Posts Tagged ‘Nordic Breads’


Bread (Photo credit: CeresB)

BREAD, the staff of life, gimme the dough/money!  Bread has always played a major role in our lives and diet.  When I was growing up, we lived in area where the milkman delivered milk to your door and the bread man delivered bread.  They were both white;  by that I mean we were getting pasteurized white milk and ultrarefined industrial white bread, so prevalent in the 50’s.  My dad bought Wonder bread for us, my friend, Susan’s mom bought Sunbeam.  Once in a while my father would bake delicious Italian bread with tiny bits of pork rind in it.  Warm from the oven and slathered with butter…no wonder I take a statin every day now!  Then along came Dr. Atkins and bread became the enemy.  The war against carbs still rages on, however, real bread in its naturally leavened, long-fermented hearth-baked form has enjoyed a comeback, especially in New York City where there are several well-known and much-touted bread bakers.  We have Eli Zabar, Tom Cat’s Noel Labat-Comess, Bread Alone’s Dan Leader to name a few. Bakeries such as Amy’s Bread, Sullivan St. Bakery and Balthazar Bakery produce such delicious bread, you really can make a meal out of it! 

Here are New York’s top 5 new-wave breads:  Try not to drool on your keyboard.

1.Roberta’s – CITY WHITE LOAF – Why would Melissa Weller leave the kitchen Per Se to toil in a converted shipping container? Three words: Wood. Fired. Oven.  Her bread has a dark and crackling crust, with a moist crumb.  It’s beyond “Rustic” in looks, more like a throwback to some communal oven in 19th century Paris.  

2. Nordic Breads – FINNISH RUIS – If you’re a New Yorker, you know rye bread.  However, there is a Nordic newcomer among us and this bread is dark, dense, flat as a Frisbee and has a tang that intensifies as you chew.  High fiber content, organic and made with a sour-dough starter smuggled in from Finland. Produced by Nordic Breads.

3. Hot Bread Kitchen – M’SMEN – Their repertoire ranges from corn totillas to Sephardic challah.  Their mission is to train immigrant women to parlay their native expertise into management positions in the industry.  Headquartered in East Harlem, the most extotic and delicious of their offerings is m’s men, a rough-textured, butter-and-oil enriched North African flatbread that’s rolled, slicked, and folded into a delicious envelope of dough. Rich and flaky like a croissant with the tender-crisp chew of paratha, the m’s men is girdled golden-brown and traditionally eaten at breakfast in Marrackech.

4. Runner and Stone – BUCKWHEAT AND PEAR – Peter Endriss, formerly of Per Se and Bouchon Bakery is creating such wonders as a Cheddar-and-hard-cider loaf, a sourdough whole-wheat walnut with dried sausage and red wine and a pain au chocolate encasing port-infused figs. Local grains, natural leavening, and long fermentation all conspire to make his squarish buckwheat pear loaf a thing of crusty, nutty beauty, its speckled crumb a triple-grained canvas (rye and spelt too) for nuggets of sweet poached fruit.

5. Roman’s – SPROUTED SPELT – Baker Austin Hall appropriates a corner of Roman’s kitchen after hours to bake breads for service and for retail sale on weekends.  He makes a naturally-leavened sprouted spelt, a sturdy burnt-umber sourdough loaf with a crackly, darkly caramelized crust and crumb riddled with New York State spelt berries. It’ a health bread for hedonists.

I will continue this list with more mouth-watering breads next week.


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