The Standard Baking Company, Portland
All five senses came alive the moment I entered the tiny, warm bakery on a rainy day-before-Thanksgiving.
I was truly like a kid in a candy store. (For me, fresh rustic bread is more alluring than chocolate any day!)
I come to the Standard Baking Company at least once a week.
Loving all things French, I bought into the bread is the stuff of life mantra and began buying bakery bread many years ago. When first married, I actually told Frank I thought I’d bake all our bread….he was laughing at me before I even finished the sentence!
I’ve been on many diets, but will never buy into the no-carb one. Have you not read French Women Don’t Get Fat?
Standard Baking Company makes divine bread. Both of my sons have become bread connoisseurs and would no more eat Wonder Bread than tripe. From when Ben was 8 or 9, if I asked if he wanted toast with his breakfast, he would say, “Is it good toast?” meaning the real thing, baked yesterday or this morning, not months ago with preservatives, packaged in plastic, and cut in sickly thin slices.
Baguettes, large and small, Pain au Levain, croissants, brioche, focaccia, rustica – Standard has so much to choose from, their wooden shelves and thick brown baskets chock full. The bread is not packaged, it stands free in the open air so purveyors can see so clearly what they’ll buy.
The atmosphere inside the bakery is as enticing as the bread.
It’s the tiniest store in the cellar of Fore Street restaurant, its door off Commercial Street at the back of a busy parking lot. The door opens onto their patio with tiny tables, a trellis overhead, and pots of flowers in summer. The wooden floors inside are ancient and creak; the ceiling is low and beamed.
You can watch the bakers in the back rolling out dough. It’s cozy and quaint.
I’m all about aesthetics and my surroundings have the ability to transport me to my happy place. I go to Standard bakery for the bread, but also for the pleasure of being in their space.
On the rainy day before Thanksgiving last year, their stock was twice as much as usual and wet customers wormed their way in a line around the tiny space, laughing with each other as they prepared for family and the next day’s feast.
The atmosphere was as warm as their pastry -- jovial, communal. The lighting was dim.
I felt transported to another time….maybe to the French countryside.
We came for soft yeast and anadama dinner rolls, but left with a pear frangipane tart and six croissants as well. When turkey becomes unappealing, I’ll melt black forest ham and swiss with a maple champagne mustard on them for our lunches.
“You know,” I said to Frank as we exited, hoods on in the pouring rain, “even if we don’t need bread, we should always come here the day before Thanksgiving just for the pleasure that just was!!!”
Big smiles on both of us…and giving thanks!