May 31, 2011
In this month’s Spanish Marie Claire, Elvira Lindo describes our Upper West Side location in a write-up about the role of bread in her life. She calls the Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies delicious and destructive, and is a fanatic of the brioche. She even walks two kilometers to get her fix of our breads!
May 30, 2009
With the kick off of Memorial Day, summer is officially here. Well, somewhat. We have still had some chilly days but we have had some real beautiful ones- and one of my favorite things to do on a beautiful day is have a picnic.
We are so blessed to live in a city with so many great parks around, one of my favorite being Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights. How great it is to pack a blanket, grab some friends and head over to any of the great parks this city has to offer and just relax! One of the most important elements of a great picnic is the food and one of the most important things to have is a loaf of fresh bread.
Our bread, here at Levain, is baked fresh everyday. They are all delicious …..My favorites for a picnic are the baguettes or a crusty ciabatta… Pair that up with some great salumi (my favorite- mortadella from Salumeria Rossi) and some cheese and I’m a very happy person. Of course, we cannot forget an ice coffee and a chocolate chip walnut cookie to end the meal. Soooooo good!!!!!!
So make sure to stop by next time you are preparing for next picnic-grab some bread and don’t forget to grab some sweets and you will be all set! Have fun!
March 9, 2009
In the next few weeks Connie and Pam will be offering several class dates with two different curriculums. Our hope is that you will leave with the confidence to take what you learned and make it at home.
The first curriculum will be Italian Breads which will include making a basic focaccia, ciabatta and pizza.
The second curriculum will be Breakfast where you will learn make our oatmeal raisin scones, bomboloncini and plain brioche.
Tuesday March 24, 7:30 -9:30pm – Breakfast
Wednesday March 25, 7:30-9:30pm – Italian Breads
Monday March 30, 7:30-9:30pm – Breakfast
Tuesday March 31, 7:30pm -9:30pm – Italian Breads
Class size will be limited to four people
Cost per person $250
To sign up go to:
Classes may be filmed
If you have any questions please contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 7, 2009
Alexis is part of our team of bakers and assists me with the everyday happenings at the bakery. She works really hard and always keeps us on our toes with her funny, zany stories and her love for comfort food like triscuits and cheddar cheese. When Alexis is working, we always know that our day will be full of laughter. PS-. Every song that comes on at the bakery is her “FAVORITE SONG”.
What’s your sign? Aries
Where did you grow up? Colorado
How long have you lived in New York City? 4 Years
How long have you been working at Levain Bakery? August 2008
What’s your favorite color? Orange
What’s your favorite thing at the bakery? Plain Brioche
Cat or Dog? Dog
If you could be a cookie package, where would you want to be shipped? Home
What smells the best when it’s in the oven? Baguettes
Chocolate Chip Walnut or Chocolate Chocolate Chip? Chocolate Chocolate
What’s your favorite song played at the bakery? Everlasting Love
What’s your least favorite song played at the bakery? TKO
If you could be one thing in the bakery, what would you be and why? Deck Oven, wish I had one at home, it bakes everything perfectly.
February 12, 2009
Both bakers were voicing their dissatisfaction with the results they were attaining. One with foccacia and the other with a pain de mie. I asked them what type of yeast they were using and both replied, dry fast-acting. Well, I said, that is probably the source of your problem, and began to extol the virtues of fresh yeast. Yes, it is hard to find, but not impossible. I suggest finding a restaurant supply company, or wholesaler, close to where you live. Or far, depending on how devoted you are. These wholesalers almost always have fresh yeast and almost always welcome a person walking in to purchase with cash.
This yeast is generally sold in one or two pound blocks, which for a commercial bakery is perfect; not necessarily the case for a home baker. I suggest weighing one ounce portions, wrapping them in plastic wrap, putting that in a freezer bag and then in the freezer. Then, you have your one, two or three etc., ounce portion ready when you are. Just combine with the warm water at the beginning of your mixing process.
Generally, one to two ounces is sufficient for most recipes.
This yeast is also not the fast acting type. It will take some time for your dough to rise. But I am a firm believer that the most important ingredient in bread is time.
So, go fresh and be patient!
(In New York City a great place to find fresh yeast is at the few remaining restaurant supply wholesalers in the meat packing district. One-Stop Restaurant Supply and Woolco.)
January 22, 2009
December 11, 2008
Thursday night and I have not written my weekly Thursday blog post.
I remembered earlier today that I had to write something and began to
think, what? Cornmeal.
I try to sometimes, this being one of those times, to think of quick, but really significant and delicious additions to bread. The crust of bread is probably my favorite component of the loaf; the
color, the blisters and dearest to my heart, the texture and taste.
For me, texture and taste are traveling companions, one rarely goes without the other. This is precisely where the cornmeal comes into
the picture. We have gone so far as to totally encrust a loaf of
semolina dough in cornmeal or just layering parchment paper with it
so that it forms a subtle crust just on the bottom. You will find
that it will enhance both companions immensely.
Either option, from total cornmeal immersion to just a crunchy hue, will give your loaf and new meaning!
November 20, 2008
If I were a gambler, I would bet heavily that Billy Joel never baked a loaf of bread. However, one of his most famous lyric is one of my favorite dough mixing montras, “Get it right the first, that’s the main thing. Get it right the next time..”.
Whenever I am teaching new employees, or refining my own dough mixing techniques, I am constantly trying to make them, or myself, aware of the measurements. Whether it is the amount of flour or the water, pay attention. Dough, like most of us, does not like to be tortured; it likes to get to its preferred consistently immediately. It does not like to be too wet, then have flour added to make it too dry and then have water added, and so on.
In an effort to develop, or hone, this skill, I think it is a really good idea to start off with a very simple bread recipe. Devote all attention to how much of each ingredient you are using. When adding liquid, do so all at once, with the confidence of a seasoned dough mixer. If the dough is not the desired consistency, (for a light, crispy baguette, I really like a very soft, although, not wet dough) add either flour or water to get the consistency that you want. However, take note on the adjustments that you made, so that the next time, or the time after that, you get it right the first time!
November 13, 2008
This is the first of what will be my weekly blog post It is truly a new frontier for me. I left the corporate world before the birth of Windows, laptops, Blackberries and Google and after years of standing in front of baking tables instead of a keyboard, I am just now trying to master emailing; blogging is, I hope, not totally out of my league!
I was never much of a baker before I went to cooking school, as a matter of fact I really steered clear of it. While at school, I was finally exposed to bread baking for the first time, I fell in love with the sheer beauty of it all. From the deep, dark, blistered crust to the intoxicating aroma, I was an instant bread devotee. There are few things more satisfying to me than creating a beautiful loaf of bread, from mixing to shaping, from proofing to scoring, to finally baking the loaf. Hearing the crackle of a perfectly baked boule as it comes out of the oven, as though it were applauding, is enough to hook one for life.
In the course of my postings I hope to encourage the timid (it is not nearly as complicated as you may think) and share ideas with the pros at home about our experiences with the dough.
Until next week….