I have reason to celebrate. The other day I spotted a handsome new bread at the Union Square Greenmarket. Bread is one of my vices. So is greenmarket shopping. But the two don’t always go together. Despite many stalls selling loaves, it’s not easy to find a good bread there. Under-proofed, over-priced, under-baked, and more-often-than-not leaden, the breads (and baked goods) are not the highlight of the market. For good, solid, flavorful loaves I’ve been limited to the consistently well-made, hand-formed loaves of Our Daily Bread. They aren’t there on Mondays, so to start my week I usually purchase the fresh, crusty loaves from the focaccia lady—I can’t recall the name of her bakery—who blesses you as she makes change.
But a couple of weeks ago I spotted a new bread case installed alongside the bags of freshly milled grains lined up at attention at the Cayuga Pure Organics stall. The case was filled with deep, dark, whole-grain, hearth-baked loaves with the distinctive flour rings that evidence banneton (French bread basket) proofing. I was intrigued. I liked the way it looked. And I liked that they only had one bread for sale. It showed commitment. Integrity, perhaps. I asked for a boule, forked over a shocking $8 for it, and brought it back to my office. Unable to wait until I got home, I cut into the bread at my desk. The dark crumb, studded with sprouted grain, was heavy with flavor but delicate to the bite. The crust was well formed. The bread was excellent. It stayed fresh for almost a week. I made egg salad sandwiches, I toasted it and spread it with sweet butter and homemade jam. I was very excited.
The following Wednesday I approached the stall for another loaf. I learned the mill had only been making the bread for a few weeks. They were very happy with how it was going. Me, too, I said.