The search for a great loaf of bread is one that all of us serious eaters constantly engage in—one with the perfect crust, the right grain, and is just chewy enough.
Does it exist?
Yes. In a place as vast and diverse as New Jersey, there's bound to be more than one answer. Each bread-baking culture has an example worth looking at; big round Italian loaves, little Portuguese ones, traditional American recipes out of wood-fired ovens, and middle-eastern pitas all exist here in excellent versions. This week's installment in the search will be Taskin Bakery in Paterson, home of the state's best Turkish bakery.
Walk into Taskin and you'll be greeted with that Garden State rarity: a big smile. Taskin is a happy place for an obvious reason—anybody who works around stuff this delicious has to feel good. It's all run by the Taskin family; Mom, Pop and daughters who seem to have gotten into the whole thing by accident. Back in Turkey, the dad worked in a government office, but wound up in a pizza shop when he first came to the States in 1995. Somehow, this morphed into bakery ownership by 1997 and now it's going strong.
Pide are meant to accompany Turkish food, but I find they go with almost anything. As I write this, I'm eating one spread with peanut butter. The recipe may be from Turkey, but its as universal as a bread can get.
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