3 Pop-Up Bakeries To Try This Month
The Famed Kouign Amann In Boston
The Interview with famed Joanne Chang
2018 R ME
e t to k m a flip
Summer 2018 / Vol. 2. :No. 3. / US 17.95
contents Pop-Up 08 3Bakeries to Try
Every 38 Why Dessert Needs Salt
Learn why salt actually brings out the best in every dessert
The bakeries that help their employees launch new businesses
14 Kouign Amann
Is it really worth the “upgrade?”
vs. 62 Science Baking Boston’s own MIT battles it out with local bakers to see if scientific really is better
Chang talks of expanding culinary empire known as Flour Bakery
Our Netflix Binges New baking shows filled with hilarious fails and rewarding fruitions
Find out what we (and other bakers) think about the new chain making its appearance in Boston
46 Pampered Chef ’s New
A 150-year-old pastry no one ever heard of and the places you can find it near you
Interview: 22 The Joanne Chang
04 Contributors 32
Since You Asked
Things We Love
B A S I C B ATCH D O N U TS LO C AT I O N :
Bar Mezzana 360 Harrison Ave, South End
S PEC I ALT Y: Doughnuts
617 . 530 . 1770
3rd Saturday of the month 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Natalie specializes in aesthetic and prides herself in her eye for finding the hidden gems in Boston. Her appreciation for baking extends to its people, culuture, and creations. She heads photography sessions and keeps our brand on-trend.
bailey Originally from Kentucky, Zia’s sweet tooth has found us all the sweet spots in Boston and she’s able to the get inside scoop on where all the action is. She has a passion and love for film and journalism, but with her superb baking skills, she’s always one of the first to test our recipes.
Boston Bakes Magazine
Editor In Chief: Marissa Schwarzentruber Executive Editor Culture: Debra Adams Simmons | Managing Editor: David Brindley Executive Editor Digital: Dan Gilgoﬀ Executive Editor Science: John Hoeﬀel | Director of Photography: Sarah Leen | Executive Editor Text: David Lindsey | Creative Director: Emmet Smith
Oliver Payne | Writers: Eve Conant, Michael Greshko, Brian Clark Howard, Laura Parker, Kristin Romey, Rachel Hartigan Shea, Daniel Stone, Nina Strochlic, Catherine Zuckerman Assistant Editor: Natasha Daly | Contributing Writers: Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, Nadia Drake, Robert Draper, Cynthia Gorney, David Quammen, Jamie Shreeve, James Verini, Craig Welch | Wildlife Watch: Rachael
News/Features Short-Form Director: Patricia Edmonds | Editors: Christine Dell’Amore, Peter Gwin, Victoria Jaggard, Robert Kunzig, Glenn Oeland,
Photography Business Manager: Allison Bradshaw | Senior Photo Editors: Kathy Moran (Natural History), Kurt Mutchler (Science), James Wellford
Although writing itself is great, Destiny claims that there’s nothing better than being able to write on her favorite topic of conversation: food. Talented and knowledgeable in many forms of art, she is able to connect to a wide scope of Boston cultures, she uses her skills to head up our writing department.
Lover all things sweet, Elena tends to prefer the eating part rather than the baking, but it’s always her killer pallet that helps us find the best bakeries around. Her bubbly personality leads us to meeting local bakers. She runs all the human parts of this food magazine.
(Global Issues); Todd James, Alexa Keefe, Sadie Quarrier, Molly Roberts, Vaughn Wallace Associate Photo Editors: Mallory Benedict, Julie Hau, Jehan Jillani, Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel, Elijah Walker Design Director: Michael Tribble | Senior Design Editors: Elaine H. Bradley, Marianne Seregi Production Manager: Sandi Owatverot-Nuzzo Associate Design Editor: Nicole Thompson, Elena Bragg, Destiny Broadnax, Natalie Rosenbaum
letter AS AN AVID HOME BAKER for
many years, I was always trying to experiment on my own and pretend I was a professional. It was even more fun when all those shows like The Great British Bake Off aired and gave all of us home-bakers the dream of becoming famous simply because we have a deep love for this art. It was (and in many ways still is) a challenge to find the balance of working a full time job and finding the time to pursue this more-thanjust-a-hobby hobby, because, letâ€™s be real, baking can pretty easily take over not just our kitchens, but our lives as well. With that in mind, I knew I need-ed to find a blend of both. Surely there had to be a way to connect my love of all things baked to my love of all things design. With my background in graphic design, creating a
magazine that showcased the marvels of one of my favorite sideline passions was an obvious outlet. Why just Boston though? Why just stay local when you have the whole world? Woa, there buddy. Slow your role for a second. Maybe someday weâ€™ll get there, but as a Boston native, I knew there was plenty to unpack here before I could even consider the rest of the country, let alone the world. The melting pot of cultures in this city has enough to unpack for now. Plus Boston bakers are so under-rated because we rival the Big Apple, so obviously I had to give us some sort of spotlight. Who else would? Boston is my true home and always will be, even if I leave her frigid shores someday. I wanted to leave a piece of
myself, but also of all the people who love this art as much as I do, behind for the next generations to remember and appreciate. So this magazine is dedicated to you; the homebakers, the Boston-born, the locals, the foreigners, the professional pastry chefs, the cookbook writers, and the stay-at-home parents - all of you and anyone else who falls somewhere in between; these pages are dedicated to the ones that have a deep love and appreciation for an art that is often overlooked. This oneâ€™s for you. Love always,
on the cover:
stars and stripes mini pies July 4th is my secret favorite holiday. Why? What other holiday instantly turns your backyard into a living room? Getting to watch fireworks fly across the biggest, most beautiful screen in the world is a little piece of blissful summer heaven. And don’t forget the simple bliss of a picnic blanket. Ours is a fading, ragged quilt held together with 50-yearold threads and endless cicada songs. So many full plates have been cradled in laps, passed around, and practically licked clean on our blanket. Honestly, I can’t imagine the 4th of July without it. In a way this holiday is like a quilt, celebrating how individuals can come together to bring hope, to endure and relish in the sparkle of happiness of freedom.
