Where to find Sydney's best #iso breads

Ester's potato bread with kefir cream, dashi jelly and roe.
Ester's potato bread with kefir cream, dashi jelly and roe. Photo: Supplied

Congratulations if you have so far managed to dodge a steady diet of lasagne, Weet-Bix and corn chips. And full marks if, like all intelligent, discerning people, you have suddenly placed a higher value on bread.

Because bread is about survival, and sharing and community. It's about life. It's something we can do with our hands that makes us feel we are part of a larger world.

So here's to all the flour-hoarding home-stayers who are stress-baking perfect loaves and showing off the density of their crumb under the hashtag #sourdoughporn. You're blitzing it.

But baking isn't for everybody. I've baked bread before, and it was fine; it just wasn't great. And I demand greatness from my bread. Luckily, so do many of Sydney's finest chefs, who have channelled their inner bakers and "risen" to the challenge of providing uniquely interesting and nourishing breads for their wider communities.

Potato and molasses rye bread, Cafe Paci

Paci the cafe and wine bar is now Paci the bakery, serving up weekend treats of  black pudding sausage rolls (let there be dancing in the streets), carrot and licorice cake, luridly pink Alexander tortes and Finnish-born Pasi Petanen's divinely dark rye loaves. Right now, this is Sydney's most exciting bread; dense, rich, fragrant, mouth-filling and mind-blowing, damp with potato and crusted with a sticky sweetness.

How much dough? $10 a loaf.

Tip: Add a serve of cured salmon and egg on rye for lunch, $15.

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How and when: Pick up Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 9am until sold out.

Where: Cafe Paci, 131 King Street, Newtown, 02 9550 6196, cafepaci.com.au

Sourdough bread with mascarpone butter, Sixpenny

"What's going on there?" says one local, pointing to the around-the-block queue outside Stanmore's three-hatted restaurant, Sixpenny. "They're queuing for coddled quail eggs with a whiff of sparrow fart," replies his companion. No, they're not, they're lining up for Dan Puskas' freshly baked carrot cake, Basque cheesecake and Sixpenny's textbook white sourdough bread with its crisp, chewable crust and spongy open crumb.

How much dough? Loaf and mascarpone butter, $15.

Tip: Check out Sixpenny's weekly changing produce box, packed with goodies from the restaurant's favourite suppliers, $120.

How and when: Order online and pick up Saturday or Sunday from 9am.

Where: Sixpenny, 83 Percival Road, Stanmore, sixpenny.com.au

Potato rolls with kefir cream, trout roe and dashi jelly, Ester

A shadowy laneway. Windows covered in newspaper (the wrong one). A solitary door open. Secretive, contactless card payments. All this skullduggery for bread and wine. Mat Lindsay has flipped his two-hatted Chippendale restaurant into a sly-grog-style take-home outlet doing a brisk trade in dinner packs; dark, dense, wood-fired sourdough; and blackened, salt-strewn, potato bread rolls, teamed with a little pot of fresh and creamy kefir butter, dashi jelly and big pearls of Yarra Valley trout roe to smash on top.

How much dough? Potato rolls with accompaniments, $25 for 2. 

Tip: Add a tub of "leftover sourdough" ice-cream with sourdough black sesame crumble, $15 for 500ml.

How and when: Order online to pick up following day between 3pm and 5pm.

Where: Ester, 46-52 Meagher Street, Chippendale, 02 8068 8279, ester-restaurant.com.au

Wood-fired sourdough, Kitchen By Mike At Home

Mike McEnearney practically built Kitchen By Mike with loaves of crusty, organic, wood-fired sourdough, mortared with rustic, bountiful salads and slow-braised meats. Now he delivers from his kitchen to yours in yet another COVID-19 silver lining.

How much dough? Large $15 (like, 1.5kg large), half $9.

Tip: Top with Mike's chicken liver pate ($10) or rhubarb jam ($8), or both.

How and when: Order online for delivery Tuesday or Wednesday.  

Where: kitchenbymike.com.au

Flat breads to go

Totti's, Bondi

You know it. You love it. And now you can get your hands on Mike Eggert's wood-fired, puffy, steamy basketball of 48-hour fermented not-so-flatbread ($10) to take home, along with its best mates, burrata, mortadella and the whole antipasti gang. Order online and pick up at The Royal, 283 Bondi Road, Bondi, merivale.com

Efendy, Balmain

Somer Sivrioglu's house-made, nigella-seedy, golden discs of warm, dense pide ($6) are sold alongside dips, dinner packs and booze, Wednesday to Sunday 4pm-9pm. Locals needing a little comfort can help themselves to lentil soup and pide bread in the courtyard. 79 Elliott Street, Balmain, 02 9810 5466, efendy.com.au