The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

how to make bread like Columbus Bakery in Syracuse NY?

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mbeatle's picture
mbeatle

how to make bread like Columbus Bakery in Syracuse NY?

The Columbus Bakery in Syracuse NY makes excellent Italian bread. I would love to make something like it at home. I'm hoping someone here has had the bread and can point me in the right direction. For those who haven't sampled it, I'll try to describe it.


they have different shapes for sale but I think they are all made from the same dough. I can't find a picture of a cut loaf to share. The second photo in this article is the best I could find.


(can't seem to insert url without triggering forum spam filter)


The crumb is soft and pillowy, not chewy. The crust is hard, has some physical depth and is not shiny. The only ingredients are flour, yeast, water and salt.


Thanks,


Myron

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

A lot of whether you will be able to make a similar bread depends on your skill level, your knowledge of bread baking, available equipment and materials. 


I'm guessing by the descriptions you give of the bread that you are not an experienced artisan bread baker.  This is not meant to be a criticism, just an observation.  Baking bread is easy, baking a fine artisanal loaf "like the bread at the Columbus Bakery" may turn out to be a lifetime purusit. 


You've come to the right place to learn, though.  Spend some time reading through the lessons, the handbook, and the various forums.  Learn the "lingo" (terminology) so you can better describe the bread.  If you already know how to bake yeast breads, try a loaf of something new to stretch your knowledge base.  Or if you've never baked a loaf of bread before, start with something simple.


You will learn just how much there is to the pursuit of artisan bread, and even if you can't quite duplicate the Columbus Bakery loaf, you will certainly learn to appreciate it even more.  And you may be thrilled  about  just how much you can accomplish in your own oven, with nothing but some flour ,water, and salt. 


 

mbeatle's picture
mbeatle

I have made a number of lean doughs from BBA etc. However, in my experience artisan breads tend to have either a drier or chewier crumb than the bread at the Columbus. I know Italian breads are often described as having a softer crumb but this is typically arrived at by the addition of oil, or milk, both of which lead to something different than the Columbus.


So perhaps what I'm really asking is how to achieve a soft crumb with a lean dough? Maybe its a low protein flour.

ilovetodig's picture
ilovetodig

Try  www. theartisan.net .   This is a really good site for baking Italian-type bread. 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I Googled the bakery and wow, Columbus Bakery sure has fantastic reputation for excellent bread.  It makes only "Italian-style" bread - plus pizza dough.  It apparently also sells uncooked dough, which can be baked at home.   I could find no information of the formula or whether they use any preferment.


I checked Reinhart's BBA but his recipe includes oil, sugar, and diastatic malt powder (optional), so I don't think that's what you're looking for.


Here's a short video of Jimmy Retzos, the owner.  But it won't tell you much about the bread.


My suggestion is that you just find some recipes and start baking.  Have fun!

breadman1015's picture
breadman1015

I've never seen their bread, but it sounds similar to what we used to make in the bakery. You may want to try this:Italian Bread. It does have a little OliveOil to soften the crumb.



Sponge


2 Tbs. Yeast
2 cup Warm Water
3 cup Bread Flour


Dough


3 Tbs. Sugar
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
3 cup Flour
1 Tbs. Salt
Sesame Seeds



In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, combine all of the ingredients for the Sponge. Mix, using the dough hook, until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand until doubled in volume, about one hour.



Stir down the Sponge. Add the Sugar, Olive Oil, 2 cups Flour, and Salt. Mix until the Dough comes away from the sides of the bowl; adding more flour (1/4 cup at a time) if Dough is too soft. Knead at low speed until smooth and elastic; about 5 minutes. Knead at medium speed for an additional 5 minutes to strengthen the gluten. Form the Dough into a tight ball; place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap; and allow to proof until doubled, about one hour.



Punch down Dough and form into two oval loaves. Place Loaves on a cornmeal-dusted baking pan; brush with water; sprinkle with Sesame Seeds; cover with oiled plastic wrap; and allow to proof until doubled in size, about one hour.



Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut 3 diagonal slashes in each Loaf. Bake with steam until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on racks.

breadman1015's picture
breadman1015

Ooops! That should have been 2 teaspoonsYeast, not 2 Tablespoons.


