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BEST BREAD Minneapolis 2008 - Saint Agnes Baking Co.

Are you bored with the bread you find in the supermarket or your neighborhood bakery? Maybe it's time for something new. How about a honey-pecan-hemp bread, hearty but light and soft, a bread whose creator was so convinced of its bounteous healthfulness that an accompanying sign at Saint Agnes Baking Co. proclaims, "Live forever!" Or perhaps you'd enjoy a sweet, gooey breakfast loaf, sure to be the star of any potluck brunch—there's usually a raspberry or a blueberry-lemon version on hand, both equally delicious. Of course, Saint Agnes makes many well-crafted "regular" types of bread as well. If you find the options overwhelming, let head baker Dan "Klecko" McGleno make your choices for you. The bakery is now offering a monthly "gift bag" with a new combination of breads each time. March's selection, chosen with Easter in mind, included hot cross buns, cinnamon-raisin bagels, whole-wheat dinner rolls, a white flour-top loaf, and zucchini-nut breakfast bread. Saint Agnes is primarily a commercial operation, supplying some of the Twin Cities' best restaurants, but there are several other ways to get your hands on the goods. The first Saturday of each month, the commercial kitchen just outside downtown St. Paul becomes a retail operation for two hours, complete with music, coffee, and craft sales. Saint Agnes breads are also sold at several co-ops and farmers' markets, so you have no excuse not to try them.

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