Sometimes good bread happens in circuitous ways. Alexis Faraci has roots in the Bronx and Italy, not Germany, but she has built the city's best pretzel bakery. Here's how it happened.
'bread' on Serious Eats
A few years ago it would have unthinkable for a restaurant not to serve bread. Today the staff of life faces a number of threats, particularly due to perceived gluten threats and carb worries. Given this retreat, it's heartening when a highly regarded restaurant starts baking its own bread.
An empty oven is a baker's opportunity. Four years ago, the owners of Roman's in Fort Greene decided that they wanted to use their wood-fired oven to bake bread in the hours that it wasn't pushing out pizzas. Enter She Wolf.
Jewish corn rye bread is an endangered species, but two new-school New York bakeries are helping it make a comeback.
The loaf bread, great as it is, does not fit all purposes. Sometimes you want something custom-made for wrapping, dipping, or chewing. Flat breads are the answer, and not just pocket-filled pita. So here I present my favorite flat breads, many from the city's ethnic bakeries, whose whose customers understand the value and flavor of the 2-D loaf.
Empty kitchen space is the chef's bane. The owners of Ditmas Park's Farm on Adderley rented a space on nearby Church Avenue to use as commissary for their role as food purveyors for the Propect Park Celebrate Brooklyn! events. However, that only lasted three months of the year. What to do with the space for the other nine months? Open a bakery!
Whether you're making sandwiches or toast for pâté, sometimes only soft white breads will do. Here are the whitest breads I know.
Too few restaurants pay real attention to their bread baskets. For most chefs, it's enough to offer a few pro forma French rolls, grissini, and flatbreads. However, if they really want to integrate their bread baskets into their menus, they turn to bakeries like Bien Cuit to produce their own bespoke bread creations.
The Peasant Sourdough comes out the oven looking like some crusty rye loaf, but it's actually on the soft and thin-crusted side. As in many SCRATCH products, the bakers build the ingredients for this bread out of a small group of building blocks that are also used for other loaves. First comes the sourdough starter, made from oat mash, rice, and wheatberries. To this they add cane sugar, a bran mix of wheat bran, flax seed, and oats, and then a mixture of dark rye, whole wheat, regular wheat, and spelt flours.
If you're doing some last-minute holiday shopping today, stock up on sweet breads at Il Buco Alimentari.
The end of the year is a time of excess in the bread world. Bakers who spent 11 months tending their levains and sourcing locally-grown, organic rye flour suddenly pull out the white flour, sugar, booze, butter, and more sugar. But the city's bakers are an inventive bunch, so this year's crop of holiday breads offers incredible variety, both sweet and savory.
If you don't want to fight Brighton Beach parking, New York Bread off on Neptune Avenue (conveniently a few blocks from Totonno's is a perfect place to shop for Russian specialties like bread, smoked fish, pre-made salads, and plenty of kvass.
New York's bread world has gone through a seismic shift since our last baguette tasting in 2011. Which bakery is making the best loaf of French bread today? Take a look to find out.
In order to celebrate the season, SCRATCHbread, one of the city's most creative bakeries, has concocted a Mesquite Pork Sourdough with Maple loaf ($6.50) that captures its essence in bread form.
New York's baguette bakers like to play with their bread: Prosciutto, Parmesan and picholine baguettes! Kosher baguettes! Buckwheat baguettes! Big, soft, and crappy baguettes! So last summer, Keith Cohen of Orwasher's had a radical concept. What about making the best possible real French baguettes?
Bakers work notoriously long and irregular hours, with their days frequently beginning or ending in the wee hours of the morning. The question is, how to keep healthy? For Eric Kayser, globe-trotting founder of the Maison Kayser empire, and Yann Ledoux, overseer of his New York ovens, the answer is running.
Harvest time is a slippery slope leading directly to holiday feasting. In Central Europe, any fruit that isn't consumed fresh or canned is dried, to be turned into all kind of dishes that presage the holidays. In Switzerland and Southern Germany, dried pears are saved for Hutzelbrot—dried pear bread—which is now available at Runner & Stone.
My general bread-buying rule of thumb is the darker the better. Dark breads tend to have more flavor a more pleasing chew and a better nutritional profile. So here's a roundup of some of my favorite dark breads, both old and new.
The most famous Georgian bread in New York right now is khachapuri, a heavy, cheese-stuffed gut bomb that may send you in search of a nap. If you're looking for something lighter from one of Brooklyn's talented Georgian bakeries, seek out shoti, a lean bread that's something like the Georgian baguette, made in a much cooler oven.
One of the best places to see New York's bounty of dark, dense Russian breads is Brighton Bazaar, arguably the city's best Russian market. There you can buy aromatic, freshly-baked, glistening brown loaves coming straight from...Germany!?