The bread scene in Los Angeles, unlike in the bakery towns of San Francisco and Paris, tends to be inconstant, to go in waves — or rises, if you will. If the first rise was centered in Culver City’s Helms Bakery, whose bread trucks ran from 1931 to the late ’60s, then the second was Nancy Silverton’s La Brea Bakery, which opened in 1989 next to the late restaurant Campanile and which Silverton sold in 2001.
The current rise is more of a patchwork of decidedly smaller bakeries and restaurants, many of which have lately been experimenting with locally grown and milled grain, even milling their own flour on site. And another big rise may be on the horizon, with baker Chad Robertson’s hugely ambitious new Tartine Manufactory set to open downtown sometime later this year. While those engines and deck ovens fire up, here’s a list of L.A. bakeries for when the need for a crisp baguette, a whole grain boule, a flaky croissant or a French canelé or Jerusalem bagel hits.Venice to Culver City
Breads: Baguettes (which are terrific), polenta sourdough, country white, banana bread.
Pastries: Kouign-amann, beignets, bagels, doughnuts, cookies, croissants, pain au chocolate.
Coffee: Espresso and tea drinks, including yerba mate, matcha and kombucha. Both the coffee and the espresso machine are from Verve.
Where: 220 Rose Ave., Venice, (310) 399-0711, rosecafevenice.comSuperba Food + Bread
Open since 2014 on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice in a 5,000-square-foot space that was once an auto body shop, Superba is brought to us by Paul Hibler, the guy behind Pitfire Pizza. Superba is a mash-up of a restaurant, bakery and coffee shop arranged around a big, glassed-in production kitchen and stations for both pastries and coffee. So you can see the loaves of bread coming out of the massive Bassanina oven, the speed racks loaded with baked goods and desserts — and a giant Fleetwood Mac mural.
Breads: Baguettes, country sourdough, wheat, rye, sprouted wheat.
Pastries: Croissants of various types (Nutella-pretzel, guava-cream cheese, chocolate brownie, even a Reuben croissant), kouign-amann, bombolini, chocolate cakes, house versions of Pop Tarts and Oreo cookies, slab pies, cookies.
Coffee: Superba’s own house coffee, on a La Marzocco espresso machine.
Where: 1900 S. Lincoln Blvd., Venice, (310) 907-5075, www.superbafoodandbread.comSanta Monica to Beverly Hills
Breads: Baguettes, ciabatta, whole grain and olive boules, also other seasonal loaves.
Pastries: Croissants, whole wheat croissants, pain au chocolat, almond croissants, muffins, cookies, Danishes, scones and brownies.
Coffee: Equator coffee, on a La Marzocco machine.
Where: 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, (310) 806-6464, www.tavernla.comMilo & Olive
All the bread baking for the restaurants from the husband-and-wife team of Josh Loeb and baker Zoe Nathan (including Rustic Canyon and Huckleberry) is done at Milo & Olive, a homey, pizza-driven restaurant. So you can see the ovens in the open kitchen, the fires of the pizza oven — the breads on the shelves and the pastries in the case when you first walk in. This is terrific stuff: perfectly formed baguettes, gorgeous little cakes and pastries and wonderful whole grain sourdough loaves. Nathan, an alum of Tartine in San Francisco, also has a baking book, “Huckleberry,” named after her Santa Monica bakery, so if you can’t get over to Milo & Olive, you could always try baking something yourself.
Breads: Baguettes, country boules, multigrain boules, brioche, ciabatta, sunflower and rye loaves. Also: bagels!
Pastries: Croissants, chocolate croissants, ham and cheese croissants, sticky buns, cookies, crostatas, quiche and pretty amazing foot-long cheese sticks.
Coffee: Caffe Luxxe, the L.A.-based small batch roaster, on a 2-pull La Marzocco.
Where: 2723 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 453-6776, www.miloandolive.comRoan Mills
Roan Mills is the bakery operation that Andrea Crawford and her husband, Robert Dedlow, started in 2013 after they started growing heirloom grains as a side project of their larger business, Kenter Canyon Farms. Over the years they’ve expanded their grain production, milling their own flour and growing their whole grain sourdough operation, working on a retail bakery that they hope to open in Fillmore in the fall of this year. In addition to excellent baguettes, boules of various sizes (including some the size of hubcaps), they also make their own pastas with their flour, which they sell, along with bags of flour and of wheatberries at L.A. farmers markets.
Breads: Baguettes, rye bread, focaccia, Red Fife sandwich loaf, Glenn country batard, Sonora country boule and enormous 3-kilo boules.
Coffee: Nope, though Demitasse is not too far away on 3rd Street.
Where: Wednesday Santa Monica farmers market, Arizona Avenue and 2nd Street, Santa Monica, as well as the Sunday Hollywood and Atwater Village farmers markets, roanmills.comThe Valley, Burbank and Glendale
Also in the Valley: Joan’s on ThirdPasadena