Saturday, February 07, 2009

To-die-for bread

I love that I have lived in the same place long enough to have developed traditions and habits. Some may say that’s a sure signal it’s time to move on, and they may be right. For now, however, I am enjoying the familiarity of Boston. I enjoy not getting lost very much. I enjoy being able to give (correct! I think) directions to people who stop me on the street. I like feeling at home and comfortable when I am in the city. I also love going to the same bakery every weekend, getting to know their specials and picking out my favorites.

I have to say in all honesty that this is one of the best bakeries I have ever been to anywhere. I am not saying this because of my love of Boston, or because everything I like has to be the best there is (although there may be some truth in that). I am saying it because Clear Flour blows my mind every time. Clear Flour is located in the middle of a regular neighborhood. There is a playground, some brownstones, lots of cute houses, but nothing that would indicate the presence of the best bakery in Boston. It’s a little hidden, and this makes it even better.

It’s usually pretty easy to find, however – just look for a line out the door and a smell that makes you want to get a cup of tea, a blanket, some snow, and a good book. That’s how good it is.

I always have to get the caneles when I am there – seemingly hard and burnt, the crispy caramel outside gives way to a custardy creamy inside filled with big air pockets and tons of vanilla. They are obscenely good.

A gorgeous canele

The black sesame garlic breadsticks are doused with a garlic herb butter. If I wasn’t pretending to be lady like I would lick the butter off before cracking into the breadstick. Incidentally, breadstick is really a misnomer for this creation – it’s more like a baby baguette, filled with crunchy black sesame seeds and garlic garlic garlic.

Canele, with a black sesame breadstick underneath, and Irish soda bread in the right bottom corner.

Though I don't have a picture (mostly because consumption of Clear Flour products begins in the car, way before the loaded bags make it home to the table and the camera), Clear Flour croissants are to die for. Really. I know people who would take a bullet for those croissants (my loyalty lies with the caneles). The croissants melt when bitten into, with the perfect combination of crunch and flaky butter. Not doughy, not crispy, not dry nor oily. They are the perfect combination of indecent amounts of butter, air, and flour. Nothing else.

All the things I have named thus far are always on the Clear Flour roster. They also have daily specials that appear once a week. Pick a favorite and show up on that day and come early, else they will sell out.

Last Saturday’s ritual pilgrimage to Clear Flour yielded a fennel and feta flatbread, garnished with thickly cracked black pepper and fennel fronds. I could have used some more fennel, but the feta was briny and light, not cream cheesy creamy, which I can’t stand.

Oh yea, and if you look closely at the very top picture in this post, the one through the bakery window, look closely. See the cakes on the right, labeled Chocolate Whiskey cakes? Enough said. This place is the greatest. It’s places like Clear Flour that make me a little less sad that I don’t have my dream job in my dream city. At least I have the best bread ever of all time. Things really aren’t so bad when there are caneles and baguettes around.


mehdi said...


My new place is only 5 minutes walking distance from the bakery (we call it the French bakery). Its one of the few places in Boston where you can find a real baguette.

Maybe sometime we come across each other at the bakery!


ThinkingBean said...

Nice pics!

Anna said...

Mehdi - So jealous that you live close to Clear Flour! I would never leave. I would ask to live there, I swear!

Hi Cydney! Thanks so much for checking in. I have been so happy since our lesson. I don't know if you can tell from this post, but I feel so much more comfortable with my camera now. Thank you!

Naveen said...

Thanks for the post: I can barely wait to visit this place. Have you ever been to Flour Bakery? I went there last weekend and it amazing!

Amanda said...

Just swung by your blog, and now I want to cry. I used to live half a block away from Clear Flour! You listed a bunch of my favorites, too (in addition to that, I would regularly eat an entire loaf of cinnamon raisin bread every made the most amazing toast). Haven't found a suitable replacement in Chicago.

Jen - Dinnerware said...

The happiest new year to you and your readers!