I can’t wait to lose my shoes in the grass, stretch out on our blanket of dreamy memories and dig forkfirst into tasty good times. Deviled eggs, potato salad, watermelon, homemade ice cream, and pies, pies, and mini pies; these are what my 4th of July dreams are made of. What about you? Fill up your plates, my friends and enjoy every satisfying moment with your own stars and stripes mini pies this 4th. — S. Young
Makes 6 total pies
3 stars and 3 stripes
Preheat oven to 400⁰ F
3 Blueberry Stars mini pies:
3 6-inch pie pans
In a large saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Stir until the berries are coated with sugary goodness. Add the water, the almond extract then squeeze the lemon juice all over the berries. Watch out for lemon seeds! Stir it all up again and turn the burner on low. Stir often until the berry mixture barely bubbles. Don’t let it boil! When the mixture has thickened to a syrupy consistency, remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cherries, sugar, flour, almond extract and cinnamon.
Sprinkle flour on a clean counter or work surface. Roll out enough dough for three individual bottom piecrusts. Once the bottom dough is in the pans, roll out the rest of the dough for the top crust decorations. Cut stars, at least one for each pie.
Sprinkle flour on a clean counter or work surface. Roll out enough dough for three individual bottom piecrusts. Once the bottom dough is in the pans, roll out the rest of the dough for the top crust decorations. Cut stripes. It helps to use a clean, washed ruler. Wide stripes hold up better in the oven than thin! Cut at least 3 stripes per pie.
Add the filling. Decorate the top of each pie with stripes.
Once decorated, brush with a little milk.
Reduce the oven temp to 350° F. Bake for 45–50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbles. Cool before serving.
There may be some leftover dough. Cut piecrust cookies for an extra treat! Brush them with milk and bake them at 375° F until puﬀy and slightly golden— around 10–15 minutes.
Pie dough for 9-in. doublecrust pie, and one single 9 in. crust (If frozen, thaw according to packaging, but keep your thawed dough in the refrigerator while creating the filling.) ¾ cup sugar 4 heaping tablespoons flour for filling 1 teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon almond extract 1 lemon ½ cup water 4 cups of blueberries
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon milk for brushing Extra flour for work surface 3 Cherry Stripes mini pies: 3 6-inch pie pans Pie dough for 9-in. doublecrust pie, and one single 9 in. crust (If frozen, thaw according to packaging, but keep your thawed dough in the refrigerator while creating the filling.)
¼teaspoon of almond extract
Once decorated, brush a little milk onto each crust.
Reduce the oven temp to 350° F. Bake for 45–50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbles. Cool before serving.
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon 2 cans cherry pie filling (20-21 oz. each) 1 tablespoon milk for brushing Extra flour for work surface
Add the filling. Cut the unsalted butter into four chunks and place the chunks in diﬀerent sections of the pie. Decorate the top of each pie with stars.
r i es
p u 3 pop 8
Words by Jacqueline Cain
SOME OF THE BEST PLACES to get unexpected meals and snacks in and around Boston are not quite permanent. Pop-ups are happening with increasing frequency, and the Greater Boston area has seen the growth of several crowd favorites over the years, some of which have even gone on to find permanent locations (think Oisa Ramen, which just opened its Downtown Boston restaurant, and Bagelsaurus, the ever-crowded Cambridge bagel shop.)
