EARTH DAY 2017, APRIL 22
Bread Alone is extremely pleased to use Earth Day 2017 to announce a 200KW solar array project for the roof of our main bakery. In partnership with Alfandre Architecture of New Paltz, NY, an area leader in environmentally responsible design and construction, Bread Alone will be installing the array this summer.
Once complete, the array will provide the majority of our power needs during peak daylight hours. As importantly, the array will contribute power back to the grid when energy production outpaces our needs, providing green energy for others in the community.
For Bread Alone, this project captures our commitment to building for the future. This means taking action to produce our organic breads with the lightest environmental impact possible. In combination with smaller efforts over the past few years, such as launching a composting program, converting our delivery fleet to industry-leading 4 cylinder diesel vehicles, we believe that this project shows our deep commitment to treading lightly in the world.
We are extremely thankful for the support in the community for these efforts. Ulster Town Supervisor Jim Quigley has supported the expansion of Bread Alone in our new bakery, and notes that we now "join a group of businesses in the town of ulster that prove that a commitment to sustainability is good business."
Similarly, County Executive Mike Hein, a leader in championing responsible economic development in the Hudson Valley, notes that "Bread Alone continues to set an example for sustainable economic development in the region. Following their expansion just 3 years ago, we are thrilled to see Bread Alone take this action on protecting our environment. Projects like this are more important now than ever."
From our first loaves in 1983, Bread Alone has always been motivated by a commitment to community and environment. We are ever thankful for the continued opportunity to serve our community delicious, honest breads and foods.
We will provide additional details and updates on our solar project in the coming weeks.
In September we decided to change the coffee that we serve in our cafes to Irving Farm Coffee Roasters. Coffee is an important ritual and part of the day for many of our customers (and for many of us!), so we did not make this change without careful consideration.
Irving Farm's location in Millerton (a short drive from our main bakery) first grabbed out interest, but ultimately we switched because of the shared values between businesses. Both Irving Farm and Bread Alone are committed to creating a product that is sustainable for the earth, good for you, accessible to all -- and just delicious.
GREAT COFFEE STARTS WITH RELATIONSHIPS
Just as we source the highest quality ingredients that we can find, Irving Farm works hard to develop partnerships with their farmers across the globe, and to source a carefully cultivated bean. They maintain close relationships with farmers and their families, sourcing their beans from Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Ethiopia. Each harvest produces new subtleties of flavor that influence the blends season to season.
These partnerships allow Irving Farm to educate their consumers about the entire coffee process, from bean to cup. And Irving Farm is deeply committed to educating their customers: They recently opened a dedicated coffee education center in Manhattan.
The center serves multiple purposes: to introduce the everyday coffee drinker to the artisanal coffee brewing process, to hold classes and workshops for baristas, and to develop relationships with wholesale customers through trainings. Earlier this year, we sent our own crew of baristas to train. They left with an enhanced understanding of the brewing and cupping process to better serve our customers at the cafes.
OUR FAVORITE BREWS
We serve four of Irving Farm’s blends at our cafes: 71 Irving, Gotham, Farm Brew Decaf, and Blackstrap Espresso.
The 71 Irving is designed to be an all day drinking coffee. It’s mellow enough to be enjoyed black but also bold to stand up to milk and sugar; it satisfies every type of coffee drinker.
The Gotham blend is all about the roasting process. As a darker roast, the bourbony and charred wood notes come out in the caramelization from the roast.
The Farm Brew Decaf is a sweet and herbal organic roast that can be enjoyed throughout the day.
Finally, the Blackstrap Espresso is a big sweet flavor with hints of chocolate, complemented well by milk.
BORN AND BRED IN NEW YORK
Irving Farm opened their first cafe in New York City in 1996, before the idea of the coffee shop as community space came into fashion. The owners David and Steve were looking for a place where neighbors could gather, and saw an opportunity to build relationships through their coffee. They began roasting out of a barn in upstate New York and have since expanded to their new roasting facility in Millerton. Building on their foundation of bringing people together, they hope that their new roastery allows customers the opportunity to be a part of the coffee roasting process.
GOOD COFFEE (AND BREAD AND TREATS) FOR ALL
Irving Farm ultimately aims to produce coffee that tastes like coffee, while enriching the drinking experience with the subtle flavors of the farms. This creates a coffee that is accessible, intentionally blended, and of course delicious. We think that these qualities are the perfect complement to the bread and treats that we work so hard to create for you.
When you have that next cup of coffee we hope you’ll take an extra moment to reflect on and appreciate the great Irving Farm story.
We update our cafe menus at least two times each year, for Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. We change ingredients for the season, change items to improve or replace old ones, and generally push to continually improve what we do.
What are we trying to accomplish when we look at our menus? Big picture, we want our food to satisfy your everyday needs. That means we look to put out healthy, reasonably priced food that you can eat often. We pull menu influences from lots of backgrounds, but across them all we want food that is at once delicious and nuanced, approachable and affordable.
