A Better Bread

Gorgeous loaves and enticing sweets at Evanston's new Hewn

Ellen King's reason for launching Hewn is a simple one: "I missed bread."

Not just any bread, but the rustic, long-fermented artisan loaves she came to love while cooking and baking in the Pacific Northwest–those with craggy, caramelized exteriors and soft, gently sour interiors.

Three varieties that match that description are offered daily at her new Evanston bakery ($6 to $8 each): a straightforward country loaf; one made with whole-wheat flour; and one with varying ingredients, like herbs, olives or Parmesan, folded into the dough. Flour is organic, and dough is mixed by hand in broad wooden bowls made from repurposed barrels procured from nearby Few Spirits. Hit the bakery early, as the 80 loaves sell out each day.

The bakery's Moroccan-spiced roasted eggplant ($10 per pound) and other vegetarian salads make excellent picnic fodder. Baguettes ($3) double as sandwich bread, loaded with a variety of vegetarian fillings, including roasted cauliflower with feta-dill spread and beet greens ($8; check Hewn's Facebook page for daily sandwich offerings).

For dessert, or a sugar-rush breakfast, there are not-to-be-missed kouign-amann. In Hewn's version of the Breton pastry ($3), croissant dough is folded into a sugar- and sea-salt-lined mold.

The result is a flaky, layered top and a crisp, caramel-coated bottom–the type of thing you'll miss once it's gone.