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.
'baguette' on Serious Eats
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?
After suffering extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy, Almondine is back open in Dumbo. Once again we can enjoy Almondine's excellent patisserie and, more importantly, some of the best baguettes in New York.
Per Se's former head baker, Peter Endress—whose breads you could find weekly at Smorgasburg—have settled into the Gowanus at Runner & Stone Bakery and Restaurant. And in a couple respects, they're better than ever.
What bread is more classic and more French than the baguette? This recipe from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking is simple, really. Just flour, water, yeast, and salt. But with bread baking, ingredients are sometimes less important than technique. Take the same ingredients, even in the same quantities, and if you handle them in a different way, you'll end up with a completely different bread.
The yeasty heart of the Daniel Boulud empire is hidden at the end of an East Village alley, through an unmarked door, and down a long, brightly-lit corridor. There, amid a phalanx of stainless steel ovens, mixers, and other machines, genial master baker Mark Fiorentino and his team of assistants turn out a dizzying array of breads for Boulud's half dozen restaurants.
In July, he opened his bakery, La Boulangerie, in Forest Hills. It's evidently a good-bread-deprived neighborhood, because on weekends the line is out the door.
I can't get through the day unless I have a couple of slabs of good bread, toasted and smeared with cream cheese and jam, along with my morning coffee. For me, "good bread" has to be fresh, with a great aroma; I have a great appreciation of all the dense breads out there.
There are "grilled cheese people" and then there are people who could honestly take it or leave it. It's not that I don't have some serious nostalgia tied to the sandwich. Shoot, I might even crave it when I'm sick. But I usually find them boring, heavy, and one-dimensional. But I was immediately attracted to this Gourmet recipe that spruced everything up with curry mayonnaise and thinly sliced fennel. It's still indulgent, but the curry powder helps enliven each bite, and the fennel adds some crunch.
Not the winning baguette, but an example of a tasty one. In a baguette tasting at Washington City Paper, the home-baked baguette by journalist Samuel Fromartz of Chewise took the highest score—66.5 of 80 points, compared to baguettes from other bakeries and stores in the Washington, D.C., area. Check out Fromartz's recipe if you want to try it at home. [via rebeccablood.net] Related Good Baguette Recipes [SE Talk, 3/27/09] Baguette Keyboard Wrist Cushion Baguettes Are Us: What's Your Favorite...
With a concept as simple as bread and tomatoes, a recipe seems almost worthless. But this one from Saveur stands out, if only for the garlic-infused bread. It's not an overwhelming stale garlic bread flavor—just a hint that perfumes this...
Turning on your computer this morning, did you notice something missing under your wrist? Not enough flaky French bread there? When the carpal tunnel syndrome is ailing your poor, overworked wrists, rest them on this long, cushiony baguette. You can almost hear the squish on that gel foam—which probably doesn't taste good with butter and jam....
Photograph from Daily Feed Boccalone Salumeria in San Francisco makes their proscuitto cotto with provolone panini out of an inverted baguette, allowing the tender inner part of the bread to get crisp and creating "more textural interest with its chewy crust melded to the melted cheese." Like I needed even more reason to want to eat a sandwich filled with thinly sliced pork and molten cheese. [via Eater SF] Related In Videos: Chris Cosentino at 'Boccalone' A Bicycle Built for Sausage...