Before my first visit to Clear Flour Bread in Brookline, Massachusetts, I did not do my research. I had heard great things about the bakery while searching online for places to try in Boston, and that was enough to convince me. When I arrived that morning, I just chose what I thought looked the most appealing, and since I was on a twice-baked almond brioche kick at the time, that happened to be their Bostock. I was expecting something, buttery, almondy, and custardy, but theirs had another flavor to it – something floral perhaps – that I was not a fan of.
Two years later, I started looking for places to try around Boston that I hadn’t already been to, and again, I came across rave reviews of Clear Flour Bread. One Yelper even called it “the best bakery in the United States.” After carefully reading all of the reviews of the bakery that I could find, I decided that I must return a second time to sample more of their menu. I decided that I would get their morning bun with walnuts, brioche with chocolate and pastry cream, chocolate chunk cookie, and chocolate bouchon.
I arrived about ten minutes before they opened on a Sunday, and the 30-person line that wrapped around the corner confirmed the high caliber and authenticity that I had read so much about. Upon entering the bakery, which can only fit about eight customers at a time, I was overwhelmed by the aromas of freshly baked bread and warm chocolate. Luckily, they didn’t run out of any of the items that I had my heart set on, so I was able to try all four. They have a huge assortment of items that I’d love to try though, so I plan to make another visit soon to taste their canelé and financier.
The morning bun was made from buttery croissant dough, which was a nice departure from the brioche-based ones that I’m used to, and the walnuts and brown-sugary goo didn’t overpower the flakey pastry.
The dark chocolate in my brioche was still slightly melted and the pastry cream added a light sweetness to the treat.
The chocolate chip cookie was enormous, crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. This was not just your average cookie, however, and the cookie dough and chocolate were actually layered in the way that pastry dough and butter are to create puff pastry. This dough-chocolate striation allowed for greater complexity of flavor and notes from both components in each bite.
The bouchon tasted like a very buttery brownie with dark chocolate chunks throughout, and the chocolate flavor was probably the most pure and intense that I’ve ever experienced in a chocolate cakelike dessert.
I should never have waited so long to give Clear Flour a second chance! They truly are masters of their craft.
Check them out at http://www.clearflourbread.com