Posts Tagged 'baking'



I got a call early this morning and it was a woman from my building telling me that I finally was picked off of a waiting list to have a small plot in our community garden. Boy was I excited! Now I could finally plant some of my dad’s plants that he has grown from seedlings. Tomato plants, pepper plants, red leaf and basil! My own mini garden-something I can take care of and nourish with my own hands. I can watch as a little something grows and turns into a big something. I’m excited!


Then I thought to myself, that’s basically what happens here at the bakery everyday. We use our hands to create all the great things our customers see when they come in. Everything starts off as pieces or ingredients that we piece together to create a larger thing. Our hands help us mix, fold, measure and shape. Our hands take care of and nourish every item from our yeast starter to the cookie dough we shape to create our amazing cookies. All of our items are handled with great care and with lots of love and respect. That is why everything tastes so great!


So I guess when I go home tonight, I’ll treat my hands to a massage. Sometimes I have to stop and think how hard they work everyday. They help me do all the things I love to do in my life- like planting and especially baking, here at the bakery.



We’ve had a busy few weeks at Levain!  


First our sticky buns on Oprah!  Thank you Mark and Gail for your appreciation of, and your votes for our cinnamon raisin sticky buns.



Last week our Italian Bread class, last night our Levain Bakery Breakfast class.




















Today a celebration of Alexis M’s birthday! 




And, last but not least, we are all loving this sunny taste of Spring today!  The perfect weather to enjoy coffee and breakfast on the bench, in the sun before it gets too hot.  Enjoy the day!


Alexis M




Alexis is part of our team of bakers and assists me with the everyday happenings at the bakery. She works really hard and always keeps us on our toes with her funny, zany stories and her love for comfort food like triscuits and cheddar cheese. When Alexis is working, we always know that our day will be full of laughter. PS-. Every song that comes on at the bakery is her “FAVORITE SONG”.


Name:  Alexis         


What’s your sign?   Aries


Where did you grow up?   Colorado


How long have you lived in New York City?   4 Years


How long have you been working at Levain Bakery?   August 2008


What’s your favorite color?    Orange


What’s your favorite thing at the bakery?    Plain Brioche


Cat or Dog?   Dog


If you could be a cookie package, where would you want to be shipped?  Home


What smells the best when it’s in the oven?  Baguettes


Chocolate Chip Walnut or Chocolate Chocolate Chip?  Chocolate Chocolate


What’s your favorite song played at the bakery?  Everlasting Love


What’s your least favorite song played at the bakery?   TKO


If you could be one thing in the bakery, what would you be and why?    Deck Oven, wish I had one at home, it bakes everything perfectly.













It seems, here at Levain Bakery, that a few of us are in love with Italy as well as baking.  Some of us even attempt to study Italian in our free time and fantasize about living there.  So it should not be surprising that two of us are in Rome now, for four short days, and will report back on the sites, the food and the wine next week! 



And, of course, we will also have the results of our traditional, unofficial, Oscar pool!




For our Spring classes ( we will be offering the following two curriculums


Italian Breads








Breakfast with Levain Bakery



Plain Brioche


Dates and more information will follow next week so check back!

Fresh Yeast

Recently, I have had two conversations, with two different bakers, about yeast.  Dry, fast acting yeast.  yeast2


Both bakers were voicing their dissatisfaction with the results they were attaining.  One with foccacia and the other with a pain de mie.  I asked them what type of yeast they were using and both replied, dry fast-acting.  Well, I said, that is probably the source of your problem, and began to extol the virtues of fresh yeast.  Yes, it is hard to find, but not impossible.  I suggest finding a restaurant supply company, or wholesaler, close to where you live.  Or far, depending on how devoted you are.  These wholesalers almost always have fresh yeast and almost always welcome a person walking in to purchase with cash.


This yeast is generally sold in one or two pound blocks, which for a commercial bakery is perfect; not necessarily the case for a home baker.  I suggest weighing one ounce portions, wrapping them in plastic wrap, putting that in a freezer bag and then in the freezer.  Then, you have your one, two or three etc., ounce portion ready when you are.  Just combine with the warm water at the beginning of your mixing process.


Generally, one to two ounces is sufficient for most recipes.  


This yeast is also not the fast acting type.  It will take some time for your dough to rise.  But I am a firm believer that the most important ingredient in bread is time.  


So, go fresh and be patient! 


(In New York City a great place to find fresh yeast is at the few remaining restaurant supply wholesalers in the meat packing district.  One-Stop Restaurant Supply and Woolco.)


whole_wheat_raisin_walnut_loaves1You may not have noticed but is has been a few weeks since I have been around.  The past two weekends I was busy taking an intense, fabulous digital photography course, the results of which you will hopefully notice!  Our teacher was great.  If you like photography check out her website  Hopefully some day I will have a site of my work which will certainly include lots of bakery photographs.    ciabatta_baking1mixing_dough

Last week we finally got our long awaited new stools and new lights at the NYC location!  We are very excited, they look great.  The design company of has been working with us on updating and replacing some of things that need replacing finally after 13 years of use and abuse!  It has been a long process but the girls at JamesGreenberg are all wonderful.  Heidi and Jackie are also two women entrepreneurs, like us.  In the next few weeks we will be installing new stair treads, some additional new lighting, as well as an update to our façade eventually.  Little things but perhaps they will help customers to be able to find us a bit more easily and not to think that we are such a “hole in the wall” as we have been told.



Last but not least, we are almost done with our class schedule and curriculum for the next few months.  If you are interested keep checking our website, for details and, if you have already expressed interest you will be getting an email with all of the information.  Also remember to email your friends and families the webcam photos from your bakery visits! 

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July 2018
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