By L.M. Archer, Foodable Contributor
Seattle’s culinary consumers constitute a savvy lot and local bakeries here rise to the challenge.
Find out how a baker’s half-dozen of the Emerald City’s doughboys and girls knead, roll, and glaze their way into the hearts, minds, souls - and stomachs - of Seattle’s most discerning, carb-conscious, and dietary-restricted customers.
Aura Bakery | Kirkland
Claudia Falcon, attendee of the prestigious Cordon Bleu, Peru, showcases her extensive culinary skills at family-owned Aura Bakery in Kirkland. A triumph just two years after opening their doors, Falcon and her family consider customer service key and make it a point of getting to know the regulars.
Falcon also insists upon using the highest quality ingredients and fashions her fare fresh each day, donating any leftovers to Hopelink.
Top customer requests include the almond croissant, the ham and cheese croissant, a toothsome triple chocolate cake, and scrumptious canelé - which sells out as soon as it leaves the oven.
Bakery Nouveau | West Seattle | Capitol Hill
Blink and you might just think you’re in Paris. A twenty-year veteran baker and winner of the prestigious 2005 Coupe du Monde de Boulangerie (World Cup of Baking), William Leaman boasts a cult following at his West Seattle and Capitol Hill bakeries.
William and wife Heather set the tone, creating a “refuge from demands of daily life,” where customers crowd the counters and cafe at breakfast, brunch, and beyond to linger over a latte and croissant, order up a Croque Monsieur, or delight over a delectable assortment of hand-crafted breads, chocolates and desserts.
Columbia City Bakery | Rainier Valley
Columbia City Bakery's breads grace the tables of some of Seattle’s most renown restaurants, including Bar Ferd’nand, Lark, Mistral, Serafina, and Viola! Bistrot.
Unmistakable in texture and flavor, Columbia City Bread mixes their trademark dough in small batches, incorporating natural starters, minimum commercial yeast, and maximum fermentation. The result - a tantalizing crescendo of crunchy crust and and pillowy center that overpowers palates before the first course ever arrives.
Columbia City Bakery also proffers pastries like tasty Bostok (flavored with orange flower water and honey), cakes, sandwiches, savories, and pantry items like Herkimer Coffees, Rockridge Orchards Wildflower Honey, and Pipitone Farms “Yum” Preserves.
Sweet Cakes | Kirkland
Owner Susanna Parks cooked up Sweet Cakes as an alternative source of sumptuous, one-of-a-kind baked goods for the dietary-restricted and health conscious.
Sweet Cakes tickles taste-buds with flavorful, gluten-free treats artfully assembled daily, most made from rice, potato starch and tapioca flours.
Specialties include colorful cake pops and mini and regular cupcakes in popular ‘flavors of the month’ like Snickerdoodle, Triple Chocolate, and Salted Caramel, as well as elegant special occasion and wedding cakes.
Flying Apron Bakery | Fremont | Redmond
Touted as Seattle’s top gluten-free certified and vegan bakery, Flying Apron features breads, sweet and savory baked goods, breakfast items, salads, soups, and beverages that also cater to the wheat, sugar, and dairy intolerant, and those with egg allergies.
Part of the secret to Flying Apron’s success stems from the owners themselves. All three possess a keen, personal understanding of their customers’ needs. Jeff Silva suffers from Crohn’s Disease, Ethan Hernandez’s daughter struggles with severe dietary restrictions, and Erik Chelstad values sustainable food production.
Flying Apron oversees two bakeries, one in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood and another in Redmond, and supplies many top Seattle and Eastside coffee shops as well.
Macrina Bakery | Belltown | Queen Anne | SoDo
Named for a 4th century Greek mystic who espoused communal living, Macrina Bakery draws from the Old World traditions of village bakery as center of the community, and bread baker as artisan.
California Culinary Academy-trained owner Leslie Mackie founded Macrina Bakery in 1993 with the belief that baking bread is a spiritual experience, and each loaf should reflect the baker’s heart and soul.
Breads and baked goods employ a lengthy fermentation method and use available regional ingredients like Northwest hazelnuts, cranberries, apples, potatoes, and grains like barley, rye, buckwheat, and wheat.
Macrina operates three busy bakeries, in addition to provisioning many Seattle high-end grocers and restaurants.