Our 10 Best Loaves of Bread in NYC

The rustic loaves at Balthazar are cradled in a birch branch.

As Pablo Neruda says, "The best poet is the man who delivers our daily bread: the local baker." And indeed he was right. Little gives as much pleasure as a freshly baked loaf, and here are the 10 that please us most. Note these are all breads from European traditions. There are plenty of other types of bread to be found in the world, from the toki of Uzbekistan to the bao of Beijing; these will be covered in a future list.

10. Baguettine at Amy's Bread - Increasing the crust-to-crumb ratio for a baguette by making it smaller is a stroke of genius. Grab yourself a scatter of these tiny breads, thickly smear them with butter -- also provided in little packets at Amy's, along with plastic knives and recyclable paper trays -- and you can have yourself a bread orgy in the halls of Chelsea Market. 75 Ninth Avenue, Chelsea Market, 212-462-4338

9. Beer Bread from Orwasher's - Yes it tastes very faintly of beer, but that's good, isn't it? Especially if you spread it with, say, limburger. The loaf is from a venerable baker of rye bread for delis, and this semi-experimental product stays well within the confines of sandwich bread, which is good, because there may be too many loaves in this collection that resist sandwiching for one reason or another. 308 East 78th Street, 212-288-6569

8. Organic Sourdough Levain from Bread Alone - Compared with other traditional French sourdoughs, this one is mild, more like San Francisco sourdough. It's also fine grained, and goes just as well in a bread salad as with cheese or charcuterie. Though made in the Catskills not far from Woodstock in Boiceville, NY, it's distributed so widely in area farmers' markets, you should have no trouble getting your hands on a loaf. 3962 Route 28, Boiceville, NY, 845-657-3328

Bread Alone bread is baked in the Catskills just north of the Ashokan Reservoir in Boiceville, NY.

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