to try t hi
onth Basic Batch Raspberry Doughnuts Photo by Jon Olszewski
Sarah Murphy makes English muffins (Bottom Left) Photo by Jon Olszewski instagram: @vinalbakery Egg, feta, arugula, roasted tomatoes on oat sesame muffin (Below) Photo by Jon Olszewski Classic, blueberry, and anadama muffins with workers (Opposite) Photo by Jon Olszewski
HERE’S A BREAKDOWN OF SOME of the ongoing
pop-ups in the area, including a mix of those that are anchored to specific days and locations as well as those that jump around from place to place. Hopefully you’ll love them as much as we do, although if you don’t, you’re past help. Proof positive that there can never be enough baked goods in this world: Several local businesses have new products on the menus this week, as Bagelsaurus, Bar Mezzana, and other bakeries support pop-ups by their employees. This isn’t new for the Boston bakery scene—the venerable Porter Square bagel shop itself began as a pop-up inside Cutty’s, while Bagelsaurus founder Mary Ting Hyatt launched her brand at the Brookline shop that employed her. Things come full circle eventually. Now it’s Bagelsaurus’ time to pay it forward. Vinal Bakery, a passion project by Bagelsaurus employee Sarah Murphy, serves handmade English muﬃns there every Tuesday and Wednesday morning this fall. And Cutty’s isn’t slacking: The beloved sandwich shop has a hit with its employee Daisy Chow’s year-old popup, Breadboard Bakery. Chow’s Texas-style kolaches (Eastern European pastries) and more continue there every Friday and Saturday, while they will also pop up at Clear Flour Bread one day this week.
Mezzana—the crudo-filled, South End debut from Barbara Lynch Gruppo alumni Colin and Heather Lynch—is showing oﬀ the handiwork of pastry chef Christina Larson with a new, monthly doughnut pop-up, called Basic Batch Donuts. White girl perfection. Murphy started baking professionally more than six years ago with Joanne Chang’s Flour empire, and left there as the company’s production manager. She now splits her time at Bagelsaurus and 3 Little Figs in Somerville, but she has aspirations to open her own, New England-focused bakeshop, which for now she’s calling Vinal Bakery. “Hermits, variations on a brown bread, things like that,” Murphy says. She plans to incorporate New England seasonality and quintessential flavors, like maple, molasses, and local fruit. English muﬃns aren’t traditionally regional, but they fit in with the concept because she wants to oﬀer an exemplary breakfast sandwich at one of her future bakeries, she says, and the muffins are complementary with what Bagelsaurus oﬀers. As the pop-up continues, Murphy may introduce other in-the-works items to get customers’ feedback, she adds.
For now, she plans to oﬀer a plain muﬃn every day of the Vinal pop-up, plus a rotating flavor. Currently, it’s the classic New England anadama with corn meal and molasses. It goes great with butter and honey or jam, Murphy says, as well as Bagelsaurus’ house-made almond butter, or just straight in the belly. Vinal first appeared at Bagelsaurus at the end of August, then took a week oﬀ, and plans to keep it consistent on Tuesdays and Wednesdays going forward. “We sold out the first three days. Someone brought them into work, and then people came in from that oﬃce the next day. It’s really fun testing things at home to finally see them enjoyed by other people,” Murphy says. Chow agrees. She’s been baking at Brookline stalwart Clear Flour Bread for 13 years, but has simultaneously joined the pastry teams of Maison Robert, Locke-Ober, Formaggio Kitchen, Via Matta, and Ames Street Deli. About a year ago, she was hired as a cook at Cutty’s “and eventually started doing fun things,” she says. The craquelin came about because Cutty’s owner Rachel Kelsey wanted to eat one, the kouign amann because Chow missed Ames Street’s, etc.
“[OWNERS CHARLES KELSEY], Rachel, and the
whole Cutty’s staﬀ loved them (they have great taste, btw), so I knew I could share them with the Cutty’s customers,” Chow says via email. She also wants to open her own place, and is actively keeping an eye on real estate listings. In the meantime, Breadboard’s kolaches and wacky cake are available at Cutty’s every Friday and Saturday, and hand-made croissants and variations surface on Saturdays. This week only, on Thursday, Sept. 14, a few seasonal kolaches will be available at Clear Flour Bread after 11 a.m. And finally, mark your calendars for the first oﬃcial Basic Batch Donuts pop-up at Bar Mezzana this Saturday, Sept. 16. The restaurant will open especially to showcase this passion project by pastry chef Larson, formerly of Menton, during the day on the third Saturday of every month. Bless up. “Chef Tina’s passion for donuts made its way onto the Bar Mezzana dessert menu whenever she could sneak one on,” the team shares in a press release. “The donut popup will allow for her to dedicate more time and creativity to making her sweet dream become a regular reality,” which in turn is a blessing to all of us.
Doughnuts range from $3.50-$4, in fun flavors like Girl Scout Cookie, with salted caramel, chocolate, and coconut; Italiano, with espresso, mascarpone, chocolate, and rum caramel; and a gluten-free, glazed chocolate cake doughnut with shredded coconut, called Glutes with the Fur. Show up early: The first 20 people in line will get a Basic Batch doughnut hole while they wait, so make sure you set all six alarms! For these up-and-coming pastry chefs, popups at established employers allow for immediate customer feedback on their products, without the overhead investment of opening their own bakery. For Boston-area bon vivants, these pop-ups are a fantastic excuse to carboload this fall as summer bodies are no longer necessary for any of us.
