There’s something to be said for doing one or two things very well. Brake Bread, a bakery on West Seventh in St. Paul, has got that concept on lockdown. Micah Taylor and Nate Hogue (pictured above) have been honing their bread-making and business skills as a bike delivery bakery for the past few years, pedaling their naturally leavened loaves straight to customers’ doorsteps. Now they finally have a brick-and-mortar shop where you can pick up a hearty loaf of bread (among other things) most days of the week.
Brake Bread’s bright and airy little shop is minimal and focused. Tall wire shelves get down to business displaying the day’s bread offerings as well as day-old loaves and big bags of tuppence (aka bits of stale bread to fling to the birds). Most days the bakery is stocked with classics like baguettes ($3), a white sandwich loaf adorably dubbed “Fwuffy” ($5.50), white and whole wheat artisanal loaves, and Granny Gear ($5.50), a brown round that’s stuffed with flax, oats, and sunflower seeds.
The kitchen is currently in experimental mode, cranking out new creations every week to see what sticks. We took home a loaf of Steel the One ($5), a raisin-studded rye with a malty sweetness that we want to devour every morning for breakfast. Toasted, with butter.
Brake Bread’s regular rotation is an excellent arsenal of everyday classics. Bread rolls out of the oven around 10 a.m. each day, and each loaf is bursting with that crucial yeasty perfume that separates a great bread from a squishy loaf from Cub. They need no assistance. The baguette is a well-constructed specimen, with a crackly crust and a light, stretchy interior. And the Classic Cruiser ($5) is a delightfully sour white loaf with a crisp crust that’ll keep nicely for a few days. And even after it’s gotten a bit stiff, you’ll find yourself stuffing slices into the toaster to enjoy every last crumb.
Beyond killer bread, the bakery keeps it simple with other goodies. You’ll find an edited collection of cookies and gooey caramel rolls. We were particularly smitten with the Sugar Lime cookie (50 cents each), which is like a soft and chewy cookie version of key lime pie. And Brake Bread’s scones are perfect, with golden outsides and moist but crumbly insides. Try the Snickerdoodle ($2.50)! It’s your childhood. For the non-sweet-tooth, the bakery makes Spinners ($3), which are shaped like cinnamon rolls but are filled with savory ingredients instead. There’s one filled with olives and feta (below) that would make a great sidekick to scrambled eggs.
Brake Bread continues to do its thing by bicycle, and you can find it at the Midtown Farmers Market every Saturday. But a visit to the new shop means a more complete view of Taylor and Hogue’s commitment to delicious simplicity. Grab a cup of Bootstrap coffee while you’re there, and keep an eye out for the shop’s forthcoming dine-in toast program. Yup! You heard right.
Artisanal breads and pastries in St. Paul
1174 W 7th St
St. Paul, MN 55102
Tue-Fri 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sat 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED?: No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE: Bread $5-$6
Pastries 50 cents-$3
NOISE LEVEL: Low
PARKING: Small lot and street parking