I kneaded to meet Jim Lahey.
The owner of Sullivan Street Bakery (oddly no longer on Sullivan Street after a split with his partner many moons ago and a move to Hell’s Kitchen and a newly minted outpost in Chelsea), proprietor of the pizza-centric restaurant and cookbook author, Mr. Lahey has made a defining mark on bread. He is gracious about his art and so self assured that he offers up his recipes in formats that are achievable for even the most awkward of home bakers.
You know his “pane” – the filone, di comune and pugliese – if you eat out in New York City since the bread on your table or in your shopping bag came by way of Sullivan Street Bakery’s wholesale business. So, even if you’ve never been to the bakery chances are one its crusty loaves have made it from his oven to your palate. Though, if you do have the chance it’s definitely worth the trip.
From the minimal-comforts of the small retail counter at the wholesale minded operation on West 47th Street to the sleekly industrial styled bakery-as-cafe on 9th Avenue, you’re in for some seriously great bakes. Thankfully, you’ll find no cupcakes here. His craft, honed in Italy,
started with a bit of wild yeast and small-batch artisanal baking that has spread to Roman-style pizze, rustic Italian dolci (the bombolini is what all donut makers aspire to but rarely achieve) and cookies. Oh, and the panini: seasonal and organic ingredients are specifically paired to breads for outstandingly delicious and nuanced sandwich creations.
Bread is not dead at Sullivan Street Bakery.