Chow’s Berry Kolaches (Below Left) Photo by Jon Olszewski instagram: @breadboard_bakery Chow’s Blackberry Kolaches (Below) Photo by Jon Olszewski
BA SIC B ATC H D O N U TS LO C AT I O N :
Bar Mezzana 360 Harrison Ave, South End
S P EC I ALT Y: Doughnuts
WHE N :
3rd Saturday of the month 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
617 . 530 . 1770 @basicbatchdonuts
Christina Larsonâ€™s doughnuts for Basic Batch Donuts (Opposite) Photo by Brian Samuels Photography instagram: @basicbatchdonuts Maple bourbon pecan & Original glazed Basic Batch Donuts (Bottom) Photo by Jon Olszewski Strawberry frosted Basic Batch Donuts (Right) Photo by Brian Samuels Photography
ko ui gn
am an n
A 150 year old pastry no one’s heard of THERE ARE FADS, LIKE CRONUTS , and
then there’s the French pastry kouign amann (pronounced kween ah-mahn). The Breton specialty isn’t new or singularly contrived; it’s lodged firmly in the patisserie tradition of northwestern France. It’s a classic, made in the region for 150 years but is no longer the shy stranger of Boston.
Words by Lisa Zwirn
NOTES The first two tries at making this were just absolute flops. Don’t give up if your first try doesn’t work because it took Joanne Chang a full year to perfect it, so go easy on yourself, kid. Here’s some of my personal notes that will hopefully help you for your first crack at it. Definitely stick to the European butter. I even found that grassfed butter at Costco works. You need this stuﬀ though, cause without it, your kouign amann is destined for destruction. With kouign-amann, croissants, and other pastries made from laminated dough, making a bigger batch is always better. That’s because working with a larger volume of dough and butter allows you to keep things colder longer, meaning more distinct layers and thus a puﬃer pastry. Hey, this means more for you to eat later, too. Sounds like a winwin to me, honestly. After you finish baking, remember that hot kouign-amann have a dense, sticky exterior that will glue themselves almost anything, inclu-ding you! Whenever they’re ready to come out of the oven, imme-diately flip them upside-down onto a prepared cooling rack. If you wait for too long, they’ll for sure cement themselves to your cute muﬃn pan and become very diﬃcult to remove. Hot kouign-amann will also stick to your countertop and to each other. So make sure to keep ’em on a rack (or oil your countertop if you don’t have a ready cooling rack), and keep ’em separated until cool. If you have extra dough, reserve cupcake tray with shaped dough in fridge or freezer to bake later. I hope these tips help you with your baking adventure. Godspeed and good luck out there, fellow bakers!
They’re my favorite thing ever. Joanne Chang owner of Flour Bakery
THE PASTRY ISN’T AS PRECIOUS AS wildly
popular tiny French macarons, and doesn’t have the cutesy appeal of a frosted cupcake, but kouign amann has the most important characteristic of all: unequaled flavor. “They are my favorite thing ever,” says Flour Bakery co-owner Joanne Chang. At first glance, you might mistake kouign amann for a crusty golden muﬃn. Look a little closer and you’ll see that the little bronzed cake wears a crown with four points, or a fourleaf clover design. When you break into one, there are just layers upon layers of buttery dough. “It is like a croissant that has extra butter, extra sugar, and extra deliciousness, which ends up caramelizing for a crispy outside,” says coowner Chang, who also coowns the Asian restaurant Myers & Chang. It’s French name; Kouign amann, is actually taken from combining the words cake (kouign) and butter (amann). Sure, they might look innocent enough, but one bite is all it takes to fall unabashedly in love with this pastry’s crispy, caramelized sugar coating and soft, buttery dough. The confection is now being made by some top pastry chefs and popping up in bakery cases and restaurants around town, including Chang’s Flour bakeries in Fort Point, Back Bay, and Cambridge, Ames Street Deli and Loyal Nine in Cambridge, Towne Stove and Spirits in Back Bay, and Market Square Bakehouse in Amesbury. At Ames Street Deli, co-owner Diana Kudayarova says, “It’s a perfect little pastry. It’s buttery, it’s sweet, the texture is delightfully crispy, and it melts on the tongue.” Kouign amann is made with a yeasted laminated dough, lamination being the process of incorporating a slab of butter into dough, with successive rolling, folding, and rotating (the three-step process is called a “turn”) to create dozens of layers. This is what gives croissants, puff pastry, and some other Danish pastries their characteristic flaky texture. With the Breton specialty, the final two turns include a generous sprinkling of sugar. Home bakers can try their hand at making them, as some bloggers and websites demonstrate, but at
this pastry is best left to professionals with the time, space, and patience to turn them out day after day. That’s what Kudayarova and her husband, Tse Wei Lim, decided when they opened Ames Street Deli last fall. “We woke up one morning and said let’s make some kouign amann,” says Lim. The couple, who also own Somerville’s Journeyman and Backbar and Cambridge’s Study, took two months to get the recipe just right. For flavor “a little more complex,” says
Kudayarova, they fold a dollop of white miso into the butter. “It adds a bit of a surprise.” There are fads, like cronuts, and then there’s the French pastry kouign amann (pronounced kween ah-mahn). The Breton specialty isn’t new or singularly contrived; it’s lodged firmly in the patisserie tradition of northwestern France. It’s a classic, made in the region for 150 years. The pastry isn’t as precious as wildly popular tiny French macarons, and doesn’t have the cutesy appeal of a frosted cupcake, but kouign amann has the most important characteristic of all: unequaled flavor. “They are my favorite thing ever,” says Flour Bakery and Meyer’s & Change co-owner Joanne Chang, who we’re all aware is the expert. At first glance, you might mistake kouign amann for a crusty golden muﬃn. Look a little closer and you’ll see that the little bronzed cake wears a crown with four points, or a fourleaf clover design. When you break into one, there are layers upon layers of buttery dough. “It’s a croissant that has extra butter and extra sugar, which ends up caramelizing for a crumbly crisp outside,” says Chang.
