Perfect For: Making you reconsider everything you thought you knew about bread.
Menu: Baguettes, durum sticks, levain loaves, croissants, pastries, and more.
Good to Know: Get there early. We mean it. The Bake Room is only open for retail on Saturday mornings while the TD Saturday Market is out of season. If you are a late riser, there is a good chance you will not get any bread.
Parking: Plenty of parking on Pendleton St.
Bathroom: There is no lavatory to speak of.
James Beard once said that “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
It is easy to forget this, however, as bread is one of civilization’s oldest prepared foods and lives in a somewhat saturated market of mediocrity. It is the bland white square on either side of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich your mom made you when you were a kid. It is the hockey puck often passed off as a biscuit in too many southern restaurants. It is a flavorless vessel, a means to an end, or simply an afterthought on the side of plates across the culinary landscape.
It is no surprise, then, that we forget that good bread can be something of an art form when shown the proper respect. This is exactly why we all need the Bake Room in our lives.
Located in The Village of West Greenville, the Bake Room takes the art of bread making seriously. High-quality ingredients are paired with the most important element of baking – time – for bread that some people might compare to a religious experience. It is the patience to allow the relationship between flour, water, and yeast to properly flourish before baking that makes the difference between the bread you have come to expect from life and bread that you will be talking about long after you tasted it.
The baguettes, durum sticks, levain loaves, and croissants are almost too pretty to eat but after the first bite, you will find yourself moving past such irrational thinking. The richness and depth of flavor of each loaf are unlike anything we are accustomed to and one quickly knows that James Beard was right about this being the greatest of feasts.
One visit to the Bake Room’s tent at Downtown Greenville’s TD Saturday Market will assure you that we are not alone in our love for their product. Of all the vendors on Main Street, it is the Bake Room whose lines are the longest at the start of the market and emptiest halfway through when the last loaf has long been sold. In line, you will hear other customers talking about their favorite loaves as if they were reminiscing about old friends. “As good or better than anything I had in France” is often heard and totally believable, especially when you see customers impatiently biting into their loaves as they continue their shopping on Main Street.
Any complaints that the Bake Room did not have enough bread to satisfy everyone is muted by one simple fact: A single bakery has a limit to how much fresh out of the oven bread it can produce and, thankfully, that is the only way they will sell it. Run by a single baker who will often spend 24 consecutive hours in the kitchen preparing for market, you are buying bread that is often still warm from the oven and we would not have it any other way.
When the market is not in season you can get this delicious treat directly from the source on Saturday mornings in The Village – the only time they are open for retail business. While one might not see the overall traffic on Pendleton Street as on Main, one similarity remains in that the line for bread is long, early, and eager. The following for Bake Room bread is a passionate one that is unafraid to stand in the cold for bread as if they were in line for rations in Soviet Russia.
If the limited retail hours are too elusive, you can try your luck at the counter of The Village Grind or for dinner at The Anchorage where Bake Room bread is a staple of every meal. Really though, whatever means you must go through to procure some of this culinary gold is worth every bit of effort. Just don’t forget the fresh butter.