Many of us eat it every day but like anything else in this life - if you’re going to have a piece of bread every day - why not make it a good one. Here, we seek out some bakeries we consider some of the best in town for their loaves, their pastries and cakes. Check out our doughy slide show here.
The Dench family maintain a steady stream of loyal customers here with a retail shop and cafe that serves sandwiches (try the bresaola, aioli and rocket on their rye bread), hot dishes and decent coffee. There’s cupcakes and other sweet treats available but it’s the sourdough breads the keeps them beating down the doors - the ‘house stone loaf’ is a perennial favourite.
109 Scotchmer Street, Fitzroy North
(03) 9486 3554
Yes, they’re based in Geelong but that never stopped a good loaf from infiltrating the city. Handmade loaves that have crunch, softness, character and La Madre all over them - every good sourdough bread has the characters of its baker - and owners Tez Kemp and Anna Spurling maintain a retail and wholesale bakery with sourdough (get your hands on a seeded sourdough loaf), ciabattas and sweets that you can find across Melbourne. The website is the best place to see where it is available.
We’re not sure how many fifth-generation French bakers are working in Melbourne but we only know of one and he’s making it hard for us to want to seek out anyone else. David Menard creates extraordinary loaves: again the sourdoughs reign supreme but there’s classic baguette and batard as well as pain au chocolat, macaron and croissant. The walnut bread is what turns our heads, smeared with a little Goat’s cheese, this kind of consistent standard keeps Port Melbourne and beyond (many restaurants use Menard’s bread) very happy indeed.
84 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
(03) 9646 9555
It’s small, unassuming and has been baking beautiful loaves since 1984. Natural Tucker is one of Melbourne’s oldest traditional sourdough bakeries and focus on yeast-free and organic sourdough breads. There’s foccaccias, muffins and brownies these days and a cafe as well (the coffee’s good) but, the blink and you’ll miss it shop front keeps the sourdough faith well.
This is a buzzy little place on the Brunswick end of Lygon Street and on weekends, buzzy translates to busy! Crusty loaves, sit beside Italian treats like jam crostata, torta di ricotta and cornetti (Italian croissants). Savoury tarts baked with good bacon or soft, earthy silverbeet are sliced and served on one of a handful of tiny tables here (if you’re lucky enough to get one) and the bombaloni...oh the vanilla bombaloni - don’t miss it with their a rich thick espresso.
3 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
(03) 9380 4060
It’s been touted as having the best almond croissants in town and if you were ever to question the decadence of a Croque Monsieur, try the one here using brioche. La Tropezienne has carved out its own niche in Hawthorn and while the breads are delicious, the sweets seem to take the attention of most - the macaron, beignets, cupcakes...they’re letting us eat cake.