A Baker's Guide to Houston

When I think about bread in south-central Texas, my first thought is the ubiquitous white stack that accompanies a brisket plate. But as Houston becomes a major contender in the national food scene, it makes sense that bread is emerging as more of an art form and less of an afterthought. We teamed up with Helen and Joe Thompson of Three Little Maids Baking to bring you Houston's top mouth-watering bread fare. Enjoy!

Common Bond - the name is ubiquitous when it comes to bakery or bread in Houston. There’s a lot of hype, sure, but it’s well-deserved. Their baked goods are varied and well-executed, but they make the list because of their bread. Hearty and flavorsome loaves prove (pun intended!) that bread is back in a big way.

 

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Kolache Shoppe - full disclaimer, we’re friends with the owners. But when we actually made our way to their humble store front for the first time, we doubled-down on our friendship. These kolaches are superb. During the American League Championship Series between the Astros and the Yankees, the mayors of each city wagered some of their finest representations of their city’s food heritage: New York, the bagel. Houston, kolaches from The Kolache Shoppe. The fillings are superb, especially when they partner with local butchers or producers for special offerings. The standout, however, is the dough. The pastry on these puppies is airy and pillowy and layered with flavors. Keep your eye out for their new shoppe in Montrose!

 

 

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Donuts - It’s a great time to love donuts, especially in Houston. You can take your pick from either Morningstar, whose donuts showcase a refined and expansive pallette to accompany a versatile breakfast menu, or track down Doughmaker, a food truck that goes off the deep end with their yeasted doughnut creations like orange blossom pistachio, or honey butter fried chicken.

 

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Jane & John Dough (Tomball) - full disclosure, Helen did some time in the kitchens at JJD. But I  didn’t, so I can talk about the star of this quaint and homey bakery and cafe: The John. The John is a breakfast sandwich that outshines all others. A thick sausage patty, cheese, a perfectly fried egg - yeah, sounds standard. But the pretzel bun is like a cheat code in a video game. They’re all the rage right now, but there’s this morning glory of light and music when someone actually knows what they’re doing with pretzel dough. This sandwich is the epitome of balance. It’s also pretty messy. You’ve been warned.

 

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Blacksmith Coffee

If you don’t want to wait in line for Morningstar’s donuts, you can head over to Blacksmith, where they serve them across the street from the esteemed Underbelly and our favorite, Half-Price Books. But the stand out here is their biscuits - they may be the best in town.

 

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Tiny Boxwoods - it hardly needs any introduction. It’s synonymous with Sunday brunch and it delivers in style and substance. It’s on the pricey side, for sure, but it also delivers. However, the best value is the daily pastry board.

 

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Cavo - there are a couple of these around the town. They make a fine cup of coffee, but the most impressive menu item (aside from their generous breakfast tacos) is their cinnamon sugar toast, hearty daggers of pan de mie served with an espresso cream. The keyword here is abundance. They’ve perfected the trendy toast menu to provide a substantial offering beyond your usual coffee shop fare.

 

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Levure Bakery - this humble storefront manages to do a lot, serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch menus until dinner. They lean French with a modern American touch. Their croissants are a highlight, perfectly and fastidiously made.

 

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Third Gen Coffee - this new addition just outside The Woodlands has become a strong player in the coffee shop scene. The family-owned business is committed to transparent and responsible practices for every aspect of their coffee production. One of the more unique offerings is the classic sausage roll, which is flaky and generously filled. Other baked goods, like their cookies and banana bread, match the care and quality of their fine espresso drinks.

 

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Thanks to Helen and Joe Thompson of Three Little Maids Baking! Follow along with their bread-baking adventures here.

                      

 

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