My lunch hour usually doesn't include a tour of a bakery, so last Friday when an old friend of mine invited me for a sneak peak inside Breads Bakery, a new carb-lovers destination around the corner from Union Square's Coffee Shop, I quickly accepted and hopped in a cab. Although still getting its finishing touches and gearing up for its opening next week, Breads Bakery already smelled like fresh, hot, baked bread and rising dough. Excitement was in the air as the bakery’s proud owner walked us past rows of wooden racks filled with baguettes, past bakers making slits in fresh pillows of dough, past an oven the size of a Hummer and smaller ovens with rotating trays of croissants oozing with marzipan and sliced almonds.
On our way out we were gifted with bags of bread, cookies and pastries which my friend and I divvied up with our bare hands. It was a challenge not to eat my way through the whole bag back at my office although I did sneak a few bites of the gooey cinnamon roll and the chocolate chip and walnut cookie; they both tasted as perfect as they looked. When I got home that night, I used the fresh bread for a Manchego Cornichon and Pickled Jalapeno Grilled Cheese with Chipotle Mayo and a dessert of French Toast with Rosemary Maple Syrup. That heavenly bread had the perfect combination of crunch, chew and heartiness and brought my recipes to a new height. I can’t wait to stop by during Breads Bakery’s grand opening this Wednesday (Jan 30) to try more of their gorgeously crafted baked goods. Breads Bakery, Breads Bakery, 18 E. 16th St., nr. Union Sq. W.; 212-633-2253 breadsbakery.com
Manchego, Cornichon, and Pickled Jalapeno Grilled Cheese with Chipotle Mayo
Makes 1 sandwich
2 thick slices crusty Breads Bakery baguette
1 tablespoon butter
2 thick slices manchego cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
3 teaspoons Chipotle Cholula hot sauce
8 slices pickled jalapeno
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spread butter on both pieces of bread and layer each evenly with cheese.
Place the slices, cheese side up in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and the underside of the bread is golden brown.
Meanwhile whisk together the mayonnaise and Chipotle Cholula until blended and set aside.
Remove the cheesy bread from the oven. Place the cornichons and pickled jalapenos evenly on one piece of cheesy bread and spread the chipotle mayo on the other piece. Sandwich together both pieces and serve immediately.
French Toast with Rosemary Maple Syrup
Makes 2 pieces
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon whole milk
1 drop vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 slices Breads Bakery sandwich bread
Add the maple syrup and rosemary to a saucepan over very low heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
Whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla extract, sugar and salt until combined. Soak bread slices in the mixture until completely coated.
Add butter to a pan over low-medium heat and add bread to the pan until the egg is cooked through and the bread turns golden brown. Flip the bread to the other side and do the same.
Serve the french toast immediately with butter and the rosemary maple syrup, straining out the rosemary as you pour.
Photos by Alan Foreman