When it comes to travelling, I always choose nature. I grew up at the countryside, so changing landscapes, nature sounds, openness and my heart at peace are what inspire me the most. Looking back, I’ve never had eyes for architecture, concrete jungles and intense noise. All the cities were alike and I never really understood the city vibes – until I visited New York City in June this year for the first time. It felt like home and again I would feel that spaciousness I search for in the nature. My heart was at peace.
I was drawn by the city dynamics and as I wandered through the city I tried to soak up all the vibes powering the city. One of my major wishes was to experience the city’s sourdough bread. I’d read so much about the New York bakers before I got there, so this was like a dream come true.
What I’m sharing today is a list of bakeries that inspired me and my sourdough baking during my two stays in New York City this year.
If you’ve visited New York City or you live there, I would love to hear about your favorite bakeries, just leave me a comment below!
Bakery mentioned below are listed alphabetically.
NOTE: click on each name to visit the bakery’s website.
Amy Scherber is the owner and founder of Amy’s Bread, a nationally recognized bakery/cafe that specializes in hand-made, traditional breads as well as sandwiches, sweets, and old-fashioned layer cakes. Their hearth-baked breads are made using traditional European methods. They use small batch sizes, sourdough and sponge starters with a minimal amount of yeast, slow fermentation, and hand shaping to achieve flavorful, crusty breads with a moist and chewy crumb.
If you visit Amy’s bread, make sure you try (among others sourdough breads) sourdough chocolate twists, you won’t regret it.
Amy’s Bread, Chelsea Market, Manhattan
Balthazar Bakery, Manhattan
Suggested by one of My Daily Sourdough Bread readers (thank you, Grant!) who live in the area, this bakery is definitely on my list for the next visit.
As written on their website, their favorite breads are large, dark-crusted loaves reminiscent of the days when communal village ovens were fired only once a week. In those times families shaped their dough into massive rounds because bigger loaves would stay fresh longer than smaller ones, and their bread would remain moist until the oven was fired again. Here you can check their bread menu.
Bien Cuit, a french word for well done or well baked, is the name of the bakery lead by chef Zachary Golper. Inspired by his first croissant at the age of ten in Paris, his breads at the bakery have been largely influenced by the French bread-making tradition. You will find a variety of sourdough breads with good colorization, and made from local, high quality ingredients.
And when you’re there, don’t forget to order one of the delicious pastries and sweets.
Bien Cuit, 120 Smith Street, Brooklyn
Located just few steps from the Union Square, Bread’s Bakery is a place where its main chef Uri Scheft blends his two backgrounds into all he bakes, from Scandinavian dark rye breads and marzipan in his almond croissants to Jewish staples like chocolate babka and challah. The bakery is filled with good vibes and feels very comfortable. Sourdough bread I’ve tried has distinct flavor compared to other New York sourdough breads, it’s more similar to European sourdough breads I’m used to eat. Oh, and chocolate rugelach – to die for!
On my last New York City visit in September, one of the personnel brought their famous freshly baked chocolate babka on a tray, smelling georgeusly. He offered the babka to my boyfriend as well, but he kindly refused to take a piece of it with words: No, thank you, I’m gluten intolerant. And it the same second boy with babka would reply: That’s illegal here! 🙂
Bread’s Bakery, 18 East 16th St. NYC (Union Square), Manhattan
“The first bite reveals everything about the ingredients and the expertise of the baker.”
Maison Kayser is the bakery founded by world renowned French baker Éric Kayser. Born into a family of French bakers, he decided to pursue his career in baking at the early age. He opened his first bakery in 1996 in Paris. Today, Maison Kayser has over 100 shops in over 20 different countries, each of them organized in the pure tradition of the french bakery (boulangerie). In 2012, first Maison Kayser opened in the United States, on the Upper East Side in New York. Since then he opened several bakeries in Manhattan, to meet the demand of its customers in different neighborhoods.
Maison Kayser, Manhattan
Founder of the Sullivan Street Bakery, Jim Lahey, renowned New York baker best known for his no-knead bread, opened the bakery in 1994. A variety of Italian countryside inspired breads (like filone, pane di comune, stirato, pugliese, strecci, ciabatta, pizza bianca etc.) italian pastries and cookies are available at the bakery, making it hard to decide which one to buy, as one could easily be tempted to buy a piece of each.
He describes his style as Jim Lahey style. “I always like to take something as a point of departure or inspiration and then riff on it. ” and as he describes in his book My bread: Good bread should be a masterpiece of contrast, crackling as you bite through the browned, malty-smelling crust, then deeply satisfying as you get to the meaty, chewy crumb with its wheaten, slightly acidic taste.”
His initial interest in bread was incidental to other aspect of his life, art namely. Jim Lahey studied sculpture before learning the art of bread baking in Italy. In 2009, he opened the doors to Co., his first pizza restaurant, located in Chelsea. The name is short for Company, a word whose Latin roots refer to the phrase “with bread”. I tried Popeye pie and I tell you, it was the lightest pizza I’ve ever had in my life.
Sullivan Street Bakery, Chelsea (left) and Hell’s Kitchen (right), 533 W 47th Street, Manhattan
Whole Foods Market, Brooklyn
Open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, Greenmarket is located in one of New York City’s great public spaces, Union Square. Here, you’ll find everything from just-picked fresh fruits and vegetables in season, to heritage meats and award-winning farmstead cheeses, jams, pickles, cut flowers and plants, wine, ciders, maple syrup, artisan breads and much more.
One of my favorites bread stands is the She Wolf Bakery stand, located in Queens and lead by the baker Austin Hall. Check their work and places to buy their bread here.
PS: Wonder where to find good breads in New York City? Sourdough bread, chocolate bread, white bread, flat breads, pretzels, you name it, Andrew Coe from Serious Eats covers them all, check his articles here.
If you live in NYC or you’ve visited it, what is your favorite sourdough place? I’m all ears 🙂