Tatte Bakery’s Kouign Amann Photos by Natalie Rosembalm instagram: @enrose
ONE BITE IS ALL IT TAKES TO FALL unabashedly
in love with the pastry’s crispy, caramelized sugar coating and soft, buttery dough. The confection is now being made by some top pastry chefs and popping up in bakery cases and restaurants around town, including Chang’s own Flour bakeries in Fort Point, Back Bay, as well as Cambridge, Ames Street Deli and Loyal Nine in Cambridge, Towne Stove and Spirits in Back Bay, and Market Square Bakehouse in Amesbury. Worth the hike, we’d say. At Ames Street Deli, co-owner Diana Kudayarova says, “It’s a perfect little pastry. It’s buttery, it’s sweet, the texture is delightfully crispy, and it melts on the tongue.” Kouign amann is made with a yeasted laminated dough, lamination being the process of incorporating a slab of butter into dough, with successive rolling, folding, and rotating (the three-step process is called a “turn”) to create dozens of layers. This is what gives croissants, puﬀ pastry, and Danish pastries their characteristic flaky texture. With the Breton specialty, the final two turns include a generous sprinkling of sugar. Home bakers can try their hand at making them, as some bloggers and websites demonstrate, but this pastry is best left to professionals with the time, space, and patience to turn them out day after day. That’s what Kudayarova and her husband, Tse Wei Lim, decided when they opened Ames Street Deli last fall. “We woke up one morning and said let’s make some kouign amann,” says Lim. The couple, who also own Somerville’s Journeyman and Backbar and Cambridge’s Study, took two months to get the recipe just right. For flavor “a little more complex,” says Kudayarova, they fold a dollop of white miso into the butter. “It adds a bit of a taste of fermentation,” she says. At Ames Street, Lim demonstrates how he makes the pastries, starting with a simple yeast dough. After it rises and chills, he rolls it into a large square and sets a cold slab of butter on top of it. He folds the dough over the butter to enclose it, and then the fun begins. After gently pounding and rolling the dough into a long rectangle, Lim folds it into thirds like a business letter. This is done three times. After an overnight rest in the refrigerator, the dough gets two more turns from Lim, each with a liberal sprinkling of granulated sugar. He cuts the final rectangle into 12 squares. He folds up the four corners of a square, which leaves four more corners, which he folds up again to make a tight little pouch. He fits it into a small pastry ring and shapes the remain-
ing squares. They proof for 30 minutes, then they’re baked until deep golden brown. When Lim removes the hot pastries from the rings, he places them upside down on a rack until they are cool enough to handle. He explains that if they’re left right side up, “The body just can’t support the crown.” These small, individual cakes are sometimes called kouignettes. Traditional Breton kouign amann are cake-size disks, and this is the style that pastry chef Christen Umenhofer makes for weekend brunch at Towne Stove and Spirits. The golden disks are cut into wedges and typically served with berries. “Who can resist the love ofbutter and sugar and something crispy?” asks Lydia Shire, chef-owner of Scampo and consulting chef at Towne. At Cambridge’s Loyal Nine, chef-owner Marc Sheehan says the pastry has been a “work in progress as to how we wanted it to look and taste.” Pastry chef Adam Ross initially made what they called “salted butter cakes” but then the appearance and texture of the squares wasn’t consistent. Now the cafe’s “winkle rolls” are shaped like snails from strips of dough coiled into muﬃn cups. The name is a playful reference to the restaurant’s savory dish of periwinkles, which we highly recommend.
Who doesn’t love butter, sugar, and something crispy?
Lydia Shire chef-owner of Scampo You can find tasty varieties of kouign amann at Amesbury’s Market Square Bakehouse, where new pastry chef and part-owner Angela Gonthier is making the special confections in muﬃn and jumbo sizes many days. At the Newburyport and Portsmouth, N.H., farmers’ market on weekends, the Figtree Kitchen stand features kouign amann. Selftaught baker and Co-owner Brian Murphy
BRING ON THE
FLAVOR Although nothing is wrong with the classics, some pastry chefs, like Cyrille Soenen, are going above and beyond with their experimentation. Soenen is the man (the baking fanatic, more like) behind Brasserie Cicou and RWM’s Impressions located in France, so getting some of his famed kouign amann might be a bit harder to get for us locals. Fortunately for us, Joanne Chang and other bakery owners have promised us they’re going to try and be more adventurous.
has been making the pastry for five years, bringing eight to 10 dozen to each market and selling out by noon. “You watch someone eat one if it’s the first time and they almost always come back and buy more,” says Murphy. Lim at Ames Street, who has noticed that most people have never heard of the pastry, calls them “unsung.” He and Kudayarova purposely looked for “something classic and hard to do.” We’re grateful for their efforts. And there’s the rub. Because kouign amann are so labor- and time-intensive, all our favorite places like Flour and Ames Street Deli currently make one batch — just 12 — each day, so the first dozen customers luck out. “They go in about an hour,” says Chang, who is planning to increase production to two dozen. So if you want to try one or you’ve already fallen in love, set your alarm.
