If you open a brasserie these days, you have to take bread seriously. Case in point is Lafayette, the new French restaurant in the old Chinatown Brasserie space on Lafayette Street. Walk in the door and the first thing you're greeted with is a counter displaying racks of brown loaves and glistening pastries that are an immediate sign of the eatery's ambition.
For decades, the Hudson Valley has been a breadbasket for New York. Back in the 1970's and 80's—when the artisan back-to-the-bakery movement was at its peak—idealistic young bakers fled the city determined to hone their craft in a less stressful environment that was closer to the soil. Rock Hill Bakehouse, which sells at the Union Square Greenmarket, is one of those efforts.
The re-opening of Smorgasburg has brought a dizzying array of new vendors selling food products you didn't know you wanted: Teriyaki balls! Chicken burgers! Bite-size cheesecakes! Amid them all, it's great to discover a vendor offering something that we really need: great bagels made by a top-flight baker.
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.
The approach of spring has given New York's bread bakers a burst of creativity. Here are five must-eat loaves to mark the end of winter.
Pain d'Avignon is the great New York City bakery hiding in plain sight. It doesn't advertise or otherwise toot its horn. Yet its delicate, crispy rolls fill the breadbaskets at many of the city's top hotels and white tablecloth restaurants. Not bad for three guys from Belgrade who arrived here a little over 20 years ago with only a few dollars in their pockets.
Uri Scheft, the head man at Breads Bakery, arrives in New York with a distinguished baking pedigree that spans from Israel to Denmark. His Union Square bakery is already drawing regulars, and his northern European-style breads definitely warrant the attention.
In Lisbon, Alfama is the name of the historic center of the city, built around a medieval castle. In New York, Alfama is the name of little Portuguese restaurant in Midtown that makes some special bread.
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.
New York has only been baking sourdough for about 40 years, but in that time the artisan bread revolution has given us some wonderful loaves.
Here are ten breads—lean and nutty as well as rich and sweet—perfect for holiday tables, all from some of New York's best bakers.
For New York's German community, the rarest holiday tree on the market this December isn't a plant but a cake. In Germany, baumkuchen, or "tree cake," is a Yuletide fixation ubiquitous in bakeries and holiday markets. It's made by coating a spit with layers of batter and baking them layer by layer in a special oven, and you can find it at Stork's Bakery in Whitestone.
When the James Beard Award-winning chef Maricel Presilla goes to cook Latin American food, her first stops are the markets in Hudson County, New Jersey, where she can find everything from enormous cow feet for menudo to Peruvian dried corn for ceviche.
In 1997, Balthazar opened its doors on Spring Street. Downstairs in the basement, a corner was set aside for a little bread-making operation. On the first day, every table was decorated with a basket containing house-made breads: a baguette, a whole wheat, a rye, and so on. Fifteen years later, nearly identical loaves are still sold by the Balthazar Bakery, which has grown to be one of the city's biggest and most consistently excellent artisan bakeries.
Thanks to its incredibly diverse immigrant population, the stretch of South Brooklyn from Coney Island to Sheepshead Bay is one of the city's richest feeding grounds for those interested in ethnic eats. Unfortunately, as readers know, it is also one of the low-lying neighborhoods hardest hit by the Sandy surge. Here's our report on the state of South Brooklyn's bread.
Leavened with yeast instead of baking soda, chocolate bread has a delicate complexity that rises above other cake-like breakfast breads. Here are four great spots to satisfy your bread fix.
A peppery porkiness suffused the air at Serious Eats World Headquarters last week. The aroma curled around the nostrils of the worker bees, drawing them from their seats toward a big table covered with plates. "Oh my God, I love that smell!" said one. Ignoring that we'd just had lunch, we prepared to sample ten of the loaves variously called lard or prosciutto bread from around the city. Here are our recommendations for loaves you should seek out.
This new rye bread from Dean & DeLuca is made with dried Genoa salami, Gruyère cheese, roasted hazelnuts, and Beaujolais nouveau wine instead of water.
There are bakeries that emphasize crust, and there are bakeries that emphasize crumb. I'm a crumb man myself, so that's why I love Silver Moon Bakery. Not that its loaves don't have a nice crisp crust; they just aren't wrapped in those hardened carapaces that tear apart the insides of your mouth when you chew.
