Kneadful things: a guide to the best restaurant bread in town

Kneadful things: a guide to the best restaurant bread in town

With artisanal flours, custom-made ovens and full-time bakers, restaurants are turning the pre-dinner breadbasket into an indulgence in its own right

Parisian baguette An icewine-infused dough starter makes for tangy bread that’s full of holes. Biff’s Bistro, 4 Front St. E., 416-860-0086.

Fougasse J. P. Challet dresses up his Provence-style focaccia with savoury black olives. Ici Bistro, 538 Manning Ave., 416-536-0079.

French boule For years, Corinna Mozo tinkered with water, flour, yeast and salt to make her classic white bread perfectly moist and fluffy. Delux, 92 Ossington Ave., 416-537-0134.

Red Fife epi Ontario Red Fife wheat braids get a whiff of smoke from the restaurant’s maple-fuelled oven. Woodlot, 293 Palmerston Ave., 647-342-6307.

Rye with caraway Baker Nis’ku Closs arrives at 2 a.m. each day to get her dense, crusty ryes into the steam-injected oven. Splendido, 88 Harbord St., 416-929-7788.

Nodini Ridiculously addictive pizza dough knots are brushed with rosemary-infused olive oil and dotted with garlic. Ten balls $6. Buca, 604 King St. W., 416-865-1600.

Pretzel bread Cold fermenting and a pre-baking lye bath create an optimally crisp exterior and soft interior. Lucien, 36 Wellington St. E., 416-504-9990.

Pain au lait Enriched with milk, butter and eggs, pain au lait is the Veuve Clicquot of sandwich bread. Ici Bistro, 538 Manning Ave., 416-536-0079.

Focaccia Frank Parhizgar adorns his plump loaves with roasted garlic, cherry tomatoes and creamy burrata. Frank’s Kitchen, 588 College St., 416-516-5861.

Sweet potato buns Mashed yams and their roasted skins give these two-bite buns sweetness and smoky flavour. C5, 100 Queen’s Park, 416-586‑7928.

Brioche An obscene amount of butter goes into Lucien’s buns—they’re like Parker House rolls from heaven. Lucien, 36 Wellington St. E., 416-504-9990.

Rosemary batard Evan Desjardins named his sourdough starter Nancy, after his grandmother. It gives his crackling loaves a full-flavoured tang. Marben, 488 Wellington St. W., 416-979-1990.

(Image: Christopher Stevenson)