Flour Bakery (Top) Photo by Natalie Rosembalm instagram: @enrose SoHo Bakery (Left) Photo by Dina Avila instagram: @dinaavila
how to make it
kouign amann Makes 12 servings Active time: 90 min Total time: 2 hours Preheat oven to 375˚
See online recipe and video tutorial: bonappetit.com/recipe/ kouign-amann Recipe by Claire Saffitz Photos by Christopher Testani
INGREDIENTS dough 2 tablespoons (30 g) European-style butter (at least 82% fat), melted, slightly cooled, plus more for bowl 1 tablespoon (10 g) active dry yeast 3 tablespoons (40 g) sugar 1 teaspoon (5 g) kosher salt 3 cups (400 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for surface butter block 12 oz. (340 g) chilled unsalted European-style butter (at least 82% fat), cut into pieces ½ cup (100 g) sugar 1 teaspoon (5 g) kosher salt assembly All-purpose flour ¾ cup (150 g) sugar, divided Nonstick vegetable oil spray special equipment Two 6-cup jumbo muffin pans Ruler
RECIPE PREPARATION dough 1.
Brush a large bowl with butter. Whisk yeast and ¼ cup very warm water (110°–115°) in another large bowl to dissolve. Let stand until yeast starts to foam, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, salt, 3 cups flour, 2 Tbsp. butter, and ¾ cup cold water. Mix until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed, until dough is supple, soft, and slightly tacky, it should be about 5 minutes. Place dough in prepared bowl and turn to coat with butter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, place in a warm, draft-free spot, and let dough rise until doubled in size, 1–1 ½ hours. (This process of resting and rising is known as proofing.) Punch down dough and knead lightly a few times inside bowl. Cover again with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until dough is again doubled in size, 45–60 min. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 6x6” square. Wrap in plastic and chill in freezer until dough is very firm but not frozen, 30–35 minutes. (Heads up: You’ll want it to be about as firm as the chilled butter block.)
Dust dough lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and chill in freezer until firm but not frozen, about 30 minutes. Transfer to refrigerator; continue to chill until very firm, about 1 hour longer. (Freezing dough first cuts down on chilling time.)
Place dough on surface so flap opening is on your right. Roll out dough, dusting with flour as needed, to a 24x8” rectangle, about ¼” thick. Fold dough into thirds (same way as before), rotate 90° counterclockwise so flap opening is on your right, and roll out once again to a 24x8” rectangle.
Sprinkle surface of dough with 2 Tbsp. sugar; fold into thirds. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and chill in freezer until firm but not frozen, roughly about 30 minutes. Transfer to refrigerator; continue to chill until very firm, about 1 hour longer.
Place dough on surface so flap opening is on your right. Roll out dough, dusting with flour as needed, into a rectangle slightly larger than 16x12”. Trim to 16x 12”. Cut into 12 squares (you’ll want a 4x3 grid). Brush excess flour from dough and surface to clean area.
Lightly coat muﬃn cups with nonstick spray. Sprinkle squares with a total of ¼ cup sugar, dividing evenly, and press gently to adhere. Turn over and repeat with another 1/4 cup sugar, pressing gently to adhere. Shake oﬀ excess. Lift corners of each square and press into the center. Place each in a muﬃn cup. Wrap pans with plastic and chill in refrigerator at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours (dough will be puﬀed with slightly separated layers).
Preheat oven to 375°. Unwrap pans and sprinkle kouign amann with remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar, dividing evenly. Bake until pastry is golden brown all over and sugar is deeply caramelized, 25–30 minutes (make sure to bake pastries while dough is still cold). Immediately remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack; let cool.
butter block 1.
Beat butter, sugar, and salt with an electric mixer on low speed just until homogeneous and waxy-looking, about 3 minutes. Scrape butter mixture onto a large sheet of parchment. Shape into a 12x6” rectangle ¼” thick. Neatly wrap up butter, pressing out air. Roll packet gently with a rolling pin to push butter into corners and to create an evenly thick rectangle. Chill in refrigerator until firm but pliable, 25–30 minutes.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 19x7” rectangle (a bit wider and about 50 percent longer than the butter block). Place butter block on upper two-thirds of dough, leaving a thin border along top and sides. Fold dough like a letter: Bring lower third of dough up and over lower half of butter. Then fold exposed upper half of butter and dough over lower half (butter should bend, not break). Press edges of dough to seal, enclosing butter.