This Spring/Summer, we've added items to both breakfast and lunch that fill gaps in our old menu, and that we think are generally awesome. We've kept many old favorites, as well.
Please check out all of the new menus here (the cafes have slightly different menus), and read more about a few of our favorite items below.
TWISTS ON BREAKFAST FAVORITES
We added an Egg & Quinoa bowl as a hearty and healthy breakfast and brunch item. The dish features a base of quinoa, shiitake mushrooms, and swiss chard, topped with two eggs over easy. We serve the bowl with grilled focaccia to soak-up any leftover yolk. This dish became a quick in-house favorite for any time of the day.
Our Ham, Egg & Cheese elevates the corner-deli classic. The base of this sandwich is one of our new, organic bagels that gets more than 24 hours of fermentation between mixing and bake-off. This results in a lighter, more flavorful bagel than the classic NYC gut-bomb. We stack it high with two eggs, gruyere cheese, grilled ham, and a lightly smoky pimenton aioli.
This is truly an amazing breakfast sandwich. Brunch-worthy, and a great way to push you over that midweek hump.
If the ham, egg, & cheese sounds a bit heavy for your midweek commute, look to the Avocado & Sprouts. It features avocado, arugula pesto, thinly sliced cucumber and radish, and sprouts, served on our 12 grain & seed ciabatta. This item is vegan, totally delicious, and great for breakfast or a lighter lunch.
Rounding out our new breakfast items is the pure and simple Egg Toast. Served on a thick-cut toast of organic pain au levain, scrambled eggs share the stage with avocado, salsa, and a dash of lemon.
The Avocado Caesar is a refreshing precursor to summer - romaine lettuce with radicchio dressed in a classic caesar, and topped with avocado and focaccia croutons. Although not a traditional caesar salad topping, the avocado is a filling addition to this classic warm weather meal.
Our Hummus and Sweet Potato sandwich is a staff favorite: A sweet potato “steak” is layered on top of red pepper, olive tapenade, watercress, and pickled lemon, served on organic multigrain ciabatta. This sandwich is a wonderful vegan option for anyone looking for a savory and satisfying lunch.
GRAB & GO/PICNIC
We've also updated our entire Grab & Go menu. A lot of our staff grab these for quick lunches at work-- they are all excellent, are easy, and the price points are great.
For salads we have Beet & Farro, Quinoa Tabouleh, Red Lentil with almond & feta, Curry Chicken, and also sides of hummus. Any of these salads with a roll or a side of bread is a great, quick, and healthy lunch.
For sandwiches we have Banana & Almond Butter, Curry Chicken, Ham & Brie, Mozzarella & Basil, and Cauliflower and Goat Cheese. Price points on the sandwiches are a bit lower than our a la carte menu - we really want these to be great, every day options for you.
SOMETHING FOR EVERY PALATE
We hope you find our spring flavors filling and surprising, just like spring itself. Stop in one of our four cafes to see the menu in full. Don’t forget to try one of our seasonal spring pastries to round out your meal.
RETOOLING ONE OF OUR MOST POPULAR BREADS
Our Certified Organic Whole Grain Health is one of our most popular breads. Whole Grain Health, Peasant, and Whole Wheat Sourdough always compete for the top spot.
So we don't change these core recipes unless we feel that we make great improvements.
Over the winter we decided that our Whole Grain Health, however delicious, could be improved. And after a lot of R&D, experimentation, taste tasting official and unofficial, we recently rolled out the results of this project, updating the recipe to this tried-and-true loaf to reflect our continued growth as a bakery and continued effort to put out the best possible breads.
Below is a summary of what you can expect from the freshly updated Whole Grain Health!
THE GOAL: DELICIOUS BREAD THAT LASTS
We judge the taste and texture of our breads not just when they come out of the oven, but also over the days that follow. We want you to enjoy our breads for days after purchase.
One way that we felt we could improve our Whole Grain Health was to ensure that it retained great flavor and texture for days after delivery.
Commercial bakeries would achieve this by adding lots of oil and emulsifiers (not healthy) and wheat gluten (tough to digest) to keep the bread soft, and lots of mold inhibitor (awful tasting and bad for you) to prevent mold from growing.
We don't use those ingredients, so we rely on being great artisan bakers.
To keep the bread soft, we get as much moisture (water) into the recipe as possible, and build strength in the dough with lots of fermentation. Sourdough is also a natural mold inhibitor, so breads with lots of sourdough will naturally fight off mold growth.
Our new recipe incorporates more water, more sourdough starter, and a longer overall fermentation process than ever before. All these changes lead to great flavor and texture for days.
FLAX SEED MAGIC
We also updated our procedure for incorporating more seeds into the loaf. First a little background: We always soak our seed blends overnight in water before incorporating into the dough. This makes the seeds easier to chew and digest.
