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Best Bakery in New York City


Lafayette Grand Cafe and Bakery

Lafayette Grand Cafe and Bakery


Since my last blog I’ve been to New York for a long weekend. If you’ve never been and you love great food, fantastic art galleries, great bookshops and being in an exciting lively city then you must go. Just before I left, my cousin, knowing how obsessive I am about bread, sent me a link to a  recent New York Times article about Chad Robertson and his fabulous bakery Tartine. At the bottom of the article was a link to  5 great breads to eat  in New York. Did the New York Times actually know that I was about to go, I ask myself?  I can think of nothing more useful to help plan my trip.

I was going to accompany my dear Dad who was speaking at the UN at an event on teaching the Holocaust through the Arts and we were only going to be there for a long weekend. I knew I’d have to plan carefully all the things we wanted to do, so I wasn’t going to have a huge amount of time for bakeries. I  had considered going to Jim Lahey’s Sullivan Street Bakery, which is of course one of the bread shrine’s of the world in my opinion- but I have been there before.

Here’s the link to the article about Chad Robertson’s wonderful bread

Tartine’s Country Bread: Be Patient, Perfection Is Near


Chad Robertson’s recipe has reached cult status among passionate home bakers.

and here’s the link to find out about 5 great bread’s in New York

As luck would have it, we needed to find a great place for Sunday Brunch in order to meet up with a cousin of my father’s. One of the recommended breads came from Layfayette, which is both a bakery and cafe, so that’s where we went.  The first thing I ordered was some slices of their magnificent looking baguettes

photo 3 Fanastic crust and what holes!

My Dad loved it- and then enjoyed a delicious eggs benedict with brioche toast- mmm…

photo 5photo (3)


I do recommend Lafayette-  a perfect brunch spot

photo 1

We both really enjoyed the Holocaust Education through the Arts event. He was talking about developing his website on music in the Camps and Ghettos. Here’s the link to the film of the event. His bit is at 1 hour 30mins.

Do take a look at the music in the holocaust website too


Making Sourdough with Stoneground wholemeal flour from Woodbridge Tidemill

imageI had heard that you can get stoneground flour milled at the Woodbridge Tidemill, so we went on an expedition to see if we could get hold of some.

It was a lovely bright day and when we got there we did a tour of the Mill.   I believe this is one of only two tidal mills left in the UK . The earliest record of a tidemill on this site was in 1170, and it has been operating for over 800 years. It has recently been fully restored  as a living museum and  they mill twice a day, producing  their 100 % traditional stone ground wholemeal flour. Check out their website (

stoneground mill flour

Below is a picture of the internal workings of the mill

workings of mill

I recommend going round the back of the mill and standing on the deck to look out on to the glorious Deben

deben back of millback of mill near waterwheel

As soon as  I  was home and I got going with a Sourdough loaf with my lovely stoneground flour. Whole grains need special handling to produce great flavour and texture, with a longer autolyse stage than ususal. (This is the stage when you mix the sourdough with the water and flour, before adding the salt)   This gives the  wholegrain flour a really good opportunity to start breaking down during the fermentation process, before adding the salt and the rest of the flour. The inspiration for this method comes from the wonderful Chad Robertson’s latest Tartine book  ‘Book No.3 Modern Ancient Classic Whole’


2 cups wholegrain flour
1 cup strong white bread flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 tblspn refreshed starter ( I used white starter, see previous blogs for how to make this)
1 1/4 tsp salt


1. Mix together the starter with the water and make sure the starter is fairly evenly distributed

2. Add 2 cups of the wholegrain flour, cover with cling film or shower cap and leave overnight

dough fermented

It should look nice and bubbly by the morning

3. Stir the salt into the white flour and add to the sourdough mixture, mixing until all the flour is hydrated and cover again.

