In the February 2016 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, we seek comfort in well-crafted Northern Michigan bread loaves from the North’s best bakeries. Nothing beats the aroma of baking bread, except the taste.

Seek a loaf, now. Here are five Northern Michigan bread bakeries to get you started.

Pleasanton Bakery  

811 Cottageview Drive, Traverse City  |  231.941.1964

A cold stillness sits over the Grand Traverse Commons at 4 a.m. on February mornings, while the firebrick oven inside Pleasanton Bakery glows at 600 degrees, effusing the winter air with delectable scents of fresh bread and woodsmoke. Dark, crusty rye and spelt boules slide onto the cooling racks and golden brioche rises in airy layers, as local goat cheese and dried tomato danishes are prepped for the breakfast rush.

Named by Food & Wine as one of the top bakeries in America, Chef Jonathan St. Hilaire’s  Pleasanton Bakery offers seasonal wood-fired artisan breads, pastries and pizzas from locally sourced organic grains and produce. Hilaire’s winter baking schedule is heavy with dense rye and multigrain loaves along with specialty items like bacon onion baguettes, date, fennel and sea salt boules and cherry pecan grissini. A daily rotation of sweet and savory scones, croissants, cookies and tarts can be indulged from the gleaming bakery cases.

9 Bean Rows

8996 East Duck Lake Road, Suttons Bay | 231.271.6658

Jen Welty forms texturally transcendental baguettes and sea salt fennel loaves at her bakery west of Suttons Bay. Do not pass on the almond croissants, which could bring most Parisians to their knees.

Crooked Tree Breadworks

2064 M-119 Suite #5, Petoskey | 231.347.9574

Sourdough virtuoso Greg Carpenter enters his second decade of crafting quality small batch breads at this destination bakery between Petoskey and Harbor Springs. Sop up your winter soup with toothsome roasted seed bread, and grab a pound of Crooked Tree’s addictive granola for the ride.

Bay Bread Company

601 Randolph Street, Traverse City | 231.922.8022

The ovens at this TC neighborhood bakery kick out 40 iterations of fresh bread every day, like tawny challah braids, walnut wheat loaves and pepper Parmesan sourdough. Bay Bread’s on-site cafe serves tasty housemade sandwiches, salads and soups.

Crescent Bakery

404 Main Street, Frankfort | 231.352.4611

Benzie County bread fiends flock to Frankfort’s Crescent Bakery for crusty French peasant loaves, potato bread and decadent cinnamon raisin bread perfect for pain perdu. Say yes to the colorful macorons, crisp fritters or bacon-topped donuts.

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