But wait! Is Breads Bakery French? Israeli? Danish?
Master baker Uri Scheft was born to Danish parents in Israel, where he grow up. His training and travels took him to Europe where he learned traditional baking techniques and brought them back to Tel Aviv where he had been running LeHamim (bakery and cafe) since 2001. Lucky for New Yorkers, he has been baking sweets at Breads since January of 2013.
Breads immediately gathered a flock of fans who follow the sweet trail down E. 16th St. to enter a pleasure den of irresistible aromas of butter, chocolate, nuts and cheese, oh my!
Chocolate babke oozing with Nutella and dark chocolate chips, fruity and fragrant croissants and magnificent baguettes, 100 % rye breads, fig and walnut loaves, flaky cheese sticks are baked throughout the day where racks of rising dough and industrial size mixers are visible just 50 feet from the counter. Unlike most bakeries, Breads bakes throughout the day, guranteeing the freshest, most delectable treats I’ve tasted in a long, long while.
With a cafe menu that suits vegetarians and healthy eaters, the sandwiches are reasonable priced and include Middle Eastern favorites like Tunisian, Sabich and Baba Ganoush.
Students, residents and tourists wander from the greenmarket and nearby classrooms for their strong coffee fix, salads and treats through out the day.Counters in the front and a smattering of tables encourage noshers to stay a while.
I dare you to not have dessert even if you’ve started off with one of their healthy salads of super fresh greens topped with quinoa, chickpeas or tuna salad.
Baked delicacies shift with the seasons (fruity fillings of apples and pears come from the greenmarket, as do veggies for the buttery quiches) and the holidays (I was BLOWN AWAY by a generous gift of hamantaschen delivered by a friend last Purim).
Naturally, Rosh HaShanah treats include plenty of apples and honey. The challenge is choosing between Apple Galette, Safta Cake (Safta= grandmother in Hebrew) moistened with honey and dotted with cubes of apple, pareve (non-dairy) honey cake or Apple Babke.
Did I mention the chocolate babke?
In case you can’t get to Breads on time for the holiday, consider baking Uri Scheft’s challah. Want some help with braiding instructions? Click here.
Just be sure to add a stop at Breads next time your in the neighborhood. There is NO WAY you will leave empty handed.
Breads Bakery is at 18 East 16th Street, NYC
Hours: M-F 6:30-9 PM; Sat. 6:30-8 PM and Sun. 7:30-8 PM.
Note: Breads Baker is not a kosher bakery. Their menu is vegetarian with some fish items (no shellfish). There are some non-dairy baked goods available. It is the perfect spot for anyone kosher like me.
Breads Bakery offers baking classes although none are scheduled at this time. They will schedule a class for groups upon request.
Anyone want to join me for a baking class at Breads? Leave a comment below and we’ll try to schedule one. Let’s do it!
Thank you, Breads Bakery, for sharing this recipe and all photos.
This recipe was generously shared by Master baker, Uri Scheft, Breads Bakery in NYC.
For non-dairy challah, chose sunflower or corn oil from the ingredient list.
To create round challah, simply follow the instructions for braiding and coil into a circle, pinching dough to close the circle.
- 6 cups (800 grams) sifted white wheat flour
- ¼ cup (60 grams) sunflower seed oil, corn oil or melted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cups (320 grams) water
- 6 tbsp (80 grams) sugar
- 3 tbsp 30 grams) fresh yeast
- 1 tbsp (12 grams) salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- Sesame, poppy, pumpkin, sunflower and nigella seeds- chose any or all
- Pour water into kneading bowl and crumble yeast into the water
- Add these ingredients in following order: flour, eggs, sugar, salt, oil
- Using a dough hook, mix on low speed for 4 minutes to combine ingredients
- Increase to medium speed and knead for another 5 minutes until a soft, smooth dough is formed
- Remove dough to a slightly floured work surface, and roll into a ball
- Place ball of dough in a lightly floured bowl
- Cover bowl with kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost double in volume
- Divide dough (using a knife) into 3 equal parts, and divide each part into 3.
- Roll each part into a 25 cm-long cylinder
- Braid each three cylinders
- Place the three braided Challahs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Cover the Challahs with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 35 minutes
- With 15 minutes left until proofing is complete, preheat oven to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit
- Once the Challahs have doubled in volume, gently brush the Challah with beaten egg and generously sprinkle with sesame and poppy seeds
- Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until golden-brown
- Remove from oven and cool on rack