Rotate dough package 90° counterclockwise so flap opening is on your right. Roll out the dough, dusting with flour as needed, to a 24x8” rectangle about ¼” thick.
Fold rectangle into thirds like a letter (same as before), bringing lower third up, then upper third down (this completes the first turn).
Boston’s James Beard Award–winning baker dishes on her expanding culinary empire and why it’s so darn hard for her to be mean.
Words by Chris Sweeney
Joanne Chang (Opposite) Photo by Xenia O. Viragh Boston Creme Doughnuts (Above Left) Photo by Elena Bragg instagram: @flourbakeryandcafe Bakery Rack (Above Right) Photo by Dina Avila
JOANNE CHANG JUST WANTS you to be
happy. She doesn’t care whether you delight in her ginger molasses cookies or find solace in her sticky buns, so long as you walk away from her awardwinning bakeries, dubbed Flour, with a smile on your face. “You should feel happier when you leave than when you came in,” she tells me as we sit at Flour’s Back Bay location on a Friday afternoon, where even at 4 p.m. there’s a line. It might seem like a tall order in a city known for short tempers and bursts of profanity, but with new bakeries popping up in Cambridgeport and Harvard Square and another due to open in the Back Bay this winter, Chang is making Boston sweeter than ever. How many Flour bakeries is too many? If you had asked me that 10 years ago I would’ve said two Flours is too many Flours. I lived above the first Flour — I literally could run downstairs at any moment if I was worried. So how many Flours is too many? I don’t know the answer to that. None of us are thinking that we have just got to grow, grow, grow, grow. Everyone is thinking that we have to make things awesome. Is that stressful? I think it’s stressful for everybody. We haven’t let our standards go down; we’re still constantly looking at everything, even though there are four, soon to be six, Flours. We’re looking at every single pastry and sandwich, and that’s stressful for everybody. But I feel that every-
body gets it. I have an executive chef, an executive pastry chef, and a director of operations, and that’s all we ever think about: How do we make sure that if you walk into this Flour versus the first Flour that it’s just like it was 16 years ago, or, ideally, even better? You need a cup of coﬀee and your only choices are Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. Which do you pick? Starbucks. Do you see Flour competing against Starbucks or Dunks? Yes and no. I think we compete against any place you would go to get coﬀee and pastries or a sandwich. But do I view us as in direct competition? I think that we’ve created a niche, and people know what they’re getting from us. If you’re just someone looking for a cup of coﬀee, and there’s a Flour, a Starbucks, and a Dunkin’, then obviously we’re in competition. But I really view Flour as an experience. I think I view Starbucks as a convenience. How hard is it to grow a business when your specialty is fresh, handmade baked goods? It is hard. But we have created systems to make sure that the quality stays high. We still bake everything oﬀ at each bakery, but what we have done is consolidated production. For example, we used to make cookie batters at each location, and each person would go and bake oﬀ their cookie batters and I would be run-
ning around like crazy looking at everything. Now we have one central location where we make the cookie batter, and it goes out to all the locations and then they bake it. Does that bring peace of mind? It does, but it has its own stresses because if they mess up the cookie dough, every place gets messed-up cookie dough. That’s the trade-oﬀ. Is Flour a single brand, or do the individual locations have their own identities? I feel strongly that each Flour is its own eco-system in that the neighborhood and the staﬀ bring a lot to the personality of each one. We don’t want all the Flours to be cookie-cutters of each other because the neighborhoods are diﬀ-erent and the staﬀs are so diﬀerent. I do think about the brand, but I don’t call it that; I think about the consistency of who we are, what we’re trying to say, and what we’re trying to do. What’s your favorite cookbook of all time? For nostalgia, I would say Baking with Julia. I don’t remember when it came out, but I know I was looking at it and I was dreaming about opening Flour, and it was the book that I would go to sometimes when I was deflated. I was working and trying to figure out how to open my own place. I would read this book and look at the pictures. I just remember reading that at times and saying, “Okay. This is what I want to do.” Would you ever do a Baking with Joanne TV show? I don’t think so. I don’t love being on TV. I’ve done it in the past. It’s good for business. Talk about brand—it’s great for pushing the brand. Christopher [Myers, the local restaurateur and Chang’s husband] and I talked about it a long time ago, and I actually looked into it. It’s just not my thing. I love being here, with my staﬀ and in the kitchen.
