Eat Local: Bread

Blackbird Baking Co.

Who They Are: Tom and Adria Clark started their family in Portland, Ore., but moved to Lakewood, Tom's hometown, to start a bakery. They worked at On the Rise, picking up pastry pointers and refining their goals, before opening three years ago. "We wanted the bakery to be like the neighborhood's living room, where customers can meet friends or have a pastry and a cup of coffee," says Tom. What They Have: Breads, pastries, coffee, local honey and jam, and plenty of seating Try This: Country blonde. "The ingredients are simple and pure," says Tom, "and yet it has a great flavor and texture." Where to get It: Restaurants such as Soho, Fountain and Deagan's

Breadsmith

Who They Are: Before baking, Ginius Macys worked in IT, and his wife, Sabine Kretzschmar, did nonprofit work. "We both grew up with European parents who were into high-quality bread, and we wanted to open a business," says Kretzschmar. They opened part of the Breadsmith franchise eight years ago and make it their own with plenty of Irish soda bread and monkey bread. What They Have: Breads, buns, cookies and pizza dough Try This: Thursday's farmer's wheat. Plus, look for periodic specials made with local grain. where to get It: North Union, Crocker Park and Cleveland Clinic farmers markets and 30 restaurants, including Georgetown and Tartine

Fowler's Milling Co.

Who They Are: Billie and Rick Erickson were interested in opening a bakery and were always on the hunt for good flour. "We became aware of stone grinding," says Billie, "and we got interested in the whole process of milling." Billie, who grew up in Chardon around Fowler's Mill, learned it was for sale. They bought it in 1985 and opened two years later. What They Have: Flour products and baking mixes for items such as bread and pancakes Try This: Apple crisp mix. "It's whole grain, whole oats, whole wheat flour," says Billie, "and it supports our primary customers, who are apple orchards." where to get It: Online, Whole Foods in University Heights, Patterson's Fruit Farm, Sage's Apples, Richard's Maple Products and farmers markets

Great Lakes Baking Co.

Who They Are: John MacMillan returned from travels in Europe and realized he couldn't get the same quality bread here, so he started baking with his three daughters. "We spent the weekends baking a variety of breads and cookies," he says. "I enjoyed the time with them as much as making breads." He opened his shop in 1998. What They Have: Breads, pastries, desserts and Saturday pizza nights Try This: French baguette, rustic French and ciabatta. "Those three things are wonderful, two-day rise-time doughs: crusty and flavorful naturally," MacMillan says. Where to Get It: Countryside Farmers' Markets and restaurants including Downtown 140, Nosh Eatery & Creative Catering and Solaire

Zoss the Swiss Baker

Who They Are: Kurt Zoss learned to bake during a three-year apprenticeship in his native Switzerland. After, he and his wife, Barbara, visited the U.S. to look into buying a bakery and landed in her hometown of Cleveland Heights. "We got an idea of cost, went back to Switzerland, saved our money and moved back with a 3-year-old and a 10-month-old," says Barbara. They opened in 1986. What They Have: Breads, pretzels, rolls, cookies and pastries Try This: "Our sourdough is a true sourdough," says Barbara, or try the French twist, a 48-hour process (available Saturdays). Where to get It: North Union Farmers Markets, Vera's and Michelle's West Side Market stands, and restaurants such Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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