes. The brioche is a crowd favorite and makes an excellent weekend breakfast addition.
Artisana Bread, 965 Pinemont: In this small batch, artisan bakery started by former accountant Rosemarie Abbouchi, everything is made by hand. Bread purists will be happy to know there are no artificial ingredients, margarine, dough conditioners or preservatives in the loaves at Artisana. Though wholesale makes up a good portion of business, customers can still buy loaves ranging from Scottish oatmeal and whole wheat to pain de mie at the bakery during retail hours. You can also find Rosemarie and her breads (like her popular sourdough with flax and sunflower seeds) at the Urban Harvest Eastside Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.
Central Market, 3815 Westheimer: When it comes to European-style baked breads, it’s hard to beat the variety offered at the city’s flagship Central Market store. Daily fresh-baked breads are made on-premises from scratch, and range from sandwich-sized pretzel rolls to hearty French boules. The veritable smorgasbord of bread styles and proximity to practically any accompaniment make this an excellent stop for last-minute dinner additions or appetizers.
Common Bond, 1706 Westheimer: It’s difficult not to be distracted by the pastries and showstopping desserts, but the freshly made bread loaves are worth a trip to this Montrose neighborhood bakery. Weekday mornings are the perfect time to pick up a sunflower rye, challah or country loaf to bring home for a night in—and you can always take a kouign-amann to go.
El Bolillo, multiple locations: El Bolillo may be best known for its tres leches cake, but the name says it all: customers can always find freshly baked bolillos—a Mexican variation of the French baguette—inside this Houston mainstay. Made with a crunchy crust and soft interior, it’s the perfect bread for tortas and molletes. Smaller and larger versions, in addition to other savory breads, are always available at the three outposts around town.
Foody’s Gourmet, 1400 Eldridge Parkway: When it comes to French bread, it’s hard to argue with restaurateurs that hail from the south of France. That’s the reason why the traditional French styles work so well at Foody’s Gourmet, where the owners take pride in their daily-made artisan breads like baguettes, brioche, and pain de mie, made in the style of their homeland. With a rustic look and perfectly crispy crusts, the loaves make a perfect accompaniment to dinner—or all by themselves with a bit of butter.
French Gourmet Bakery, 2250 Westheimer: Specializing in self-described “crusty French breads,” the no-frills bakery keeps it simple when it comes to its daily offerings. Customers can expect to find four to five styles available, made in the traditional French style. Using wheat flour and baker’s yeast, the dough is prepared so that it rises twice before each loaf is steam baked.
Stone Mill, multiple locations: It’s easy to know where your flour comes from when you make it right in your bakery. As the name might suggest, Stone Mill grinds their own wheat, rye and corn into flour before turning it into bread. With an eye towards high protein and low moisture levels, which affect texture, the company uses Montana wheat to create a variety of bread styles that appeal to European tastes (hearty sourdough) and Texan sensibilities (the Texas Herb is an onion, dill, and rye flour bread with garlic, topped with poppy seeds and sesame seeds).
Note: As a result of Hurricane Harvey, the main location of the bakery, located at 4036 South Braeswood, suffered an estimated $1 million in damage and hopes to reopen as soon as possible. The Memorial and Washington locations are open with limited menus.
Three Brothers, multiple locations: This historic city institution originated with three Polish brothers and Holocaust survivors, who opened the doors to their bakery in Houston in 1949. Since then, the bakery has grown to several locations, but the formula for many of its breads has not—the original Eastern European formula is still used for the bakery’s rye bread, challah, Kaiser rolls and biales, among others. Since the bakery’s opening, the family-owned business has only restarted its sour—used in the ryes and French breads—three times: following damage from Hurricane Ike, Tropical Storm Allison, and Hurricane Harvey.
Weights + Measures, 2808 Caroline: The Bakeshop at Weights and Measures makes a perfect excuse to indulge in breakfast as you peruse the bakery’s daily bread offerings. Though reliable European-style classics like sourdough and baguettes are available, options like Black Pepper Parmesan or Blue Cheese and Fig loaves offer alternatives for customers looking to spice things up a bit.
Whole Foods, multiple locations: When searching for the location of refrigerated miso or the perfect amount of large brussels sprouts to make dinner, it doesn’t always occur to the Whole Foods shopper that freshly baked bread, made in-house, is probably a good addition to the grocery list. But the grocery chain makes it easy to try new styles with helpful descriptions, and promises unbleached, unbromated flour and eggs from cage-free hens in every loaf. Gluten-free options are also available.