The Neat Places Good Bread Guide

Round loaves of sourdough on a counter.

Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh bread in the morning? Or the ritual of a trip to the bakery for the really good stuff straight from the oven.

At Neat Places, we love our sourdough. Something about the slow traditional process and culture speaks to us, as it does to most of the world! This got us thinking, let’s create a guide to our favourite bakers and makers throughout Aotearoa New Zealand so you can visit them too.

These bakers are carrying the torch of an artform that’s been almost lost to a food culture of convenience. For the sake of all that is good in artisan bread and pastries, these innovators are pushing the bar higher for the generations to come. 

We wanted to celebrate this shift, and champion the good folk cementing higher expectations for our daily bread, with a guide to those who do it the best.

Upper North Island

Loaves of bread on racks in a kitchen.

Rollers Bakery

54 Northcote Road, Northcote, Auckland

 Spearheaded by three hospo veterans, Rollers Bakery in Northcote in Auckland sets itself apart with a made-from-scratch ethos and an open-plan layout that lets you check out all the baking action. Alongside their phenomenal sourdough, you’ll also spy some mighty fine pastries, pies, toasties, and pretty epic cream-filled donuts, all served up with a good yarn. 

The team at Rollers loves baking bread because it’s such a classic household staple that it goes on to knead its own stories once it leaves the bakery. Their top pick? The white tin sourdough with its nostalgic vibes. It makes for a perfect sammie. Or if bread and butter is your jam, then this one is ace. 

Baked bread on display behind a cafe counter.

Daily Bread

108 Ponsonby Road, Grey Lynn

Hand-crafting long-fermented, high-hydration sourdough and buttery rustic pastries across six central Auckland locations, Daily Bread is no ordinary bakery. In late 2017, Josh Helm and Tom Hishon of Orphans Kitchen joined forces with master baker Patrick Welzenbach and his 600-year-old sourdough starter. Baking with wild yeast strains collected over 22 generations brings a depth of flavour to Daily Bread’s loaves that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

Their bread holds its moisture for days and makes a legendary toastie or sammie. The Pioneer loaf is their most popular and is pretty excellent toasted, untoasted, buttered, filled, dipped and pretty much any way you can think of. 

Florets

596 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland

The lovely team at Florets excel at baking highly nutritious bread using whole grains and slow fermentation techniques. Their process starts with organic, stone milled, whole grain flour grown down south in Canterbury. What do they love most about bread making? The ability to be creative within defined parameters. There’s also that need to tune into subtle shifts of temperature and humidity throughout the day, which helps to keep you present. 

The crowd favourite is their Oat Porridge Cob loaf, it's slightly kibbled yet springy texture makes the best morning toast, served with fresh butter and local Doris plum jam.

Photo by: Scott Hardy

Amano

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68 Tyler Street, Auckland Central

Amano has a real humble, relaxed and cosy feel to it. The emphasis on sustainable, seasonal, locally-sourced food means they produce almost everything on-site. Sourdoughs, ciabattas and miche loaves all sit alongside their mouth-watering (and Auckland famous) pastries, tarts, slices and seasonal cakes.  

The team at Amano love to challenge and inspire each other to create the highest-quality product using only the finest ingredients from around Aotearoa. Every loaf they craft is made by hand and freshly prepared each day. Their favourite slice? The Olive and Rosemary Sourdough Loaf.

Fort Greene

327 Karangahape Road, Auckland

Specialising in Sourdough making and viennoiserie, the bakers at Fort Greene love the tactile and organic process of bread making that requires an intimate understanding of smells, tastes, and feels relating to the maturity of the dough and what it needs. Their sourdough baguettes are the last thing out of the oven every morning and are usually still warm when they open their doors. There's nothing quite as satisfying as smearing butter on a slice of a still-warm crusty baguette, especially on cold winter mornings.

A man baking bread in a dimly lit kitchen.

Wild Wheat

Various locations around Auckland

Wild Wheat has been producing artisan sourdough breads since 1999 using a natural slow fermentation process that gives their breads a unique texture and taste. Their focus is on making quality products that not only taste good but are also good for you. Simplicity is a big part of their ethos, and they simply love making great tasting bread. 