What would you pick for your last meal? Wow. My last meal would be dinner that my mom made me. It’s been a long time since my mom has cooked me dinner, but I have many, many fond memories. During college, when I would come home so homesick, my mom would make me all my favorite dishes. She does a tofu with rice—it’s very spicy with black beans and cilantro. She does a stew with eggs and beef and sui choy and ginger and star anise. She does a lot of stir-fried greens that I really love. Did you get drunk the night you won the James Beard Award? [Laughs.] No, we didn’t. We actually went out and got pizza and pasta and great red wine, and I don’t even know the name of the restaurant. It was just a small restaurant that was just nearby. We bypassed the whole party scene. It’s much more my style. I was excited, but I think I would’ve been very overwhelmed. Does life in any way feel diﬀerent now that you’ve won a James Beard? No, I don’t think so. When I came back from Chicago it was interesting to me how many people knew about it who were not in the food business. In the food business we all knew about it, but I was shocked that random people knew about it. It made me realize that it was a big deal that people were really aware of. Have you worn the actual medal? I got it, and then I packed it because we were coming back from Chicago. And then I packed it in my backpack because I was going to show the team, and then I forgot about it. And then one day I was cleaning my backpack and it fell out. So for about three weeks, I thought I lost it. I hadn’t told anyone that I lost it. Now I don’t know where it is; it’s somewhere...I hope. Tell me about the most memorable meal you’ve ever had. We went to Paris in 2000-something for a couple of weeks on vaca-tion. We ate everywhere and it was awesome and we
Back Bay Flour (Opposite) Photo by Natalie Rosenbaum instagram: @enrose
loved it. And about 10 days in, it was New Year’s Eve, and Christopher said, “What do you want to eat tonight?” and I looked at him and said, “I have to have Chinese food.” I just couldn’t do another night of the butter and whatever we were eating. I just needed soy and garlic and ginger. So there was this little Chinese place where we had dinner, and it could have been the crappiest Chinese food in the world, but it was so good. And that was the night we got engaged. Wow. Did you see it coming? He was on edge the whole night, which I didn’t understand. I was like, Maybe he’s upset we chose Chinese food and maybe he’s not enjoying it. He just seemed so different. I was like, Oh crap, maybe we should go eat more French food. And then he proposed after we went walking, so it all made sense. Have you ever heard that the bagels in Boston are bad because of the water? [Laughs.] No. Really?
Yeah. So why are bagels in Boston so terrible? Are they? I don’t know. I mean, to make a bagel requires commitment. You can’t just, like, make 10 bagels. People have asked us for years, “Why don’t you oﬀer bagels?” It requires a whole other setup. You have to sell a lot of bagels to make it worth your while. You have to make the dough, and then hand-shape the bagel, and then you have to boil them, and then you bake them, so it’s a multistep process. I think it’s just hard to make money on them unless you make a lot of them, and then if you make a lot of them, you’re going to be a bagel bakery. You’re known to travel among Flour’s various locations on your bike. Do you think the city is doing a good job accommodating bicycles? It could do better. I don’t fear it, although it’s the one thing Christopher and I fight about. For me, it’s such a convenient way to get around, especially because of the locations of the bakery. I’m shocked sometimes at how rude drivers can be to bikers. Why are they so mad at us? And I’m a driver, too. I think it’s important for bikers to drive at least occasionally, and for drivers to bike at least occasionally.
You have a reputation for being very nice; even several people who have never met you told me how nice you were. Can Joanne Chang be mean? I don’t think it’s in me; I really don’t. I don’t have it in me to be negative. Of course, there is stuff that you’re like, “Ugh,” but I know how I feel when I’m being the best me I can be, versus when I get into gossip or I’m just being mean. Can you explain? The other day, one of our chefs at our production kitchen came up to me. He’s a very religious man. I’ve known him for six or seven years. He started out as a dishwasher, worked his way up to prep cook, and now he’s our production chef at our production kitchen and he’s awesome. He came up to me and said, “Joanne, you’re so nice. Why are you so nice?” And he said, “You don’t have religion, so how do you do it?” And I said to him (and this is how I feel) I know how hard life is for everybody, for the richest person in the world, for the most beautiful person in the world, for the poorest person, for somebody who’s in jail. For every single person who walks this earth, life is hard. I feel that very strongly. Life is challenging. And so I feel that if I can try to make life better even a little bit, then that’s what I want to do.
How many employees do you have? Our count went up to 358. We have about 50 per location and we have four locations, plus the commissary, which is 50, plus we’re hiring for Harvard Square, plus Myers + Chang.
And this is something you try to instill in your employees? Sometimes a customer will come in, and they’re having a bad day and they’ll be mean. It’s hard for the staff — my staff will say it’s the hardest thing about working here, when they have to deal with a mean guest. And I always try to get them to understand that they’re being mean to you, but they’re not really seeing you. They’re just in the middle of something personal that’s with them right before they walk in the door. So they’re yelling at you, but they’re just yelling at whoever they’re mad at. I just try to equip my employees to smile. And it’s tough, but it’s worth it.
Do you still know all of your employees’ names? Yep. So far! We just hired a bunch of people at Harvard Square that I’m still working on.
Cambridge Flour (Left) Photo by Jon Olszewski instagram: @flourbakeryandcafe
flour locations KEN SQUDALL ARE
40 Erie St Cambridge, MA 02139
190 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
30 Dalton St Boston, MA 02115
131 Clarendon St Boston, MA 02116
1595 Washington St Boston, MA 02118
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Pumpkin Spice Everything
How Blackbird Stole The Show
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Fall 2018 / Vol. 3. :No. 3. / US 17.95