High Grain Bread Co.: A Higher Quality of Bread

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Story and Photos By Helena Tavares Kennedy

High Grain Bread Co. offers a diverse menu of freshly baked breads and sandwiches.

Have you looked at the ingredients label on your loaf of bread from the grocery store? Can you pronounce all of the ingredients, and do you know what they all are? Does it list azodicarbonamide, a common flour bleaching agent and dough conditioner, which happens to also be used in yoga mats and is banned in European and Australian foods? We hear more and more every day about the increased use of food preservatives, many of which we can’t even pronounce and have no idea what they are, possibly endangering our health.

That’s why it is so refreshing to see a local eatery and bakery that still takes the time to hand-make delicious items from scratch with ingredients you probably have in your kitchen and not your yoga mat.

Located on Sudley Manor Drive and open since 2014, High Grain Bread Co. is what you would typically think of when you say “local bakery.” As you walk into the small shop that has only a few tables and chairs inside and outside, you immediately notice the giant oven in the center of the room and the baking racks filled with rising dough or fresh out of the oven goodies that are cooling off, just like what you’d expect from a real bakery. The handwritten chalkboard menu and the friendly staff greet customers when they arrive, but the first thing customers will likely notice is the aroma—the unparalleled marvelous scent of freshly baked bread.

Two days after the items are baked, High Grain Bread Co. donates any leftovers to SERVE.

While a relatively small staff works at High Grain (about three or four people daily working in shifts), the bakery offers a diverse menu of not just freshly baked breads, as the name implies, but tasty sandwiches. The most popular items on the menu are the hot and steamy Philly steak, the savory Reuben sandwich, and the chicken or steak gyros that can be made with or without feta depending on the customer’s preference.

With its muffins, breads and other baked goods, High Grain Bread Co. is a great place to grab breakfast or to pick up a tasty sandwich or hot soup for a delicious hearty lunch. The cooks hand-pull chicken to make chicken vegetable soup from scratch. Let’s not forget about snacks and desserts, like the freshly baked muffins, tea loaves, scones, brownies, cookies, biscotti, cinnamon rolls and seasonal items like raspberry–white chocolate bread or heart-shaped brownies for Valentine’s Day. Recently doughnuts were added and are available on certain days.

We aren’t talking your usual breads either. Sure, there’s the hearty white bread, sourdough, or challah, but High Grain also offers some items you won’t easily find elsewhere like the Russian black bread or two-cheese bacon bread, and the menu changes often to include seasonal varieties and favorites. Not sure what to get? The bakery often has free samples you can try before you buy.

Freshly Baked Breads Every Day

What is most impressive about High Grain Bread Co. is the dedication to the highest quality ingredients and freshly made items every single day. The baker, +VE, started working at 1:30 a. m., for example, to get a head start on making Valentine’s Day cupcakes, breads and other treats for the day’s customers.

As you can imagine, fall and winter months are especially busy for High Grain Bread Co. with many customer pre-orders for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Amarasinghe said, “When the customers come in to pick up in the morning, the bakery is a sea of white thank-you bags filled with a variety of custom orders, and by the end of those days, the bakery/kitchen are bare, and the shelves are almost empty.”

What makes High Grain Bread Co. different from the larger chains in the area is that the bakery uses natural and fresh ingredients in its products and zero preservatives or corn syrup. All their items are baked fresh every day. You can check out the bakery schedule online (highgrainbreadcompany.com/bakingschedule.html) to find out which day your favorite bread is being made, so you can pick it up fresh that morning. Customers can also call in orders ahead of time and just pick them up later, including large catering orders if you need anything for a big meeting or celebration coming up.

Create Your Own

Customization is key for High Grain Bread Co. and not something you are likely to be able to get at larger chains where you have to order off the advertised menu. “We offer a variety of options to our customers when they come in,” said Amarasinghe. “Everything is customizable on our all-day breakfast and lunch menus, and you can even order a sandwich on breads we have on sale on the shelves. If our customers come in and don’t see an item on our menus that they want, but they know what ingredients they want, we can create a custom sandwich for them.”

Flexibility also comes in the sizes offered to customers. “For our scones and cookies, we offer singles as well as packs for purchase,” said Amarasinghe. “We always carry a different variety of bread each month, which we continually keep updated. We offer our customers two different sizes of our breads, which are regular two-pound loaves for families of three to five people, and mini 1.05-pound loaves so that we can serve individuals and smaller families as well.”

Meneka Calabrese, a customer from Manassas, said, “High Grain Bread Co. is awesome! I have my favorites that I always come in for, particularly the pork BBQ sandwich (slaw is the bomb), and the soups are delicious, every one of them. But I also try the many other items that are offered, especially if it is being offered as a “try me” sample. Hands down, best bread and bakery.”

Another patron, Terri Hollar from Manassas, who is one of High Grain Bread Co.’s original customers from 2014, walked in to pick up an order of heart-shaped brownies while I was there and greeted Amarasinghe with a big hug, affectionately calling him “boss.” When I asked her why she comes to High Grain Bread Co., she said, “I love coming here and have been since they opened in 2014 because the customer service is excellent, their pound cakes are amazing, all their stuff is made from fresh, great ingredients, and you can pre-order items making it very convenient.”

A Local Bakery Helping the Local Community

If you need one more reason to support this local business and get delicious bread and bakery items handmade daily, then consider the fact that items only stay on the shelves for two days. So anything you buy in the shop has been made either that day or the day before—now that’s fresh!

What does High Grain Bread Co. do with any leftover items that don’t sell in two days? High Grain Bread Co. employee Ashley Jordan was excited to share that “we donate it to the local Manassas SERVE program. The breads and bakery items are still delicious after two days, but since we don’t use preservatives, they don’t last as long as manufactured or chain store breads.”

If you find yourself anxiously arriving to try out the breads and sandwiches but see no free parking spaces, have no fear. Due to the bakery’s location, there is limited parking in the front, but plenty around back in the parking lot there. So make the switch from preservative-filled grocery store bread to handmade fresh bread and taste the difference.

Helena Tavares Kennedy (hkennedy@princewilliamliving.com), a longtime Prince William County resident who is always on the search for new authentic restaurants in the area, is a freelance writer and communications consultant and can also be reached at htkmarketingservices.com and livinggreendaybyday.com.


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