LV Recommends: Baked goods, made from scratch in Eastern Iowa

If you’re on the hunt for an award-winning bread program, a neighborhood gem or the most satisfying cookies, these bakers have what you’re looking for.

Deluxe Cakes & Pastries, Iowa City — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Deluxe Cakes & Pastries

812 S Summit St, Iowa City
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Walking in the front door of this neighborhood bakery is an immediate mood-lifter and hits reset on any bad mood, grumbly interaction or sour note. Truly. If you’re having a rotten day, take a break and treat yourself to a little pause at Deluxe. Tell me you don’t feel better. As soon as you enter, there’s an array of gorgeous baked goods lined up to greet you and a friendly face behind the counter to serve you. The amazing team of skilled bakers is on full display so you can sip your espresso and watch someone else work for a bit. The pastries here are exceptional. As mentioned, you’ll find the cases lined with bronzed buttery croissants (order the apricot when it’s available!) and beautifully assembled fruit tarts alongside an assortment of other delights both sweet and savory. The quiche is superb with its crackly, croissant crust and rich savory custard filling. Quite honestly, they make the best baguettes in town, hands down. Come a bit ahead of lunchtime and the bakers have transformed those already perfect baguettes into perfectly unfussy French sammies ripe for midday enjoyment. In the summer months when their ice cream is on offer, stop by for an inventive yet refined twist on classic soft serve.

Bread Worthy Bakery, Iowa City — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Bread Worthy Bakery

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Bread Worthy Bakery is a licensed home bakery located on the east side of Iowa City that creates exceptional pastries and baked goods. Their “Saturday Bake Offs” are open for pre-order throughout the winter months, but when the weather warms, you’ll find them at the Iowa City Farmers Market on Saturdays. The ordering and pickup process is simple and streamlined, and the pre-order process affords you something concrete and guaranteed to look forward to when the weekend arrives — impeccably crafted pastries made just for you. Operated by Colleen Brenann and her partner Erick Dole, the pair met in pastry school in Florence, Italy and dreamed of opening a place of their own for years. After settling in Iowa City following stints working in kitchens and bakeries around the world, the team has developed a diverse menu which includes a variety of items ranging from finely layered, shatteringly good croissants and pains au chocolat to old fashioned coffee cake and beautifully nuanced cookies. Bread Worthy mills their own flour and berries in-house and has a keen eye for quality ingredients, using only the finest chocolates, artisan organic flours and silky traditionally crafted French butter.

Bread Worthy Bakery, Iowa City — Zak Neumann/Little Village

The Local Crumb

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This first-rate bakery, operated by James Beard Outstanding Baker 2022 semi-finalist Aaron Hall, exists without a true brick and mortar location. The baking operation is housed in a former school-turned-community-center in Mt Vernon, and pre-orders are made online and available for weekly in-person pickup in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Delivery is offered through Gallop Courier. The cornerstone of Hall’s bakery is bread and this narrow focus affords him the ability to craft impeccable loaves of sourdough bread that incorporate heirloom flours and ancient grains. Everything you sample from The Local Crumb, from the seeded sourdough, to the brioche rolls or the everything bagels has been executed with precision and attention to detail. It’s more than obvious the care Hall takes in producing his goods based on visual appearance alone — the breads are richly colored and beautifully shaped — but the subtle distinction in flavor profiles and the variance in crumb and texture across offerings shows a true understanding and appreciation for the art and science of baking. The Local Crumb partners with many area restaurants to keep them stocked with high-quality bakes. You’ll notice his handiwork on the menu at The Webster and on the weekend-only menu at DAYDRINK in Iowa City and Cobble Hill Restaurant in Cedar Rapids.

Rustic Hearth Bread

3531 Mt Vernon Rd SE, Cedar Rapids
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Rustic Hearth Bread was recently voted Food & Wine’s best bread in Iowa in 2022, and for good reason. The team of bakers begin by milling their own flour before they set out to bake the deep-toned, naturally-leavened loaves they’re known for. While the sourdough loaves might get star billing, the rest of their menu is marvelous, too, more than worthy of sampling your way through. The sandwich breads elevate anything put betwixt a pair of hearty slices, and the Breakfast Loaf — a whole wheat loaf marbled with seeds, nuts and dried fruit — will give you something to look forward to when that alarm sounds in the morning. The baguettes are thick with a beautiful coloration and a chewy, light interior. When asked for their recommendation, the regulars patiently waiting in line first suggested the pretzel rolls, followed by the cookies, before ultimately deciding on the croissants. Not all items are made every day but the bakery peppers in monthly bread specials and Saturday-specific items like filled doughnuts, turnovers and kouign amann. FYI: Having some of their whole wheat pizza dough stashed in your freezer at home is like money in the bank, so it never hurts to throw a few in with your next order.

More Delectable Delights

For the ooey-gooey-frosting-loaded cinnamon roll lover…

Kettel House Bakery

945 6th Ave, Marion

According to staff, the majority of people visiting the shop have their sights set on the bakery’s signature rolls. On many days, these sugary treats are sold out by eight am.

For housebaked bread turned into lunch…

Great Harvest Bread Company

5070 Lindale Dr NE, Cedar Rapids
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Have the bakery staff turn a few slices of the best looking loaf into a hearty sandwich made to your liking, or pair with your favorite soup for a classic combo.

For the cookie-lover…


1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids
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Don’t be fooled: the Toffee Butter Cookies are super simple, but super good. To the unacquainted, they might not seem like the impressive choice (check out the pies and pound cakes) but when sampling and sharing with family, we all got a little greedy for the last bite.

This article was originally published in the 2022 Bread & Butter dining guide.

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