Thursday, October 15, 2009

How did this stuff get into my baguette?

One of the items I bought at Fairway Market in Paramus on Tuesday was a baguette for 99 cents, but I'm not sure whether that's the sale or regular price. This is a good loaf of bread, though you shouldn't expect anything like the signature baguette from Balthazar Bakery in Englewood.

When I looked at the ingredient list of the Fairway loaf, I did a double-take. Here it is, as it appears on the label: "Flour, white sour (wheat flour, acetic acid, lactic acid, canola oil), malt, USA 500 (datem, sodium stearol, lactylate, soybean oil, L-cystine, asorbic acid, potassium bromate, ada enzyme), salt, yeast, corn meal."

I called Balthazar for the ingredients of its baguette. Here they are: flour, white rye flour, water, salt, barley, malt, yeast." The loaf is 8 ounces, compared with Fairway's 12 ounces, and the price has been $2 since Balthazar opened in November 2002.

Another thing I noticed on the Fairway label is the words "artisanal bakery." Artisan bread is hand-formed, and if you go to Balthazar's cozy retail store on South Dean Street around mid-day, you'll see the bakers shaping the dough. Does Fairway really hand-form its bread?

It's no contest. The Balthazar loaf is the one to buy. It also comes as a double baguette for $4. Either Balthazar loaf is great for sandwiches, great for sopping up pasta sauce, great for just tearing off a hunk and dipping it into extra-virgin olive oil.


  1. It often shocks me to read the label on a loaf of bread. Although I can bake bread (with a tiny list of ingredients - bread flour, water, yeast, honey, olive oil, pinch of salt) I hate to say I haven't the time to indulge in this too often (and my lovely breadmaker is one with UK voltage - useless here in NJ!). I'm going to have to check out Balthazar now, thanks for mentioning them and reminding me of the strange stuff that goes into regular bread.

  2. I really had no idea of what can go into bread. If you go to Balthazar, Jerry's Gourmet and More is only a few blocks away, so don't miss it. Wonderful Italian food and ingredients. I had an electric tea kettle made in the UK with a weird plug, but was able to use it by changing the plug itself.


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