Washington’s (Unofficial) Bread Trail

Photo Courtesy of the Walla Walla Bread Company
Washington is at the Epicenter of a national craftgrains movement. Farmers are learning that grains, like wine, have distinctive terroir. Researchers at Washington State University’s Bread Lab are developing new types of wheat and barley from forgotten heritage varieties that pack more nutrition than the conventional flour you find on store shelves. And bakers are discovering new depths of flavor.
That’s good news for foodie travelers. All the bakers on the bread trail use locally grown grains processed in small mills, often stone-ground to retain more nutrients and flavor, and always fresh.
Grand Central Bakery (grandcentralbakery.com), a pioneer in the bread revolution since 1972, is committed to working with regional farmers and small mills while creating delicious breads and pastries. The breadzel is a perfect example of the creative collaboration that goes into their bakes—working in the Bread Lab’s test kitchen, they created a hearty cheesy pretzel made from Skagit Valley-grown heritage wheat developed by WSU and filled with local Beecher’s Cheese.
The elegant pastries (think twice-baked horchata croissants) of Damsel & Hopper Bakeshop (damselandhopper.com) experiment with ancient and heritage grains like einkorn and Sonora wheat, which they get custom stone-milled through Burlington’s Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill. When you visit the little Wallingford shop, go with the daily special and take home some handmade graham crackers.
At The London Plane Bakery (thelondonplaneseattle.com/bakery), located inside The London Plane, sharing space with a flower shop and specialty grocer, you can take a class on floral arranging and dig into a cardamom snickerdoodle or a buttery kouign amann. The space is also home to Plane Bread, where baker Michael Sanders obsessively perfects a single loaf—his country style sourdough.
Western Washington
Barn Owl Bakery (barnowlbakery.com) has created their own micro-grain economy on Lopez Island, working in partnership with locals like Horsedrawn Farm and Island Grist to use all Lopez-grown and -processed flour from heritage grains. Their naturally leavened whole grain organic bread is baked in a wood-fired oven in a 200-square-foot solar-powered bakery on Midnight’s Farm, where if you happen to pass by on a Wednesday, you can grab a loaf still warm from the oven.
Breadfarm (breadfarm.com), tucked into the farmlands of Skagit Valley in the charming village of Edison, has their own on-site flour mill to take advantage of the amazing grains grown all around them for their rustic breads, cookies, crackers and pastries. Try the chocolatey babka or anything made with local berries and veggies, then take some chocolate ginger spice cookies to go.
8 Arms Community Bakery (8armsbakery.com), in Tumwater’s trendy Warehouse District, partners with neighboring Triceratops Brewing Company, for tasty spent grain breads and pretzels and stout brownies. Along with a variety of unique sweet bars, they also bake hearty meat pies to stock in your freezer.
With four cafés around Seattle, a visit to any Macrina Bakery (macrinabakery.com) location is reminiscent of a visit to an old-world village bakery. Taste their many rustic loaves or a cornetti, an Italian-style croissant, at their newest location in Kent.
Eastern Washington
Spokane’s artful Culture Breads, part of The Grain Shed (thegrainshed.coop)—a baker-brewer-maltster-farmer-owned operation, is powered by bread guru Shaun Thompson Duffy. With an impressive culinary background, Duffy takes his bread seriously. Try a loaf of vollkornbrot, a German-style rye, or a spelt honey cake, then try the same grains in a pint from The Grain Shed’s brewery.
In the heart of wine (and wheat) country, Walla Walla Bread Company (w2breadco.com) partners ultra-locally with wheat from the valley’s own Smalls Family Farm for their pastries. From their hearty whole-wheat bagels to homemade Oreos, you can’t go wrong.
Richland’s Ethos Bakery & Café (ethosbakery.net) is headed by engineer-turned baker Angela Kora, who took a passion for whole-grain baking to the next level. Sourcing flour from the ancient, pre-hybridized grains grown on Colfax’s Palouse Heritage Farm, she experiments with them in her breads and brick-oven pizza.