Five Breads to Bring Your Holiday Hosts, Starring Empire, Eatzi's and Others

We've gobbled about birds and various local sides. But bread is a category all unto itself. Clothes make the man, you say? Well, bread can make or break the feast. We've covered the issue extensively here and there. Whether to cradle meat for a sandwich or wipe a plate clean of every last speck of gravy, good bread sustains.

Empire Baking Company supplies bread to many restaurants and hotels around the city. Their retail spot, at 5450 West Lovers Lane, is splendidly full of breads and pies, some made specifically for the holidays, like sweet potato pull-apart rolls, pumpkin bread and a cranberry paisano loaf (imagine day-after sandwiches smeared with cream cheese and loaded with turkey).

Eatzi's wakes up prior to the crack of dawn every day and bakes around the clock. For the holidays they're making two special breads: a brioche with and without raisins and stollen, which is a loaf with dried fruits and almonds.

Whole Foods is definitely the place to go if you're shopping for someone with gluten intolerances. Otherwise, their straight simple French Round is airy and light, and the Seeduction is fantastic for spreads or cheese in an appetizer-ish way.

If you can plan your visit at the right time, getting to the bakery at Central Market might not require too many jabs and elbows. If you get tired-head staring at all the options, here's a snazzy Bread Guide to mull over.

If you have time, Pioneer Woman taught me how to make this homemade cinnamon bread.

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