But we found that by incorporating more flax seeds into our seed blend, and soaking in substantially more water, we were able to use the seeds to get a lot more flavor and moisture into our loaf. Flax seeds have incredible health benefits and are able to absorb a large amount of water.
You will notice a bit more seed blend in the new loaf, this at once adds great flavor and nutrition, and helps the bread keep fresh, as the seeds give water back to the loaf.
Finally, we bulked-up the exterior of the bread to reflect the three-seed blend on the inside. We moved from just sunflower seeds to sunflower seeds, flax, and sesame, creating a more nutty and beautifully textured bite. In addition, this seed mix sticks to the dough much better, so there is more flavor and nutrition on the bread.
SAME INGREDIENTS, BETTER EVERYTHING ELSE
Though the ingredients in the bread haven’t changed, we trust that you will notice great improvements to the bread from these updates. Taste the bread for days after delivery, it retains incredible flavor and moisture, all from the use of good baking technique and without the use of any bad ingredients.
In sum, the bread has a moister crumb, chewier texture, better flavor, and will stay fresh longer! Not bad, right?
INTENTIONAL AND FUNCTIONAL IMPROVEMENTS - AND A NEW LOOK!
For the last two weeks, we put in heaps of extra hours at our Woodstock cafe prepping it for a grand re-opening. Planning for the renovation began months ago, working closely with our design partner, JFD Studio. We worked closely with JFD Studio principle Joseph Foglia to make intentional updates that would, first and foremost, improve the function of the space. We also wanted to make the cafe a beautiful space to enjoy. We hope these changes provide a more beautiful and pleasurable experience for all who visit. Below we share details on some of the essentials.
NEW DINING ROOM LAYOUT
To start, the renovation comes with a bundle of functional improvements to the dining space. We reconfigured the dining room to accommodate more comfortable seating. There is also a clear division between the dining room and the cafe area, which includes the to-go counter. This new division gives to-go customers a designated space to wait, allowing diners to eat without being overcrowded. We also added a second milk bar station, and a much needed second bathroom. Finally, the white oak wainscoting and other woodwork will absorb ambient noise and make the room a pleasant environment even at its busiest.
MORE PRODUCTS AND BETTER SERVICE THAN EVER
Up front, on the service line, we expanded our bread and pastry display, opening it up with room for more product and a clearer view for customers. We added a third register and moved all toast prep into the kitchen. These changes combine to provide clear, beautiful views of the products we work so hard to put out, and to keep service flowing, even on the absolute busiest days. We're bulking up our kitchen staff in back to assist with the extra toasting work.
BETTER KITCHEN FLOW FOR OUR BETTER DINING ROOM
Additionally, we adjusted the flow between the kitchen and the dining room. This change may seem slight, but it eases the transition into the dining room, a move that will impact the flow of food out of the kitchen, and the return of dishes from the dining room. This helps create a calm and nice atmosphere in the dining room. For weekend regulars, you know that it can get busy back there, so we were super focused on making it as enjoyable as possible, even at its busiest.
ESSENTIAL CREATURE COMFORTS!
A few experiential updates were also in order, including an updated sound system and public WIFI! That's right, there is now WIFI at Bread Alone in Woodstock. Finally, new lighting throughout the space provides a bright and light feel throughout the entire day.
INTERIOR FINISHING AND EXTERIOR IMPROVEMENTS YET TO COME
Although our re-opening day was on Monday May 2nd, we will continue to settle into the space over the next three weeks. Interior artwork will get selected and go up, and we have some other construction details to complete.
And we are also finishing up design for a completely refreshed outdoor space, including new patio layout, benches, and signage!
We expect to have everything done - interior and exterior - by Memorial Day Weekend.
Stay tuned for more!
We are extraordinarily excited to announce that we opened our Kingston Cafe on September 30 at 7am. We are now open every day from 7am - 5pm.
We are offering a full breakfast and lunch menu featuring house-made products from our Hudson Valley partners. We have a new menu of grab-and-go items for quick and affordable lunches. We have coffee and espresso drinks featuring our partner, Irving Farm. We of course have an abundant offering of our organic breads and hand crafted pastries.
Our space is big, inviting, and comfortable, a perfect respite from the hustle and bustle along the 9w corridor. We have inside and outside seating. We have individual tables and communal tables. There is music but never too loud. We have a mix of new and veteran staff to serve you well.
We hope to become a part of your normal commute or shopping routine on 9w. Swing by after your trip to Adam's, Van Kleeck's, or any of our neighbors. On nice days, enjoy some time outside on our large patio. You might meet some of our employees taking a break from the bakery.
Our current hours are 7am - 5pm. Breakfast is served all day and lunch is served from 11am - 5pm. After we've settled into the space, we will be opening for evening service as well. Stay tuned for updates on expanded hours.
Chairs come down every day at 7am we hope to see you soon to enjoy our new cafe.