The Head Baker at Wild Wheat recommends opting for a couple slices of their award winning Kumara bread fried up in a pan with some bacon and tomatoes. And you can’t beat a toastie made with their ever popular White Sourdough.

Volare

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5 Gallagher Drive, Melville, Hamilton

School friends turned sourdough extraordinaires, Ed and Ryan, love the time that it takes to make a truly delicious loaf of bread. So much thought and skill goes into the process – from mixing and kneading, through the long fermentation process, to shaping and baking it off – it's a real labour of love. As a fourth generation baker, taking a traditional approach has always been a priority for Ryan – using quality ingredients and skilled craftsmanship to create the very best bread and pastries. 

The versatile San Francisco Sourdough is Volare’s most popular loaf. It’s a delicious base for any egg breakfast, making fresh sandwiches, or simply toasted with butter and jam.

A person holding a loaf of bread at Rudi's in Hamilton.

Rüdi's Bakehouse

The Riverbank Lane, 298 Victoria Street, Hamilton

Run by husband and wife duo Stefan and Fern, Rüdi's is an artisan microbakery offering handcrafted sourdough breads and pastries alongside banging brews from boutique roastery, Eighthirty. Their offerings are inspired by the pair’s favourite tastes from travels around the globe and are baked in small batches to bring joy to your day.

Stefan’s favourite way to enjoy Rüdi's premium goods is a thick slice of the Original sourdough, toasted with lashings of salted butter. Meanwhile, Fern’s breakfast staple is a slice of their Spelt & Sprouted Rye sourdough bread, toasted and topped with raw coconut oil, peanut butter, banana and cinnamon.

 

Ya Bon French Baker

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216 Heretaunga Street East, Hastings

Hasting's speciality sourdough and French pastry masters, Ya Bon, are the wholesale bakers to some of Hawkes Bay's best caterers, cafes and wineries. Their cafe runs alongside the large bakery windows for visitors and locals to enjoy a pastry and coffee whilst watching the bakers work their craft. The team love that baking bread is such sensory work. It is being aware of the process and adjusting to the needs of the dough at all stages. The early morning bake is so satisfying, bringing the dough to its final form from their ovens to their customers' tables. 

Their most popular loaf is the Chia Seed Sourdough. High in protein and fibre with a delicious nutty flavour.

Lower North Island

Billow

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91b Devon Street West, New Plymouth Central

According to the tight-knit team at Billow, great sourdough is as simple as three ingredients, but it’s also as complex as rocket science. Everything comes down to good ingredients, knowledge, skill and a little bit of luck! Their focus is on making a small range of products really well, so the bread is lively but steady, and the pastry is full of flavour. You'll be served by the people who make what you eat, and they stand behind everything they serve.

The 100% Whole Wheat loaf is Billow’s top pick - the flour is milled on-site, fermentation is a delicate balance, and the flavour is second to none.

 

Signage for the SourBros Bakery in Whanganui.

SourBros Bakery

2/40 Drews Ave, Whanganui, New Zealand

SourBros is an artisan bakery and pizzeria using traditional sourdough fermentation in all their doughs. They source their flour exclusively from farms practising regenerative agriculture and offer a range of sourdough loaves, baguettes, bagels, and focaccia. 

Their bakers love the sourdough process, reading the dough each day and responding to the ever-changing dynamics of temperature, hydration and micro-organisms. There's always more to learn and ways to improve the bread that keeps them intrigued. SourBros bread recommendation? Their 100% rye Vollkornbrot (a German-style dense loaf) toasted, then topped with avocado and dukkah.

 

Jeans Bakery

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687A Fergusson Drive, Elderslea, Upper Hutt

Focusing primarily on viennoiserie-style pastries and sourdough bread, this small boulangerie-style bakery in Upper Hutt is a must visit. With the possibility of ever changing weekend specials and their unique approach to bread making, you never quite know what you’ll find at Jeans, but you know it will be exceptionally delicious. 

Their Eldersea loaf is always a good bet, a classic loaf made with white flour and a little wholemeal. Enjoy a slice warmed up with butter and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt or topped with avocado and chilli flakes.

 

Olde Beach Bakery

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5 Beach Road, Paekākāriki

Olde Beach Bakery is a busy, vibrant anything goes kind of place. They love their music loud, know all their customers by name, and aim to make people’s day. Early mornings are spent moulding and folding dough to produce their beautiful, handcrafted bread made from scratch and baked with love every day.

