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Mel - A(nother) Bakery


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Mel - A bakery  Excuse me - Mel - THE Bakery.

This is the ground floor of the quadrangular shaped building at the merging of Division, Ludlow and Canal Streets. Actual address where they may or may not receive mail - 1 Ludlow Street. Many a great time was had on the top floor of said building, when an illegal speakeasy was sometimes in residence - then known by the moniker Cocktails Over Canal. And then we heard many things about stuff that was planned for the ground and basement levels, none of which ever came to fruition.

Now, Mel...which opened this past weekend (maybe Saturday, maybe Sunday...who knows?).  The current business plan strikes me as interesting (note - after reading more, they obviously have other wholesaling they are doing) - they are open only for retail on Saturday and Sunday. According to another local business owner I spoke with yesterday, they may be affiliated with the hotel being planned (for only like the last 15 years) in the old, landmarked Jarmulowsky Bank Building, just west on Canal, in which it is alleged there will be something like 9 different dining/drinking "establishments" - and god save the lower east side, but it's too late for that.

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So I popped inside, and...sold out of everything.  But the stuff they still had for show, especially the lone baguette, looked very good.

Maybe  @Orik knows more? I'd love a real, authentic baguette. Maybe next week.

Oh - I should've known...Grub Street and others have scooped me of course...

Quote

At Mel, her new Lower East Side sourdough bakery, we are going to talk about it. Allen is deeply aware all this could be insufferable — fresh-milled, heirloom-grained sourdough focaccia with corn and blackened poblano peppers does tow a certain line — but it isn’t. Instead, Allen persuasively makes the case: Whole grains can be not only virtuous, but exciting.

Also interesting: right down the block, on Division, the Israeli bakery known as Michaeli.  The lower east side - land of the bakery.

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The cheese sticks at Michaeli are excellent, I can tell you that much. 

We got a croissant at Mel. It was seriously under-baked, which I assume time and confidence will solve.

I'm as curious as you are about the business model of a tiny bakery - maybe some items will go to a commissary later? But the breads looked very nice, and I like that milling in-house or at least using current harvest freshly milled flour has now become a standard for new bakeries.

On that note, we had the baguette from the Frenchette run Arcade Bakery and it was excellent. Not sure when they plan to pen to the public. 

 

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25 minutes ago, Orik said:

The cheese sticks at Michaeli are excellent, I can tell you that much. 

Oh yeah - I've had some of the other product, and it's very good too.  I only wish they would make some breads other than challah.

These places kind of remind me of the scotch tape boutique; or, to be more au courant, and also on the lower east side (where else?!), CW Pencil Enterprise.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This morning, I bit the bullet, as there were only a dozen or so people waiting when I arrived at 8:15 A.M. Still took a fucking hour. 

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So I figured, buy almost everything.

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So while not a classic French baguette style (or what I think I know to be French baguette style), very good. You gotta like crusty because this stuff is crusty.

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Cut in half to freeze. The nigella seeded rye (on the right) is good; haven't tried the sesame. Croissants were quite okay, so maybe they've solved that problem - or - we got lucky. i did ask about ordering in advance for pickup; they're still dealing only with wholesale for that. But are "working on it" for retail customers.

And I don't know how many they made, but they were already sold out of the rugbrød (which I wanted) at 9 .

Very earnest crew.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...
1 hour ago, Orik said:

Nice. Btw, have you tried Partybus Bakeshop?

Oh yes - also pretty good. That's the baguette they carry at Formaggio as well. As a matter of fact, I've actually bought Party Bus's focaccia mix and their corn meal.

Between you and me - none of these baguettes is like a Parisian baguette though. I don't know how to describe it - maybe that they are all a little bit heavier? Too sourdough-y?

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Do you have a non-frost-free freezer for hoarding good bread?

I've given up on keeping bread thanks to our fridge's drawer freezer. We're about to get a small manual-clean freezer, but she insists on an upright door for that, small improvement. Made home fries with breakfast for the first time since July 2020.

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37 minutes ago, Josh Karpf said:

Do you have a non-frost-free freezer for hoarding good bread?

I've given up on keeping bread thanks to our fridge's drawer freezer. We're about to get a small manual-clean freezer, but she insists on an upright door for that, small improvement. Made home fries with breakfast for the first time since July 2020.

Big old Kitchen Aid (whirlpool, Maytag, Amana) bottom freezer seems to do just fine. I keep it at its coldest setting (-3 F) which it surprisingly keeps accurately, according to a couple of freezer thermometers I have in there.  I'm not keeping it for long, a couple weeks at most.  And it gets double freezer bagged; other stuff gets vacuum sealed.

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