A new Source for Good Bread: Breadsmith in Cranford

When we recently went to the Car Show in Cranford we also saw that there is a new bread store called "Breadsmith". When I initially drove by I thought the place would become a bank (immediately thinking "No, please, not another bank") as the logo they put up at the store somehow reminds you much more of a typical bank logo than an artisan bread store.

Breadsmith is a Mid Western chain. Most of their stores are in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio. The Cranford, NJ, location is their first and so far only store in the Northeast. I'm not sure why they selected Cranford as a bridgehead to conquer the East Coast. But good bread is certainly dearly missing in NJ. Manhattan has Le Pain Quotidien, so the market there is already pretty competitive for high-end artisan bread. NJ probably has more opportunities for them. One might speculate that the site was selected anticipating an acceleration of the current upgrades happening in downtown Cranford.

Breadsmith is certainly a friendly place. The staff is really helpful and attentive. At the left side of the store they have a large rack where all the bread is displayed. There is a little divider/fence in front of that rack as they seemingly don't want people to actually touch the bread. The fence is also a good place to put down the coffee cup that I don't to walk around with all the time. The staff behind the fence will explain and show to you the different breads they have and they will also give you good sized samples of pretty much everything. I really like that. The bread isn't cheap so at least you can figure out if you like it before you buy it.

They do have a few standards that are available every day and a weekly rotation of breads that are only available at particular day of the week. The menu is on their web site. I think this is a good idea and comprise. Their turnover is probably not high enough to afford having 50 different types of bread available all the time. With rotation, you can still get some variety.

After tasting several of their breads (all good but not all really super excellent) we selected the focaccia that was overall the best tasting sample. A firm but somewhat chewy texture with some moisture of the inside. The outside you can't really call a crust. It feels more like a membrane (that keeps the moisture inside) which is exactly what a good focaccia should be. It contains some herbs that give it well round flavor profile. Overall it is a bit heavier than a lot of the super market focaccias but I actually liked that. And it lasted for a long time. We had a piece left after 5 days. It was a little drier than at the first day but it was still a bit moist and had a good consistency. If all their breads lasted that long that would be another bonus.

Although their breads are certainly not bargains their prices are not too much above upscale breads you can get in a supermarket. At least for the focaccia, I can certainly confirm that compared to the supermarket version the one from Breadsmith tastes better, lasts longer and is typically fresher. So the premium on the price is IMHO justified.

I'm sure we will be back to try a few more of their breads.

Signing Off - The Westfield Blogger

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about Breadsmith. I just get some bread there. Rather pricy, but the bread is good and they really let you sample everything.