WHILE COOKIES AND CAKES get much of the attention during the holidays, bread has more than earned a spot on the table. Since not everyone can be a master baker, we’ve found five places to pick up a loaf worthy of your holiday feast.

“We’re still figuring out what defines us as a bakery,” admits Kate Holland. With pastry chef Nicole Appels, Holland co-founded Baked and Brew in a converted 1950s gas station. “We bake simply because we love being in the kitchen.” The Cerrillos Road newcomer has already garnered much local fanfare thanks to the chefs’ distinct influences and specialties. Born in Georgia, Holland prefers the savory side of things. Appels is from Cape Town, South Africa, and specializes in sweet treats. Try this: Parker House rolls for Thanksgiving and Christmas, plus a braided challah crown for Hanukkah. “We created Baked and Brew together so we could have freedom and creativity to explore,” says Holland. “We’re still working on our holiday menu, but we’ll have bread available for preorder and pickup.” 

You don’t have to pay dues at Bread Club, Pam Mussett’s nine-month-old endeavor on the south side of Taos Plaza. Chic and sunny, the cafe’s welcoming interior is just a little funky—rather like the food. “I like taking an idea of a traditional flavor, and instead of copying it, taking a little step to the side,” she says. After selling her creations at the Taos Farmers Market last holiday season, Mussett plans to experiment with squash breads and updated fruitcakes. “It would be really cool to use traditional holiday spices and maybe some marshmallow fluff on top,” she says. Expect a semisweet bread made with liquid coffee, fine dark chocolate, and tart dried cherries, which makes a fabulous hostess gift. Try this: Garlic rolls. “I use fragrant garlic butter in the dough,” Mussett says. “I brush them to get that shine.”

Ihatov owners Yuko Kawashiwo and Nobutoshi Mizushima. Photograph by Ungelbah Dávila.

Eight years ago, Yuko Kawashiwo and Nobutoshi Mizushima began selling their products at Albuquerque’s Downtown Growers’ Market, a side hustle that quickly grew into a full-time business. The bakers cut their teeth at bakeries in New York and Santa Fe, but it was the Duke City clientele that convinced the couple to open Ihatov. “People kept asking us where to get our bread during the week,” explains Kawashiwo, “so we wanted to make a place they could get their everyday bread.” At Ihatov, they meld various influences—Dutch-style baking practices, Japanese ingredients, New York modern aesthetics—to create a truly unique New Mexican cafe. Visitors this holiday season can look for nutty, fragrant buckwheat loaves, chocolate babkas, and German stollen. Try this: Braided pesto bread. “For holy day meals, bread has to be there,” says Kawashiwo. “It warms and it cheers. It makes connections, people to people.” 

Juniper Bakery’s blue-corn bread and cookies. Photograph courtesy of Juniper Bakery.

At Juniper Bakery, many talented hands help stock the shelves with painted sugary sweets and unexpected treats. While owner Megan DenHerder is the primary baker, she also sells creations from five others who each bring their own distinct skills and knowledge to the practice. “It’s not a co-op exactly, but it functions a bit like that,” says DenHerder. “We’re able to offer a huge variety of things.” Everything is baked off-site, from the French croissants to the green chile cheese loaves, and brought fresh daily to the shop in the northeast corner of the Gallup Cultural Center. The holidays, DenHerder says, “is when we really go wild.” Look for eggnog loaves, biscochitos, and orange-cardamom rolls. Try this: Blue-corn bread. The recipe combines white flour with blue-corn flour and juniper ash to create a brightly hued, calcium-rich loaf with a toothsome chew and a subtle, sweet flavor that could accompany any rich holiday meal.

Try a simple sourdough bread loaf from Kind Bread Company. Photograph courtesy of Kind Break Company.

Kind Bread Company co-owner Sam Kindred loves to sing the praises of sourdough. Opened in 2019, the Las Cruces bakery kicked into high gear during the pandemic, with bakers working all night and delivering bagels and bread all day. “I really like feeding people,” she says. “It made me happy to do that.” Kindred also believes fullheartedly in the power of a good starter. Although sourdough goods take more time to make, Kindred says they’re better for your body and your taste buds. “There are people with gluten intolerance—not celiac, but a slight intolerance—who can eat our bread without issue,” she says. For the holidays, look for pumpkin bread, squash breads, and a Christmas loaf with bourbon, cherries, and pecans. Try this: A simple sourdough loaf. “I think it goes with everything,” she says.

Read more: This bakery is rising like yeast.