Spring Mill Bread Co.

Catch the sweet, yeasty aromas wafting from Spring Mill Bread Co., and you can just smell a winner. Indeed, this is the third year in a row the bakery has won Best of Bethesda.

Opened in Bethesda in 1993 by Katherine Rurka and her late husband, Steve, Spring Mill sprouted a second location in Gaithersburg in 1996 and a third in southeast Washington near Eastern Market in 2011.

Its soft, healthful, comforting breads, which range in price from $5.35 to $7, and its home-style cookies, quick breads, muffins and more are also sold at MOM’s Organic Markets, the Chevy Chase Supermarket, Broad Branch Market, area food co-ops and other stores.

Katherine Rurka, 48, says the Bethesda shop attracts a “real big mix,” from moms with kids to office workers.

“I like that they use natural ingredients—it’s wholesome food and it’s delicious,” says Dean Packard, who works at Merrill Lynch in Bethesda and has been patronizing the shop for 15 years. Packard loves Spring Mill’s cinnamon raisin and peasant white loaves, its oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and a “really good” chicken pesto sandwich for lunch.

A former financial analyst and pharmaceutical saleswoman, Rurka tests out new recipes at home.


“I was a chemistry undergrad, and here I am making muffins,” she says. On the horizon: more pies.

4961 Elm St., Bethesda, 301-654-7970; 12187 Darnestown (Route 28) and Quince Orchard roads, Gaithersburg, 301-977-7733; www.springmillbread.com

Other Top Vote Getters: Just Cakes, Fancy Cakes by Leslie, Stella’s Bakery, Praline, Breads Unlimited