Darker Crust, Exceptional Flavor

Flour, yeast, water, salt. That’s it. And yet, so many varieties of bread. We’ve been experimenting with these four essential ingredients—plus time, temperature and technique—ever since we first hung a Macrina Bakery sign over the door of our original bakery and café in Belltown in 1993. That’s a lot of loaves, a great many early mornings, a mountain of flour. The one constant: our desire to make great bread.

And that means never losing your sense of wonder over the marvel that is bread.

Increasingly, we’ve added wheat from local farmers. Cairnspring Mills in nearby Skagit Valley mills it to our specifications. We’ve spent some time exploring how hydration and fermentation impact different flours and have enjoyed the results of recent bread additions to our offerings. Beginning July 15, we will bake many of our loaves at a higher temperature. The deep caramelization of the crust adds a depth of flavor that you can’t get any other way. The higher oven temperature also produces a creamier crumb and a crackly crust. The moist interior also helps the bread keep better.

When Macrina Bakery first opened, we had a small four-door electric Bongard oven. Now we have much bigger ovens and many more loaves to bake. But Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder, and Head Baker Phuong Bui, who has been with us since that first year, still oversee every element of our production. It’s fun to see them so excited about a loaf of bread, the way the crust crackles when you break into it, the texture of the crumb, and what one can do with just four simple ingredients.

Brown Sugar Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake

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There are many reasons to live for raspberry season, and this is one of them. The moist tender crumb has that buttery brown sugar sweetness, which finds its complement in the refreshing tart flavor of the raspberries. The recipe comes together quickly and your house will smell wonderful while it’s baking. The raspberry glaze and topping of chopped roasted almonds make it a beautiful treat for brunch or dessert.


Makes one 9-inch x 5-inch loaf

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cups almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped; divided
6 oz (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1¼ cup milk
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (frozen will also work)

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp raspberry jam



Preheat oven to 325°F

Prepare a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan by brushing the interior with oil. Cut a 10-inch x 9-inch piece of parchment paper and press it into the pan to prevent sticking.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add ½ cup almonds and toss with a spoon to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the butter and brown sugar. With a paddle attachment, mix on medium-low speed until light in texture and pale in color, about 4 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, almond and vanilla extracts; mix well. Add the egg mixture to the creamed butter in 3 additions. Incorporate the liquid before each addition. Lower the bowl, scrape the sides and paddle, and mix again to incorporate everything.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the mixer bowl, making 3 additions of each. Lower the bowl, scrape the sides and paddle, and mix again to incorporate everything. Add the raspberries and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.

Scoop the mix into the prepared loaf pan and level the top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cake will be golden brown.

Let cool for 1 hour.


Combine the powdered sugar, milk and raspberry jam. Whisk to dissolve all lumps. If the glaze is not pourable, add a dash more milk.

Remove the coffee cake from the pan and place it on a serving plate. Pour the raspberry glaze over the top and garnish the center length of the loaf with the remaining almonds. Enjoy!