by Molly Bradley
Two insanely perfect baguettes compete for the title of Best Baguette. Are you on the edge of your seat?
[to add @ end: Foodlyn products to put on bread]
She Wolf Bakery
She Wolf started out providing bread for a restaurant called Roman’s, but its reputation got out, and soon it was providing bread to some of the best restaurants in Brooklyn. They now sell their bread at farmers’ markets in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. While they bake their bread in a space in Greenpoint, they don’t have an independent storefront — you’ll have to catch them at a market or enjoy their bread with other delicious offerings from Marlow & Sons or Reynard.
She Wolf’s baguette was written up by Grub Street in 2016 as one of New York City’s “absolute best,” so we had to see for ourselves. We picked up a baguette to enjoy on its own, with some butter and cheese, and as a sandwich, to see where this baguette shines.
The She Wolf baguette is slightly shorter than your standard baguette, a little smaller in diameter, and darker in color. When you break off a piece, it’s immediately clear that it isn’t as soft as your typical baguette. But when you bite into it, the taste is far more substantial and superior to classic baguettes: the bread is made with [whole wheat flour?], so it tastes much nuttier and more like a boule. It’s a really good taste.
The crust of the baguette feels more uniform with its interior and less like the thin, crispy shell of a traditional one. This makes sense, given its density and the fact that it’s not made with pure white flour.
With a spread:
The taste of the baguette is pronounced enough that it’s not just a vehicle for whatever you put on it: it’s a co-star. This ends up being a really great thing. The nuttiness supplemented the taste of butter and cheese without distracting from them.
As a sandwich:
As a sandwich, the flavor of the bread would make for a great addition to the more core ingredients — if it weren’t for the fact that the texture is just a little too hard to bite through without smushing the contents of the sandwich out the sides. It’s also such a mouthful that it’s hard to taste the other ingredients while you’re breaking down the bread with your teeth. As much as we love this bread, we can’t give it full points as a sandwich baguette.
While She Wolf’s baguette conform to what you might want from a traditional one, it’s a great-tasting and hearty bread that’ll suit other needs.
Bakeri opened in 2009 as a distinctly European-style bakery, serving all kinds of breads, pastries, and café fare at its three different locations (East Village, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint).
It excels at what it does, offering delicate but filling European classics with a slightly modern twist. If you sit down for breakfast or lunch, you can order one of a variety of familiar tartines — a plate of two hearty slabs of bread served with toppings such as hard-boiled egg and roasted cherry tomatoes or the classic butter and jam or nutella — but you’ll be topping the bread with egg or spreading it with butter yourself, to taste. It’s an indulgent but down-to-earth experience — and that’s just their menu.
The real highlight of Bakeri are their breads and pastries. The bread they serve with the tartines and sandwiches are all perfect for the job: they’re soft but sturdy and taste as home-baked as it gets. If you buy a boule or a baguette, you’ll be taking home an enviably, perfectly shaped treat that won’t last you long.
We’d heard rave reviews of Bakeri’s baguettes too, so we decided to pit them against She Wolf’s in this baguette-off.
Bakeri’s baguette is maybe a hair bigger than She Wolf’s, but in all other ways looks much more like a classic Baguette: it’s light orange in color, with a perfect shallow split along its length.
Tearing off a piece and biting into it, too, is a decidedly more baguette-like experience: the crumb is much lighter than She Wolf’s, and the crust achieves something much closer to an outer shell — not quite as flaky as a traditional baguette, but satisfyingly authentic.
With a spread:
This is the perfect baguette to rip a hunk off of and drag through soft butter or cheese. It’s definitely much more of a vehicle than She Wolf’s baguette, with its more definitive flavor, but Bakeri’s baguette achieves that dual crisp-fluffiness, thanks to the distinct textures of the crust and the crumb, to accompany a smooth spread.
As a sandwich:
Definitely the better sandwich baguette. It’s less hard to both bite into and chew, and the milder taste would play much better with all kinds of ingredients.
In the baguette contest, Bakeri wins, hands-down. But at the end of the day, this baguette and She Wolf’s are totally different beasts.