While checking out the hot cross buns at The Bread Garden, the seeded potato-onion baguette caught my attention. Roberto likes seeded baguettes.
One bite and I became 17 years old again, because that was the last time I had one of the onion poppy seed rolls at Stanleys Bakery in my home town so long ago I forgot they even existed.
The baguette tastes like an excellent Kaiser roll with onions baked into the dough and those great poppy seeds on top. The onion-y aroma is wonderful. They are only baked on Sunday.
Heres what The Bread Garden site (link below) has to say about the bread;
Sunday: Potato-Onion Bread & Baguettes--we began making this bread in 1974 as German Potato Bread. The original recipe was given to us by a Jewish baker who said it was the Sabbath bread of the Jewish neighborhoods of his pre-World War II German home. Sometime in the 1980's we began to add onions which had been browned in butter and this has been a Sunday favorite since then.
This bread was so good to me that I actually involuntarily teared up. Part of it forgotten memories of stopping off at Stanleys on Sunday with the family after mass.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a bread slicer. Yes, hallelujah, this is the only artisan bakery in the Bay Area that will SLICE YOUR BREAD !!!
So I bought a three seed rye sliced.
While it isnt Stanleys rye (rye seeds only), it is a nice bread. It is a chewy rye. Dont know what all the seeds are, but the outside has a lot of toasted sesame seeds.
One of the other standouts is the garlic cheese roll. It is a real close contender for best cheese roll with the Cheeseboards version. It definitely outclasses the awful version that Acme sells in Berkeley.
While the cheese is better at Cheeseboard, the roll is better at The Bread Garden. The wonderful garlic puts it over the top. The problem with the Cheeseboard is that the texture is too chewy when it is cold. It almost wrenches your teeth out. So I always microwave it to soften it a bit.
The Bread Garden uses more of a Challah dough. Anyway it is a lovely thing.
They make a nice foccacia too, soft and yeasty with a thin spread of tomato sauce and cheese. The crust is brushed with olive oil, giving the crust a nice little crunch.
It is too bad that the site only lists the daily specials. The Bread Garden seems to do some Eastern European breads. There was a small loaf of Danish Pumpernickel (100% rye) that is the only fresh-looking version of this bread that Ive seen in the Bay Area.
The other breads that are baked daily: 100% whole wheat, raisin-pumpernickel, sourdough malted barley, sweet & sourdough French breads in various shapes and sizes, sourdough white rye, cinnamon-swirl, 19th century baguette.
The turnovers and fruit pockets looked excellent and their menu says that they make their own fruit fillings, from scratch, which are 2/3 fruit.
There are four types of brioche: Petite brioche, morning brioche (pan au raisin), apple brioche and cherry-almond brioche.
In addition they have muffins, scones, croissants, bear claws and other Danish pastries. Some of the more interesting sounding pastries: German cheese pockets, Parisian apple tarts, butterhorns, spinach-feta pockets and whole wheat Danish (healthy Danish, perhaps?).
They have a few desserts like Linzer torte and their own house-made peanut butter cups.
There are about 18 cookies baked every day. They even bake dog cookies which they note can be eaten by dogs and teething infants.
The cookies tried were fine. They have two types of macaroons French almond (very sweet with a crispy exterior) and coconut macaroons (not as sweet, soft little coconut balls) The chocolate nuggets which they say are intense chocolate, didnt seem that way too me. They were nice in that they were not too sweet and tasted of cocoa. The blueberry and cranberry cookies were tiny ice box type of cookies with dried fruit.
Other cookies to sample on future visits are snickerdoodles, shortbread (the menu says as good as the best in Scotland), Mexican wedding cakes, Financiers, pumpkin chocolate chip, pistachio biscotti, and ginger cookies.
There are more cookies and desserts that are common like brownies and chocolate chip cookies. There is a white board with specials too.
Oh yeah, they have puff pastries: Almondettes, crispies & Palmiers.
I have to say that I really liked the coffee too. Dont know the brand.
I liked The Bread Garden. They only sell at the bakery and at Berkeley Bowl. Until a week ago, I was confusing them with The Bread Workshop. The Bread Workshop has, for the most part, cupcake excepted, under-whelmed me.
Im so glad my hot cross bun search lead me to this great bakery. If they make nothing but that Potato-onion bread, Ill be happy. It firmed up my Easter plans. Definitely getting the kielbasa and ham from Polish Deli in Palo Alto. That onion-potato bread with a little Sauls beet horseradish will make some stellar sandwiches.
The Bread Garden Bakery seems mid-way between the old-fashioned European bakeries like Schuberts / Neldhams and the upscale seriously artisan bakeries like Acme. To me, that is a good thing. Much better quality than the European bakeries and less, oh, I dont know, upscale-edness. Just good bread and baked goods.
P.S. Lots of people on bikes in this area on Sundays (Next to Rick & Anns). Be careful. I almost sent someone to heaven. One of the few times I deserved to be yelled at by a biker.
The Bread Garden Bakery
2912 Domingo Ave.(at the foot of the Claremont Hotel)
Berkeley, California 94705.
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday
7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.