Great Bakes: Bread

From baguettes to bagels, the bread baking business is on the rise in Indianapolis.

Amelia’s Bread
In the early 2010s, Tom Battista started a crusade to supply Indianapolis with the fresh hearth-baked loaves he felt the city was missing. Fast-forward a decade, and this local bread darling has expanded well beyond the borders of its original Holy Rosary factory digs into a Windsor Park storefront and, more recently, a new outpost at the Stutz Building. The bakers still arrive each morning at 4 a.m., kneading and shaping European inspired sourdough, seed-studded semolina, fragrant focaccia, and rustic baguettes. Grab a couple to take home, or snag a table at Bluebeard, Amelia’s sister restaurant, where customers can nibble from a basket of grilled slices served with favored burgers and oils while perusing the menu. 653 Virginia Ave.,1637 Nowland Ave., 1060 N. Capitol Ave.,317-686-1583

BreadWorks at Broad Ripple
This 2022 addition to the SoBro scene fills the sunny former Locally Grown Gardens space with the wafting scents of baking bread and sweet treats, tempting even the most pious carb-conscious runners and bikers as they pass by on the adjacent Monon Trail. If you can manage to resist the muffins, donuts, and pastries, a hunk of warm baguette or slice of sourdough makes a perfect accompaniment to a hot cinnamon praline latte or freshly pressed juice. At lunchtime, brioche and focaccia provide the foundation for lobster BLTs and Italian hero sandwiches, and breakfast favorites like bacon, egg, and cheese on a croissant or avocado toast on sourdough are available all day long. 1050 E. 54th St., 317-756-9224

Cornerstone Bread Company
This downtown bakery supplements four basic building blocks of bread—our, water, salt, and yeast—with butter, honey, and extra-virgin olive oil to produce around 130 different hybrids of bread for restaurants and food service operations. If chefs can dream it, they’ll figure out how to make it. “In November, we worked with a chef to develop a doner bread for a Turkish kebab sandwich,” owner Cindy Helming mentions. “He brought back a sample from Germany to recreate and use in a holiday market.” Cornerstone also makes a small assortment of products available to the public through Market Wagon, including a twisted cinnamon loaf, pretzel buns, and Sunday sourdough. Check website for ordering details, 317-897-9671

Leviathan Bakehouse
Any way you slice it, this spacious Chatham Arch bakery turns out fine loaves. Open since July 2020, this little bakery managed to successfully navigate the pandemic, thanks in no small part to a lineup of organic breads made using natural leavening techniques, locally and regionally sourced grains, and unique fermentation cultures. “Ingredients manner, but the most important skill in creating great bread is patience,” says co-founder Matt Steinborn. Co-owner Sam Blythe created many of the original recipes that make Leviathan loaves not just luscious but also hardy, rich, and soul satisfying. 1101 N. College Ave., 317-493-1879

Scholars Inn Bakehouse
This Bloomington-based facility has turned out rustic artisan breads, bagels, and pastries—along with its signature granola—since 2001. Initially intended to be served only at their now-closed gourmet cafe and wine bar in Bloomington’s downtown square, the items are now fairly easy to find at grocery stores and coffee shops around Indianapolis. The secret to the bestselling sourdough, challah, and farm loaves? “Time,” says president Tracy Bruce. “Building  flavor and texture is a methodical process.” The sourdough alone requires more than 12 hours to make from start to finish, relying on an old-school fermentation and proofing process that simply can’t be rushed. After all, good things come to those who wait. Check website for details about delivery and restaurant/retail locations, 812-935-6100