Italian Bread


Sponge


2 tsp. Yeast
2 cup Warm Water
3 cup Bread Flour


Dough


3 Tbs. Sugar
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
3
cup
Flour
1 Tbs. Salt
Sesame Seeds



In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, combine all of the ingredients for the Sponge. Mix, using the dough hook, until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand until doubled in volume, about one hour.



Stir down the Sponge. Add the Sugar, Olive Oil, 2 cups Flour, and Salt. Mix until the Dough comes away from the sides of the bowl; adding more flour (1/4 cup at a time) if Dough is too soft. Knead at low speed until smooth and elastic; about 5 minutes. Knead at medium speed for an additional 5 minutes to strengthen the gluten. Form the Dough into a tight ball; place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap; and allow to proof until doubled, about one hour.



Punch down Dough and form into two oval loaves. Place Loaves on a cornmeal-dusted baking pan; brush with water; sprinkle with Sesame Seeds; cover with oiled plastic wrap; and allow to proof until doubled in size, about one hour.



Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut 3 diagonal slashes in each Loaf. Bake with steam until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on racks.

hermitme's picture
hermitme

I used to live in Syracuse and we had been buying Columbus Bakery bread since I was a kid.  The only ingredients listed on the paper bag are flour, yeast and salt.  The bakers use a stone oven, and I'm not sure about the pans, maybe they use a baking stone of some kind.   I think the secret ingredient is the amount of ingredients, the time baked, the oven baked in and who knows, maybe there is a pre-dough.


 Oh, and maybe the kneading style and length.


 

giertson's picture
giertson

Here is the good news:


 


While you may take some time to master handling and shaping dough, you can make a bread that tastes very much like the bread made at Columbus Bakery (I grew up on the stuff too) on your first try. In fact, give yourself time to learn and you may find yourself looking down on their bread. No really. By the standards of the "artisan" community and by bakeries outside of Syracuse and in larger cities, their product is good, but not great. I try not to be a snob, but I have to be honest. I thought their bread was the apex of bread until I became a baker myself.


 


Here, make this -


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/mydailybread


 


This is a very popular bread/link on this site with tons of great feedback, advice and examples. Practice this bread. Make it any shape you can think of. I suggest it because it was one of the first breads I learned and when I tasted the result I thought, "Holy H! This tastes just like Columbus bakery!" Possessing a bit more experience I can say that it comes down to the preferment. A humble overnight poolish is exactly what you need to replicate that haunting, formative flavor us Syracusians experienced eating from Columbus Bakery. Floyd's daily bread should give you both the flavor you seek and a recipe flexible enough to accomadate the various shapes you seek to create. Plus, with all the activity on that link you may pick up extra ideas. It is a great place to start.


 


And again, please understand that I am trying not to be abrasive when I say you may soon find yourself wholly unimpressed with Columbus Bakery, regardless of your fond feelings. Objectively speaking, it is not great. They are consistent, flavorful and without a doubt, an important institution. I would never take that away from them. But trust me, it only gets better (soooo much better, and diverse, and interesting, and so on...) from there.

kmrice's picture
kmrice

What a blast from the past! Left Syrancuse in 1980, haven't been to the Columbus Bakery in 30 years, but fond memories still linger. There are all kinds of bread, some, no doubt, "better" than what they make, but to me they still set the standard for "Italian Bread." Theirs and Battaglini Bakery's in Binghamton.


Both bakeries only used water, yeast, salt and flour. Both used what they called "high protein" flour. I suspect that King Arthur All Purpose has as high a protein content as they used, so to copy them I would start with that. KA's Bread Flour is even higher, but I suspect it is higher than they used. I used to get my high protein flour at a mill north of Syracuse - Liverpool or someplace. No idea of the actual protein content.


Go with a high hydration - I don't know their formula anymore (I used to have the Battaglini formula but don't know if I can find it) but their dough was much wetter than I was used to.


Use a scale. I got my first one (still have it) after a visit to Battaglini's in 1972 or so. I asked if they would share their recipe. They did, but it was all by weight.


My instinct would be to go with a long, cool proof, but my memories of both bakeries is of pretty warm places (at least for central or southern tier New York) so maybe this is not necessary.


Good luck!

hermitme's picture
hermitme

I finally tried the recipe for My Daily Bread and my family and I love it.  I made the second loaf with olives and it was fantastic also.  Great recipe.  I made a copy for my sister in law because she loved it also.


Thanks for the great bread.