Wisconsin’s best bakery you’ve (probably) never heard of

Credit: ORIGIN

By Christina Lorey

November 1, 2023

Here in Wisconsin, bread is among our main food groups: it’s a great vessel for beer-cheese dip AND a tasty bed for brats! While bakeries like Stella’s in Madison get a lot of hype for their hot and buttery bread (deservedly so!), a small shop you probably haven’t heard of is the Capital City’s best-kept secret… until now.

ORIGIN Breads, located on the corner of Main and Brearly inside the Main Street Industries building in Madison, is a Wisconsin hidden gem.

Since 2016, owner Kirk Smock has been making three variations of delicious sourdough: the ORIGINal (a mix of whole grain wheat and rye), the Driftless (100% whole grain wheat), and the Classic (a country-style loaf with whole wheat.)

RELATED: How to Make Sourdough Starter From Scratch (it’s just flour & water!)

Smock’s secret, he says, is staying local from start to sale. He handcrafts each loaf with exclusively local grains (from Lonesome Stone Milling in Lone Rock) that are milled fresh to order.

At first, Smock wasn’t sure how to get his business going, so he started delivering bread samples to managers at local grocery stores. Soon, his loaves earned a spot on the shelves of all three Willy Street Co-Ops, Metcalfe’s Market, the Jenifer Street Market, the Regent Market Co-Op, and Fresh Market.

Wisconsin’s best bakery you’ve (probably) never heard of

Credit: Food & Wine

Last year, ORIGIN Had the honor of representing Wisconsin in Food & Wine Magazine’s “The Best Bread in Every State.”

MORE: The 10 best places to order pumpkin pie in Wisconsin


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.


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