The column explores the unique and interesting loaves and table breads that bakeries and stand-alone restaurants are including in their menus.
Bread is our subject this issue, as recently we have been surrounded by many interesting products: superior laminated pastries, whole artisan loaves, and specialty bread designed for the restaurant table.
Éclair Bakery and Patisserie in Chicago is owned and operated by pastry chefs Désirée Di Falco and Maxime Rossetto. They create a distinct striped chocolate croissant with layers of light, flaky dough. The appearance alone is stunning; the taste among the best we’ve had anywhere in the world. These pedigreed bakers developed their craft at the renowned Ladurée as well as under several master craftsmen in Europe. They are now in their second year of business.
If you haven’t picked up a loaf at Zingerman’s Bake House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we recommend that you do immediately. One can easily order from their internet store that ships their artisan breads and pastries all over the country.
There are far too many superlative breads at Zingerman’s Bakehouse to profile here, but some thoughtful use of pure grains caught our attention. The Dinklebrot, pronounced dink-el-brote, is certainly special. This bread was taught to the staff by a visiting German baker. It is an all spelt loaf mixed with mashed potato, local honey, and lots of toasted sunflower seeds. The Jewish Rye bread is a Bakehouse specialty containing natural sour starter and authentic local rye flour. This is the perfect rye loaf. We sampled an array of stone hearth bagels that are displayed in the front of the store. We really enjoyed the Curry Bagel with golden raisins, full of Indian spice offset by the sweetness of the raisins.
In many of Chicago’s free-standing restaurants, offering unique table bread is a trend that encourages pastry chefs to develop their bakery muscles. We’re excited to share a couple of interesting restaurant recipes this month.
Ana Arvelo, a local Chicago baker representing the next generation of artisans, developed a Purple Corn Hominy Muffin intended to accompany hearty soups and stews in a restaurant setting. She uses organic Incan purple cornmeal direct from the Andes and adds savory spices and white corn hominy to coax South American flavors and textures.
Craig Harzewski, Pastry Chef of NAHA and Brindille Restaurant, offers his Moroccan Spice Bread and Cherry Fennel Seed to their guests. What is striking about these breads is their assertive spice. These breads have so much personality; unique to the baker and the restaurant. His Moroccan Spice Bread blend of toasted fennel seed, anise seed, cumin seed, caraway seed, clove, and cinnamon provides a true warming sensation. The Cherry Fennel seed bread is delicious, with tart and earthy flavors complementing the chew of the well-defined crust. We imagine them easily holding their own against hearty savory dishes throughout the meal.
We hope you take inspiration in these bakery offerings and we encourage pastry chefs and bakers to develop more signature offerings that stretch their creativity and embrace distinct flavor profiles spotlighting fermentation and grain.
Find 'Material Handling: A Course in Bread' recipes in the DessertProfessional.com Recipe section or click the links below.
JMPurePastry is a Chicago-based pastry solutions group specializing in high quality, well designed products for the restaurant, baking and hospitality industry. The duo is also responsible for the 2-time Emmy-Award-winning Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition video series. For more information, visit www.JMPurePastry.com.