There's a lot of mediocre challah in this city. Here we separate the wheat from the chaff and try to identify the city's quality loaves in a range of styles for every kind of Rosh Hashanah.
The opening of a great new bakery in town doesn't just give us bread hogs another place to purchase our loaves. It also raises the bar for all the other bakeries, forcing them to work a little harder to make the best product. New to the mix is Maison Kayser, just opened on Third Avenue by master baker Eric Kayser, who is as ambitious and creative in Paris—and Dubai and Singapore—as Eli Zabar is here.
Peter Endriss, Runner & Stone's baker, is one of the many alumni of the Per Se bread ovens who have gone on to run some of the city's best bakeries. He's been selling his bread at incubator markets like Smorgasburg in Brooklyn and New Amsterdam Market in Manhattan, as places to spread the word about the Runner & Stone café and restaurant, slated to open in September.
Hot Bread Kitchen, the incubator kitchen with an excellent bakery, has opened their first retail bakery in Harlem.
One of the country's largest purveyors of "artisan breads" has just landed on Fifth Avenue. The shelves of the city's latest Panera Bread restaurant are stocked with about two dozen different loaves, as well as bagels and a wide variety of pastries. But that leads to a question: what, exactly, is artisan bread?
I met with some food writers, chefs, and the patriarch of an appetizing store clan to taste some corn rye, a classic New York Jewish loaf that risks extinction in modern bakeries.
The Ironbound district of Newark is a pancake-flat trapezoid hemmed in between the city's downtown, the Passaic River, and the highway. For almost a century, it's been home to a thriving Portuguese community, rivaled in size only by Massachusetts communities like Fall River and New Bedford. The Ironbound's main drag, Ferry Street, is lined with Portuguese, Spanish, and Brazilian restaurants selling platters of paella, barbecue, and the like. If you want a bite of something just as Iberian but not so gut-busting, head to Teixeira's Bakery, with two stores in the Ironbound. The line to the counter is often forty deep, but it's worth the wait.
If you want to judge the state of bread in New York, a good place to start is the bread counter at Dean & DeLuca's main store at Broadway and Prince Street. Here you find a wide selection of great loaves both haute and earthy, from the latest Manhattan artisan sensation to old school breads from the farthest reaches of the outer boroughs.
Talk about crust. That's the first thing you notice about Sullivan Street Bakery's breads. Here's bakery founder and owner Jim Lahey: "The crust of bread has to do with how bread is cooked. The crust is something that forms during the cooling process. I like cooking things to their highest expression. I like the contrast of soft and crunchy. I like to taste the by-products of lacto-fermentation in dough. That's what gives a unique flavor to the crust."
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.
There's a trio of cartoon skeletons dancing on the window of a bakery on Brooklyn's 4th Avenue. Just inside the door, you find an elaborate altar decorated with sugar skulls, comic skeleton figures, bottles of tequila, photographs of deceased relatives, candles, crosses, and round loaves of sweet bread decorated with bone designs. This is how the family that owns Don Paco Lopez, maybe the city's oldest and certainly its best known Mexican bakery, celebrates the lives of its ancestors.
[Photos: Andrew Coe} In the Guyanese bakeries of Brooklyn, every bread is linked with a specific food. At Tota's Bakery in Crown Heights, the platt or plait bread is a big, braided white loaf that looks like challah without...
The rest of the country knows Hoboken for the sculpted sheet cakes that come from its most famous bakery. They're swathed in sheets of Satin Ice brand fondant tinted a rainbow of hues not found in nature. Even on the coldest days, the line for Carlo's Bakery, of reality show fame, stretches for blocks down toward the train tracks. Hobokenites know their city for the good bread produced by the bakeries that aren't featured on TV.
The Japanese like their bread soft and fine-grained. This is partly due to the baleful influence of American culture, post-World War II, when the taste for Wonder-style white loaves spread with American food rations into Japanese society. Today, Japanese may eat more bread than rice, mainly as breakfast toast and quick-lunch sandwiches. Most of this is shokupan, a big, white Pullman loaf that's sold in crinkly cellophane bags. Like any bread, it can be ruined by adding preservatives and too many cheap ingredients. In New York, the place to buy your shokupan is Tribeca's Takahachi Bakery, where the cooks are committed to quality, freshness, and wacky invention.