March 22, 2006

European-Style Bread Shop Opens in Framingham

Master bread maker Michael Rhoads, formerly of Boston's Sel de la Terre, has opened B&R Artisan Bread on Rte. 30, at the site of the former Bread Basket kosher bakery (151 Cochituate Road).

This is welcome news indeed for those of us who envy some European lifestyle habits such as walking to the local patisserie for a loaf of fabulously baked fresh bread. (Ah, now if we could only get a few real European cafes ... and European-style walkable neighborhoods....) Artisan bread bears about as much resemblance to factory-packaged stuff you buy in the supermarket, as an Oreo does to a North End cannoli.

Profiled today in the Boston Globe Food section, B&R "offers classic French breads and croissants, plus a range of American-style confections, including scones and muffins, all baked on-site. (When the bakery first opened, Rhoads rewarded customers who managed to find the place with free cookies.) The centerpiece is, naturally, the bread. On recent mornings, the shelves were stocked with pain levain ($8), a large, crusty, naturally leavened bread; light caraway rye rounds ($2.75), a European version of the New York classic; and buttery brioche baked in rectangular pans to make Pullman loaves ($6.50)," according to the review, French Bread, Framingham Location.

I'm hoping he'll also consider offering challah at some point, since a lot of Bread Basket customers miss having a local, non-chain source for the traditional Jewish delicacy (which some say is not unlike brioche).

"Rhoads, who so far has about 10 employees, sells his bread to several stores and restaurants around Boston," the article notes. "He hopes that his spot becomes a place for suburban dwellers to shop at regularly -- just as Europeans do. ''You go and get your bread every day,' he says. ''You make it a stop along the way.' " announced: "Baker Michael Rhoads, whose breads have graced the tables at some of the best restaurants in town (think: L’Espalier, Sel de la Terre and, most recently, Via Matta), reintroduces his artisan breads to Boston (well, technically, Framingham) with his new bakery, B & R Artisan Bread." Hours are reportedly 7 am to 6 pm on weekdays, and Saturdays 9 am to 2 pm. Plans for sandwiches are in the works eventually.

Update: I finally got to the store a few days after the Globe piece. The baguettes are incredible. I'll be back.

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