By Nancy Ransohoff
How much do we love bread? Let me count the ways…as ripped-off crusty hunks to dip in silky local olive oil, or toasted and spread with chunky sweet jam, or piled high with savory meats and cheeses for a hit-the-spot sandwich. Here are some bakeries where you can pick up just-baked luscious loaves that are, well, the best thing since sliced bread.
Our Daily Bread (831 Santa Barbara St., 805/966-3894) lives up to its name, baking seven days a week since 1981. And they’ve used organic whole wheat flour from day one. Now there’s a gluten-free loaf, too. Locals love the ciabatta, challah, olive bread and baguettes, which the bakery also sells to area restaurants and markets. ODB is poised to fire up its ovens at its new spacious location (2700 De la Vina St.) without skipping a beat. D’Angelo Bread (25 W. Gutierrez St., 805/962-5466) is known for its rustic loaves of earthy deliciousness. Third-generation baker Dietmar
Eilbacher, born and raised in Germany, uses natural leavens, which take more time to rise, but result in a richer flavor. Try the sourdough wheat or any of the dark German ryes.
Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery (1529 Mission Dr., Solvang, 805/688-6314) is owned by fourth-generation Danish baker Bent Olsen and his wife, Susie. Cases of buttery pastries beckon, but breads are top-notch, too. (The heavenly aromas are free.) Stock up on pumpernickel, shepherd, dark Scandinavian limpa and onion-cheese breads and leave a trail of crumbs as you stroll through the charming geranium-draped “Little Denmark.” Xanadu French Bakery (1028 Coast Village Rd., Montecito, 805/969-3550) in Montecito Country Mart rises to any occasion with delicieux French baguettes, mini-rolls, dark and light whole wheat bread and challah on Fridays. Two bakers and two pastry chefs happily accommodate special orders and create festive, flavorful holiday breads.
At The Baker’s Table (3563 Numancia St., Santa Ynez, 805/448-0833), a fresh new bakery sandwiched between wine tasting rooms in Santa Ynez, the focus is on handmade artisan boules—think naturally leavened rustic loaves like olive, walnut, sourdough, baguettes and changing daily specials. Says owner Amy Dixon, “I’m a dough person.” So also look for mouthwatering cookies, croissants, brioches…oh yes, and breakfast and lunch.