Hearty Breads in Maple Grove

Freshly made breads help welcome fall in Maple Grove.
Aki Berndt's wild rice bread created with the recipe below.

It’s time to pull out your sweaters, watch college football, and marvel at the beauty of fall in Minnesota. That means it’s also time to cut a slice of warm, homemade bread and pair it with your favorite spread or fall meal. Check out what these local bakeries offer for fresh breads this fall. \

Wild Rice Bread (see recipe below)
Aki’s Backstube
Aki Berndt is a German baker, but he knows a thing or two about Minnesota wild rice. In fact, Berndt has created his own version of Wild Rice Bread, which is well received by Minnesota natives. “The wild rice has a very unique flavor,” says Berndt. Not many other bakers offer this specialty bread, perhaps in part because the addition of the rice makes it a bit more complicated to make. “When customers know I make it, they order two or three loaves,” he says. Berndt makes this bread year-round, but says that fall is a particularly good time to enjoy it because the rice, which he buys in bulk from local food co-ops, is harvested then. Berndt suggests toasting a slice of wild rice bread and topping it with jelly; the sweetness of the jelly is a great balance to the heartiness of the bread ($6 per loaf). Aki’s Backstube,(sold only at farmers markets or by custom order) 763.425.1711 or [email protected]

Pumpkin Swirl Bread
Great Harvest Bread Co.
This seasonal loaf is a light yet decadent addition to any breakfast menu. Topped with a cream cheese butter or cooked up as French toast, this bread is “nice and hearty” for cool fall mornings. The loaf looks—and tastes—like a breakfast roll. In fact, the bread is assembled like a cinnamon roll; a combination of brown sugar, walnuts, and pumpkin spice are spread on top of a thin layer of dough, which is then rolled up and tucked into a loaf pan. This inner combination makes for a rich, sweet center, but the addition of pumpkin puree into the dough itself keeps the loaf light. “People just love [this] bread,” says Toni Fluke of Great Harvest. Since it’s only available during the fall months, be sure to pick yours up before the season ends ($7.25 per loaf). Great Harvest Bread Co., 13712 Grove Drive, Maple Grove, 763.416.1911, maplegrovebread.com

Ciabatta
Panera Bread
Now that fall is finally here, it’s time to bring out Grandma’s homemade spaghetti sauce or your favorite lasagna recipe. Pair these fall comfort foods with a loaf of ciabatta, baked fresh daily at Panera Bread. This bread is a moist, chewy crumb with a thin crust and light olive oil flavor which makes it the perfect addition to a family night at home ($2.79 per loaf). Panera Bread, 7778 Main St. N., Maple Grove, 763.416.0436, panerabread.com

White or Whole Wheat Bread
Henry’s Café
Henry Lange of Henry’s Café keeps it simple but oh-so-good. With two bread options—white or wheat—Henry offers a delicious take on an old standard. It’s the freshest, fluffiest loaf around. Try Henry’s bread in-house with one of his breakfast specials or sandwiches, or pick up a loaf for dinner on your way home ($4 per loaf). Henry’s Café, 9691 63rd Ave. N., Maple Grove, 763.533.2304, henryscafe.com

Dark German Rye
Chez Arnaud
“This is one of the heartier breads,” says Jim Hanson, one of the bakers at Chez Arnaud. A combination of dark rye flour, cocoa powder, molasses and caraway provides the bread’s rich color as well as its “harvest-mentality” flavor. While some rye breads rely heavily on caraway, Chez Arnaud’s version balances the flavor of the caraway with the rye flour, cocoa powder and molasses. “It’s got a rye flavor, but it’s sweeter because of the molasses,” says Hanson. It’s a bread that shines when used as the base for a flavorful sandwich. “This would be good for a Reuben,” he adds, because the strong ingredients in the sandwich are balanced out by the flavors in this bread. Chez Arnaud’s bakes the dark German rye year-round and rotates it through the menu with other specialty breads ($3.75 per loaf). Chez Arnaud, 13332 Bass Lake Road, Maple Grove, 763.568.7756, myfrenchbakery.net  

Aki Berndt’s  Backstube Wild Rice Bread (translated from German)
Makes 3 loaves
½ cup wild rice
1 tsp. salt
Boil per package instructions.

Stir cooked wild rice with
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup rye flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 cups cold water
Let sit in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day add:
5 cups bread flour (preferably unbleached)
1-½ Tbsp. instant dry yeast
4 tsp. salt
2 cups whole milk

Work the ingredients together and knead for 8 minutes, add flour as needed.Let rise in a greased and covered bowl until almost double in size.
Punch down and divide into three equal parts.
Shape and put into greased baking pans.
Spray the top occasionally with water to avoid drying out.
Let rise again until the loaves are at least 50 percent bigger.
Bake at 340° F. (in a convection oven) for 40 minutes.