What happens when a master Israeli baker with Danish roots is one of the owners of a Manhattan bakery? Luckily, you get Breads Bakery — a new purveyor of breads and pastries that helps New Yorkers forget about their diets and pledges to eat healthy.
Uri Scheft crafts desserts that span a variety of cultures. There are Babka (sweet yeast cakes) and Rugelach (crescent-shaped cookies made from a cream cheese dough), typically associated with Eastern European and German Jewish baking. But there are also French-inspired Almond Croissants and Chocolate Croissants. And in a nod to the petite dessert trend, there are small desserts – Mini White Chocolate Tarts as well as Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts.
I put a few questions to Uri Scheft and these are the questions and his answers:
Since you were used to baking in Israel, what are the unique challenges of running a U.S. bakery?
I had to sample many different flours before I found the perfect one for my breads and pastries. The water is also different here but the flavors that people love are the same. We haven’t needed to alter any of our signature items to cater to the American clientele.
What characterizes your pastry baking at Breads Bakery?
I love taking classic pastries and putting my unique twist on them. An example is altering the flavor of a classic Babka to become seasonal. I added apple to the Babka for the Jewish New Year. [Note: on the Jewish New Year, apples are often dipped in honey to symbolize the wish for a Happy New Year.]
Which of your dessert items are especially popular?
Our Chocolate Babka has won rave reviews by foodies and customers throughout the City. He also noted that the Almond Croissant is very popular and he said he’s “extremely humbled by the success we have received on these particular items.”
Are there plans to offer other white chocolate pastries? I’ve enjoyed your Mini White Chocolate Tarts.
One specific white chocolate item is the Alfajor [sandwich cookies, often associated with South America]. And I’m constantly updating our menu to feature different items.
It’s a good thing I don’t live that close to Breads Bakery — this way I burn off calories walking there and back!