Best Bread: Wholesomeness meets butter and jam

Vital Vittles' Flax Seed Oat Bread

In a region known for producing the country’s best baguettes, we sometimes overlook the other artisanal bakers who make our mornings worthwhile. For thirty years, Berkeley’s Joe and Kass Schwin have been grinding organic wheat and kneading the flour with organic grains and seeds, cold-pressed oil, and local honey to form loaves good enough to survive the hippie backlash of the 1980s. These days, any mainstream bakery that would dare sell an oatmeal and flax-seed loaf would trumpet its alpha-linolenic acids, beta-glucan, and fiber as the natural-foods equivalent of Lipitor. But the Schwins don’t bother — they know most of Vital Vittles’ customers just buy their bread for its complex, nutty taste and elegant crumb. In perhaps the organic equivalent of mixing your G&T with carbonated holy water, there’s nothing better than a browned slice of flax-oat toast, every cranny filled with melted butter, slathered with a sugary mass of strawberry jam.

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