There are some aromas that can’t be duplicated, and one of the best is the sweet, warm olfactory welcome one gets upon entering a bakery.

While Baltimore does not have as many neighborhood bakeries as it once had, a surprising number have remained in existence for decades, and several predate the Great Depression. The fall and winter holidays are a busy time for these businesses, with increased demand for baked goods for entertaining, family celebrations and gift giving.

This article describes some of the best scratch bakeries east of Charles Street. A future article will describe bakeries on the west side of town.

The city’s oldest bakeries are Fenwick and Woodlea in Northeast Baltimore, and Hoehn’s in Highlandtown. Both the Fenwick (, located in Parkville, and the Woodlea (wood are known for their marshmallow-filled doughnuts. They also produce a wide variety of breads, rolls, pies, cakes and cookies.

The Fenwick, which opened in 1913, has a tiny counter area, with no customer seating. Gardenville’s Woodlea, celebrating 65 years in existence, is larger, with tables and a coffee machine for customers. Both retain a strong sense of history and are neighborhood institutions.

Hoehn’s (400 S. Conkling St., 410-675-2884), founded in 1927, makes a popular peach cake every summer. The fake-wood paneling and dim lighting make it a little dreary, but the eclairs and jelly doughnuts are worth the trip.

In downtown Baltimore, a relatively new bakery is continuing the tradition of scratch baking with an Italian flavor. Piedigrotta (piedi was started six years ago in a tiny Little Italy storefront by Carminantonio and Bruna Iannacone. Last year, the bakery moved to larger quarters at 1300 Bank St., at Central Avenue, allowing for expanded seating capacity and a lunch menu of sandwiches and salads.

From an immaculate kitchen showcased in a picture window, Piedigrotta produces a variety of breads, including an Asiago cheese loaf, traditional Italian desserts such as rum cake, cheesecake and tiramisu, and mouth-watering treats such as cream puffs, cannoli and flavored biscotti. Piedigrotta’s pastries can be enjoyed with Danesi Caffe, a very smooth Italian espresso.

Piedigrotta has a second location at Cross Street Market, which is open Tuesday through Saturday.