4. Leave it in a warm place – here’s mine on the mantelpiece above the fireplace.

dough rising above fireplace

5. With a spoon fold 3 times after half an hour. (see previous blogs for details) and repeat every half hour for 3 hours. If you need to go out and can’t do these extra folds, that’s ok- it’ll just take a bit longer

6. After about 3 or 4 hours it should have become spongey and billowy.

7. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and stretch and fold and shape it into a round loaf shape (see previous blogs for details)

8.Flour your dough and place it either in a floured banneton basket or wrap it in a tea towel

9.. Heat the oven to 240 degrees F. with a medium or large Le Creuset pot inside, for 1/2 hour

10. Gently put your dough into the preheated pot and slash with a sharp knife. ( I slashed with a square shape)

11. Bake for 1/2 hour with the lid on and then 15 mins at 200 degrees, with the lid off

sourdough bread

Makes great toast!

lovley toast

The First Breadcompanion Bread Making Course


One of my favourite things to do is to share my enthusiasm for bread making- what better way to do this (other than writing this bread blog for you, dear followers) than spend a day with friends teaching them how to make Artisan Bread. I held it at my friend Rebecca Rauter’s house. She is a fabulous cook, and a brilliant food stylist, with a great eye. Her kitchen is very beautiful and has been featured in the Guardian ( and made a lovely setting for the course. Do have a look at this link for some of the stylish work she had done (

I started by giving everyone cinnamon rolls and coffee


and then we made rye crackers and rolled out no- knead bread dough, which I had prepared the evening before, for Pizza.

rolling out dough for rye crackers

rolling out dough for rye crackers

rolling out pizza dough

rolling out pizza dough

While we had been preparing the pizza and the rye crackers, I got everyone mixing up their no-knead bread dough and then we baked a no-knead bread, from dough I had prepared the night before.

No knead bread and crackers out of the oven and preparing pizza to go in

No knead bread and crackers out of the oven and preparing pizza to go in

In the afternoon we focussed on how to make Sourdough Bread and everyone mixed up all the ingredients to make their own sourdough dough and then we baked the dough I had prepared the night before


At the end of the course, everyone went away with no-knead bread dough and Sourdough dough which they baked this morning.


But the best part of the course for me has been all the photos that I have received today  of the bread that my friends  baked this morning- fabulous!

Here’s a selection


Borodinsky Rye Bread


I have long wanted to make Borodinsky Rye Bread, having read about it in Andrew Whitley’s excellent book ‘Bread Matters’. He, of all people is at the heart of the Real Bread Campaign, and if you’re not a member yet, do join. They are all about sharing the pleasures and benefits of locally-baked Real Bread.

I had a very enjoyable afternoon at the Real Bread Festival in Spitlafields a couple of weeks ago and bought a fair bit of bread (not something I usually do), but how could I resist when a number of my favourite bakeries had stalls. I came across a bakery I hadn’t heard of before called ‘Karaway Bakery’ and they had little samples of various loaves- all completely delicious. I decided that my favourite was Russian Borodinsky, so I bought a loaf and even though my family has said they don’t generally like rye bread everyone couldn’t get enough of this one.

So I thought it was time to have a go at making it myself. According to Andrew Whitley this bread gets its name from  the battle of Borodino when the Russian army  fought with Napoleon, just outside Moscow in 1812 and the wife of the Russian general decided to bake some bread with crushed coriander to encourage the troops.

I’ve basically used Andrew Whitley’s recipe, with a few minor changes. He makes it in two stages. The first is the development of the ‘production sourdough’ – which is a similar process to the first stage of making my prize winning sourdough (see my recent blog). It involves mixing your sourdough starter with equal quantities of rye flour and water.  The second stage involves  adding more rye flour, water, salt,  molasses and barley malt. The latter adds both a dark colour and a little sweetness.

I’d always thought this was a complicated loaf to make- but really it isn’t. You just have keep in mind that it takes a while. I started it by making the production sourdough on Friday night and then mixed the final dough on Saturday midmorning and put it in the oven by about 6 in the evening.

