Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Bread in Chicago

Because it is pretty close to us, my wife and I shop fairly often at the Caputo's in Elmwood Park. One of the most interesting and vexing things about Caputo's is their selection of breads. On any given day, one can find at least ten versions of Italian style breads baked in Chicago. In order to help me know which ones to regularly buy, I decided to have a bread tasting. This morphed into a Chowhound bread tasting party. The bread tasting party turned out to be one fine time but a lousy attempt to scientifically taste. Mostly, we had too many breads, too many other things to eat, and too much damn conviviality to pay long attention to the ins and outs of each loaf. So, I remain interested in figuring out the best bread in Chicago.

One leading contender would be Red Hen Bakery, one of the first places to bring a semblance of artisanal breads to Chicago. In the past, I have liked their breads. They make the ideal Thanksgiving bread, a sweet potato pecan crusty loaf. Still, I was there just the other day. I purchased the oddly (and dumbly named) "Italian Country Boule". It was not as good as stuff found these days at supermarkets with an especially weak crust. It paled compared to the bread at Fox and Obel. Their large round country bread HAS to be the best bread in Chicago. It features a bullet proof crust that protects an inside surprisingly moist that it almost tastes like cake. As Wiv would say, you weep from eating it.

Anyway, I'm gonna try to blog as much as I can on bread in Chicago. Here's a source of inspiration. Please give me suggestions and other input in the Comments. If you need a list of places to try, start here.

No comments: