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Edible: Old Upper East Side Bakery Has A Fresh Artisan Perspective On Bread

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An old bakery on the Upper East Side has a new take on bread coming out of its 100-year-old oven. Rachel Wharton of EdibleManhattan.com filed the following report.

In the basement of the 100-year-old Orwasher's Bakery on the Upper East Side, both the bread and the creativity are on the rise.

Edible Manhattan featured the East 78th Street shop in its current issue, thanks to the bakery's underground brick oven that's nearly as old as the city itself. But when Keith Cohen bought the Jewish bakery in 2007, he decided to upgrade the place into a true artisan operation.

Now breads like rye, sourdough and whole grain begin with bubbling vats of starter cultivated the old-fashioned way. Loaves are shaped by hand and left to rise with time, instead of with chemicals.

Cohen also buys kegs of Brooklyn's Sixpoint Craft Ale to make beer breads and Long Island grapes for their natural yeasts.

Cohen: Here's one of the wine breads that we created, this is called the Cabernet Rustica. And you can feel the crust here.

Rachel Wharton: It has Cabernet grapes?

Cohen: That's correct. And this is why we think it's so special.

Wharton: So tell me what's going on here.

Cohen: This is a factor of a long fermentation process and a very wet dough. And you can taste the difference.

Those who prefer soft white or seeded rye do not need to worry. Orwasher's bakes 100 different breads.

"Over here what we have are the original branded Orwasher products. We have our pumpernickel, our challah, our cinnamon raisin, our pumpernickel raisin, our walnut raisin and of course the rye breads," says Cohen. "Over here are all the new breads I've created since we're here. We have our SoHo sourdough, we have organic spelt bread, we have our Swiss Health, our multi-grain, our Cabernet Sesamo, our Cabernet Rustica, our Sixpoint Ale bread, the Chardonnay miche, which is one of my favorites, and the ultimate whole wheat."

To read more or subscribe, visit EdibleManhattan.com.

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