As for their favourite bread, it’s far too hard to choose just one! The Turkish is fab for sandwiches or dipping into something delicious. The rustique is perfect toasted, and the multigrain, loaded with seeds, has a delightful texture and crunch. The baguette also makes a great sandwich but is equally perfect paired with your favourite cheese. We could go on, but you’ll just have to try them for yourself!

Baker Gramercy

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465 Adelaide Road, Berhampmore, Wellington

In new digs conveniently located across the road from their old spot, Baker Gramercy handcrafts delicious and imperfectly beautiful breads and a range of traditionally laminated croissants made with 100% NZ milled flour and butter. Their sourdough breads are slow fermented and contain only flour, water, salt, and seeds or oat porridge, depending on the variety. 

The Oat Sourdough is the pick of breads, and congratulations to anyone who can collect one without grabbing a sneaky croissant, too!

South Island

Bacca Bakery

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43 Tukurua Road, Parapara

With the long-term goal of creating an infrastructure, market and industry for grains, pulses, and legumes in Golden Bay, Bacca Bakery works with local farmers to grow a variety of grain that gets stone-milled in-house. Gregor and Chris, owner-operators of the small fully organic sourdough bakery in Golden Bay, love producing wholesome food for people in their region using a combination of both traditional and modern methods.

Chris highly recommends their sourdough croissants, eaten straight up with no adornment necessary. Gregor is a sucker for their ‘Bastard’ loaf (a motley collection of leftover dough all rolled into one deliciously nourishing loaf) and recommends enjoying nice thick slices of it alongside a great bowl of veggie soup. 

Grizzly Baked Goods

33 Buchan Street, Sydenham, Christchurch

Family-owned Grizzly Baked Goods is all about pushing the bar higher for their community by the standards they set with their handmade sourdough loaves. Motivated by love and curiosity, they are constantly innovating while still respecting the ancient traditions of bread baking that rely on wild yeasts for leavening loaves with extraordinary flavour and texture.

For the small team at Grizzly, slow-process fermentation and bringing out the complex flavours in high-quality wheat is a rich and storied endeavour worth perfecting. A simple slice of their Country Sourdough (made from a wonderfully balanced blend of white, wholemeal, and rye flours) toasted with butter is just about as good as it gets.

 

Bohemian Bakery

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43 Nayland Street, Sumner, Christchurch

The crew at Bohemian Bakery make their sourdough breads the old-fashioned way and won’t use any ingredients that don't have a name your grandma would recognise. Aiming for the vibe of a village bakery, the folk at Bohemian strive to create a sense of community by bringing food production closer to consumers so they can get to know the people who make their food. 

Bohemian Sourdough is their top pick! European countrymen visit the bakery especially to get this loaf as it reminds them of home. Take it toasted or fresh with simple ingredients like butter and salt, it goes well with anything, especially a good shaved ham with cheddar and mustard. 

Bellbird Bakery

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The Tannery, 3 Garlands Road, Woolston, Christchurch

Specialising in sourdough bread and French pastries, artisan bakery Bellbird has been serving up high-quality baked goods to Christchurch locals since 2010. Using traditional techniques and a long fermentation process, they produce some of the most delicious baked goods in town.

For the crew at Bellbird, the smell of crusty sourdough just out of the oven makes it worth getting up early every day. They’re particularly fond of their rye sourdough, made with 100% organic rye flour from North Canterbury. It has a dark crust, a very moist crumb and keeps for days - a very good loaf to take tramping as it is compact and nutritionally dense.

Pembroke Pâtisserie

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20 Alison Avenue, Albert Town, Wānaka

World famous in Wānaka for their fresh breads and baked goods, a visit to Pembroke Patisserie is a must! At Pembroke, it’s all about the science, art, experience, skill, and love that gets rolled into every loaf. Truly good bread is both nourishment and pleasure, and that’s why they love what they do.     

The Pembroke team love a classic sourdough. What could be better than a freshly baked, still warm out of the oven springy, doughy sourdough loaf with crunchy, crusty crusts generously slathered with salted butter? Nothing. Nothing at all. Except perhaps another loaf tomorrow.