Southern Brooklyn

Wherefore Art Thou, Bread? (The Bite)


THE BITE: This week I’m asking you, the readers of  Sheepshead Bites, for some help. I’m looking for the best bread in the neighborhood. More specifically, I’m looking for the best sliced-to-order, warm-from-the-oven loaf of bread.

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
James Beard (1903-1985)

I agree with Mr. Beard. Sometimes a good loaf  of bread with fresh butter is all you need and all that will satisfy. I want to experience that bread again.

As a kid growing up on Long Island, we had our fair share of bakeries. You’d go into the bakery, as early as possible in the morning, and pick up a loaf of freshly baked white, wheat or pumpernickel bread.  If you wanted challah or rye, you had to go to the Jewish bakery across town.

You’d tell the girl behind the counter – it was always a girl working the counter; the men worked the ovens and stocked the shelves – your choice of bread and she’d ask if you wanted it sliced or not.

We always had our bread sliced. I grew up in a home with four boys, so having pre-sliced bread was mom’s way to try and ensure that there was a chance that the loaf would be evenly divided. Nice try, mom.

I’d stand back and watch the heavy blades of the machine come down on that golden loaf and shake their way through the bread, slicing it into 3/8″ thick slices. It was fascinating. I’m still intrigued every time I watch a bread slicing machine in action. I remember my grandmother warning us to stay away from the machine. “It could take a finger, ” she’d say, even though the machine was safely located behind the counter.

But times have changed. Most of the traditional bakeries in the area have shuttered. Vito’s and T & D remain, but all the rest seem to have disappeared. You can get packaged, pre-sliced breads in just about any market in the area, but they don’t have the flavor or the ambiance of a freshly sliced loaf still warm from the oven.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some great bakeries and storefronts making all sorts of Turkish, Armenian, Georgian and other Middle Eastern and Eastern European breads in the neighborhood. But those breads aren’t made for slicing. They’re made for dipping and ripping, not sandwiches or toasting.

So, ladies and gents, tell me – where do you go for a freshly sliced loaf of bread, still warm from the oven?

The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.

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  1. Not always warm, but nice and fresh…Cuccio’s on Ave X and West St.  Yum..Yum!  For another treat, depending on the time of day, I have gotten fresh baked (still hot)  Italian bread and rolls from Meat Supreme on Ave U. and W 6 St.

  2. I know you are looking for white bread and I have not got a clue for plain old white bread bakeries. BUT T&D is my favorite for Italian bread…the twisted with sesame kind. I go there at least 3 X’s a week for rolls. It’s addicting. 

  3. Ah yes, Cuccio’s. It was in the back of my mind as I writing this article. but Curccio’s is closer to our sister site, Bensonhurst Bean’s territory. 

    I’ve found that I hit Cuccio’s more for the “Rockies”, onion rolls and sweets than for their loaves of bread. One of my first visits to Cuccio’s I ordered – “that Italian bread thing that looks like a tree.” The old lady, and if you’ve ever visited Cuccio’s you know of whom I speak, laughed at me and said “Where are you from? You don’t know a Rockie?”I’ve had this happen before in the area. Coming from the island, we have some different terminologies for things. “No,” I said and turned to my wife who was born and raised in Sheepshead Bay, “Do you?” “No, I never heard of it,” was her reply. But we ordered them, packed them into the car and brought the “Rockies” out to a party in Southern Jersey. We’ve since been told we’re not allowed back to that home without them. I’ve taken these to many states and many foodie events outside of NY – always to rave reviews.And for all you born and raised in Sheepshead Bay and have never heard of a “Rockie,” it’s a standard Italian Bread dough that is shaped into oval leaf like loaves, which are then connected to look like a tree branch. Try it out. 

  4. I would suggest Cherry Hill… they have fresh-baked selectiob, or… Fairway in Red Hook, if you are not limited to Sheepsheadbay… 

  5. Where can you find a decent Jewish rye bread these days.  The rye breads at Kosher palace leave a lot to be desired.  The rye breads, they sell in some of the stores, that go for $2.29 a loaf, are usually not bake fully, as the sides are not brown.
    Years ago, when you bought a rye bread, it had a crisp crust and the bakery put it
    in a white waxed paper bag.

  6. Presser’s on Avenue M near E.17th Street has very nice rye bread, cut on their machine or do it yourself.

  7. The Russian Bazaar on Brighton Beach Ave has alot of tasty fresh made bread in the back corner diagonally across from the produce. It pays to ask when the fresh loaves are going to be in and have them sliced on the spot…stand by with butter- Yummy!

  8. Net Cost Supermarket on E. 16th off Neck Road bakes a wide variety of breads that can be sliced, including various Euro versions of white bread.  But here’s the deal: the dough is actually manufactured in a commercial bakery in Lithuania, and distributed (frozen, I think) to outlets like Net Cost worldwide, where it is actually baked.  So … it is sort of fresh baked.  I’ve tried many varieties, and they are quite good. 

    The Turkish grocery on Ocean Ave and Ave W, next to Manor Electric, makes fresh white loaves, but I don’t think they have a slicer, if that matters to you.  They also make some great whole wheat flat breads, etc.

  9. It’s not going to be sliced, but it will be amazing, super hot, slightly on the salty side, a bit reminiscent of a pizza crust. Georgian bread, on Neptune (corner of Brighton 6)

  10. Just the other day I was remembering the bagel shop on S Bay Rd & 15 St where you could go any time of day and get a good, fresh bagel. The other morning, my local bagel shop, not even that good, wasn’t even open before 7!

  11. Fuggedaboutit!!!! The LAST BEST BREAD Bakery in Brooklyn is VITO’S on ave U!!!! Try thier seeded twist OMG It’s the BEST BREAD bakery in Brooklyn. They proof their dough for 24 hours which allows it to rise and ferment to a flavor NOT LIKE any other bread available in Brooklyn… Great bread used to be all over broklyn… Sad to say that is NOT the case anymore,,, cheez I could sit with a loaf of seeded twist and a POT of coffee, its so good it doesn’t need butter… Taste it to Believe it>>>> 

  12. Not around here, but worth the trip. At the Sunday greenmarket on Fifth Avenue and Fourth Street in Park Slope, one of the vendors is Orwashers, a Manhattan bakery. They have a rye with a great crust, sour, and full of seeds. Terrific!

  13. Sounds super healthy. Try the Flatbush Coop on Cortelyou or the Grand Army Plaza green market on Saturday mornings.

  14. Fresh Jewish Rye, Pumpernickel, and White along with Onion Rolls, donuts and Danish… The only way to savor those aromas and tastes again is to get into the Time Machine circa 1965. Weisen’s Bakery on Sheepshead Bay Road near the station and Leon’s Bakery on Knapp Street near Ave. U. For Italian Bread, there was none better than Cuccio’s on Ave X; but you better get there early on Sunday or there would be no bread left. 

  15.  Thanks.

    do they require membership?

    and Sprouted Wheat Bread is probably the Best bread you can get. it has no fat, no cholesterol, a bit of fiber, and calories are really low too 🙂 Best bread for anyone dieting as well.  only place i found it as at Forces of Nature on sheepshead bay, and it’s 8 bucks. screw that, to expensive yo!


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