Making the Production Sourdough


1/4 cup of my white sourdough starter ( if you want to be purist then start refreshing your white sourdough start with rye flour until you have a rye starter)
1 1/4 cups dark rye flour
1 1/4 cups water at 40 degrees C


1.Mix everything together until you have a soupy dough
2.Cover and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours (I left mine in a warm kitchen)


Making the final dough


1 1/4 cups  Production sourdough
2 cups  Dark rye flour
1 tsp  salt
2 1/2 tsp  Coriander seeds
1 tblsp  Molasses
2 1/2 tsp  Barley malt extract (if you can’t get hold of this just omit)
1/3 cup +  1 tblsp water at 35 degrees c

One small bread pan greased with butter


1. Put 1 1/4 cups of the production sourdough into a medium sized mixing bowl and stir in the water
2. Add the molasses, barley malt extract and coriander seeds and stir in
3. Mix the salt with the rye flour and then stir that in too.

It will now be a lovely dark brown colour and very soft and wet


4. Sprinkle a few coriander seeds inside the buttered bread pan
5. Spoon the dough into the bread pan and gently smooth over the top with a wet dough scraper or knife. Mine comes about half way up the pan. Andrew Whitley says don’t be tempted to push it into the corners, it will find its own level
6. Leave it, covered,  for about 6 hours at room temperature, until it has risen nearly to the top of the pan and pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C


7. Bake at 200 degrees for 10 minutes and then turn oven down to 180 and bake for another 35 minutes
8. It can get quite dark, so keep an eye on it towards the end and cover with a large piece of baking parchment near the end
9. It should begin to shrink away from the sides at the end of baking
10. Take it out and put it on a wire wrack to cool
11. You are supposed to let it cool completely and then wrap in plastic or grease proof paper and not eat for 24 hours (I have only been able to make it to 12 hours, before we had to dive in)


I’ve just had it with strong French honey and lots of butter- yum!


I have just sent this recipe to Yeastspotting. It a great blog, do check it out

Warm Roast Chicken and Sourdough Bread Salad


This is one of my all time favourite recipes and it works well when you are having a large group of friends and family over for dinner which we did last night.  I first saw this recipe earlier this year in the Saturday Guardian Newspaper, written by Yotam Ottolenghi. (If you haven’t discovered him yet, you’re in for a culinary treat- I have his book called ‘Ottolenghi- The Cookbook’) He said this recipe was his take on chicken and bread salad from Zuni’s restaurant in California- I am dying to go there, but haven’t yet, however I also would highly recommend their cookbook.  This is now my take on Ottolenghi’s recipe.

You bake the chicken slathered in a tasty herb butter and then in the last 20 minutes you add chunks of sourdough bread to the baking dish. The bread soaks up the chicken juices and herbs and then becomes crisp. You let it cool a little and then tear up the chicken in to chunks and add the pieces of tasty sourdough bread, various salad leaves and raisins infused with sweet vinegar.

Yesterday I made this white sourdough loaf IMG_0559

to use in this recipe.


50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp picked thyme leaves
1 tsp grated lemon zest
Salt and black pepper
1 free-range chicken (1.5kg)
150g  sourdough bread, torn roughly into 3cm pieces
50g raisins
5 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
rocket and spinach leaves to cover the base of a large serving dish
about  3 tbsp olive oil
30g toasted pine nuts


Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Put the butter, garlic, thyme and lemon zest in a small bowl with a teaspoon each of salt and black pepper, and mash together.

Put the chicken in a baking tray just large enough for it to fit with some room around the sides for the bread. Massage the butter all over the chicken and under the skin – use your hands for this – then roast for 10 minutes. Turn down the heat to 190C/375F/gas mark 5, and roast for 30 minutes, basting occasionally.

Add the sourdough to the tray and roast for a final 20 minutes, turning and basting the bread once, until the chicken is cooked and the bread has absorbed most of the roasting juices and fried in the heat.  Remove from the oven and put the chicken on a  carving board to cool down. If the bread isn’t quite crispy enough, put it back in the oven in its baking dish for another 5 minutes and take it out when you think its crisp enough for you.

Meanwhile, put the raisins, vinegar and sugar in a small frying pan over a medium flame for two to three minutes, until the sugar has dissolved, and set aside. When it’s cooled a little add some olive oil to make up a dressing

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, but still warm, pull the flesh off the bone into bite-sized pieces. Put the leaves on a large platter and add the chicken, crunchy sourdough pieces and spoon over the pine nuts and raisin dressing.


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