A Tale of Two Bakeries
|May 4, 2010||Posted by Lindsay under Baking, Reviews and Restaurants|
Once upon a time, there was a little stretch of street with no good bakeries to speak of.
Sure, we have Nature’s Bakery, home of granola and little quick breads. We have the Willy Street Co-Op, which stocks Madison Sourdough and Clausen’s and La Brea (but who doesn’t?). I can get a baguette if absolutely necessary. But we didn’t have our very own, walk-to-it-on-a-Saturday-morning bakery. And what’s the point of living in a city, a real city, if you don’t have one of those?
As if in answer to my prayers, Batch Bakehouse (1511 Williamson) moved in a few months ago, taking the place of a pizza shop that was never open. (Seriously, never.) Maggie, behind the counter, was immediately helpful, talking me through the mini lemon pound cakes, sweet and savory croissants and scones (mmm, bacon cheddar).
I settled on a Monkey Bread — croissant dough seasoned with cinnamon and sugar and then glazed — a small loaf of day-old challah and a decadent, melty chocolate chip cookie for P. The Monkey Bread was amazing — fluffy and just sweet enough, kinda like French toast but lighter, and in muffinish form. It alone could make Batch a weekly destination for me (diet be damned), but I think next time I’m picking up some epi (those long branch-like baguettes that look like leaves) and a croissant. Or maybe a savory scone. Or maybe fougasse with sundried tomato and roasted garlic …
The next day I headed two blocks in the opposite direction to the new location of Madison Sourdough (916 Williamson). While I’m sad to see Escape Java Joint go — some posters have called it “Madison’s living room,” and I spent many hours thesis-writing there — Madison Sourdough is like a gift to the senses. Sunny and open, it makes Escape seem incredibly dark by comparison. And the bread!
Madison Sourdough provides loaves to lots of restaurants locally, including Sardine, Marigold, Green Owl and Barriques, where Em and I work(ed). They have all the standards: loaves of white, whole wheat, country and caraway rye. They have the best-ever brioche buns. And on Sunday, I discovered their fantastic sesame buckwheat, a hearty, dark loaf that demands the very best sandwich fixins. Bring out the 10 year cheddar! This bread is worthy.