Austin’s bakery is on Food & Wine’s list of best breads in Texas

One of the biggest pandemic food trends has been the skyrocketing popularity of bread, and here comes the national food magazine Food & Wine exploit this trend with a new list of best-of.

Titled “The Best Bread in Every State,” the article is a list of bread makers in each of the 50 states, including Texas.

With Texas being so big, the blurb highlights bakeries in three cities:

Written by David Landsel, the magazine’s editor, the article refers to the “quiet revolution unfolding in American bread” spurred by the pandemic, with bakers cooped up at home leading to “an absolute explosion of ‘artisan bakery industry’.

Blurbs are written in a conversational style – heavy on chatter, light on statistics.

Here is the summary from Texas:

Bread in the Lone Star State has come a long way in a short time, which means 2018 already feels like an eternity. It was the year Ryan Goebel made the bold decision to open ThoroughBread in Austin. In his modest-looking store, tucked away out of sight in the Zilker neighborhood, Goebel produced some of the best natural sourdough bread in the state right from the start, when there was no not a ton of choice. These days, that’s still true, but there’s no denying that the drought is officially over. From the sprawling suburbs of North Texas, sourdough is a big deal right now. There are two standouts: beautiful loaves catch-them-if-you-can at online bakery Kuluntu Bakery in Dallas and Magnol French Baking in Houston, where chefs Otto Sanchez and Breton Matthieu Cabon have been stirring things up since 2019 .

There is no doubt that these three bread makers produce great bread. But the title “Best Bread in Texas” might be a little misleading, as the list bypasses some well-established names and instead leans towards new, hipster and indie entities. Maybe it should be recast as “Best New Post-Pandemic Breads”?

The list also seems to focus on bakers specializing in sourdough breads. So maybe “Best New Post-Pandemic Sourdough Breads” would be more accurate?

ThoroughBread in Austin matches the filter: Founded in 2019, it’s a small company that creates just five breads, dominated by sourdough: white sour, wheat sour, rye sour, white bread, and wheat bread. (Aside from the bread, the biz also bakes some really delicious, greasy cookies and its kolache-style “Burridoughs.”)

Kuluntu in Dallas makes incomparably amazing breads and baked goods, but it’s not something you can just walk down the street and buy. Founded in 2019, it’s a craft business that requires you to order by email and then pick it up from a home in Oak Cliff a few days later. The selection is limited and changes weekly, but follows the article’s sourdough-centric theme, offering two to three sourdough options, as well as seasonal items such as a fall croissant filled with Delicata squash, goat cheese and sage.

Magnolia in Houston was founded in 2019 by two veteran bakers, one of whom is originally from France, and has a large wholesale business that supplies bread to restaurants such as Bludorn and Coltivare. It’s bigger than the other two Texas bakeries that made this list, with a broader menu that focuses on French breads rather than sourdough. The place definitely has a hipster cred, with big queues on the weekends.

Landsel, the author, most likely sought advice from local “experts” since he could hardly have, for example, ordered bread from Kuluntu. Or did he go through Instagram photos? (Neither he nor the magazine’s PR team answered a question about their methodology.)

“Two years later, where are we? This list aims to answer that question, and one thing is clear: we have a lot more good bread left than when we started,” he concludes.

About James Almanza

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