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What to you miss from your neighborhood "old school" Bakery?

I ask this because while in my local Wegman's earlier today, I realized that their bakery department just cannot compare with the neighborhood bakeries of my childhood. I remember every Sunday stopping at our local Bakery in Bay Shore, NY and getting those "white mountain" rolls, Parker house rolls, kaiser rolls....and the best--crumb buns with so many humongous crumbs,,we would pick off the sugary buns then get in trouble--but it didn't matter. The crumbs were well-worth the scoldings..fresh jelly donuts..and the salty/sweet bakery chocolate chip cookies...those black and white cookies. OMG. I'm getting sad just thinking about the fact I no longer live in an area with an old school bakery. Any comments or feelings?

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  1. Onion rye was ubiquitous in the German/Jewish bakeries of my Long island youth. I've lived in Massachusetts for 40 years - it is unheard of here. Most of the indie bakeries here are Greek or Italian. Their pastries can be overly sweet and they don't seem to use much butter compared to the French or German or Jewish bakeries. Not to mention the bagel situation. Your jaw should hurt by the time you finish an "echt" bagel, and it should be smaller than the palm of your hand.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      Don't get me started on bagels.....Long Island and the boroughs are the only places that you can get a decent bagel or bialy. Please. I haven't had a decent one since I left NY....but you're right..I totally forgot about Onion rye.

    2. in-house made white bread braided and baked in standard loaf pan - steamed up windows - sesame seeds on top of the bread - up at 10th and Sasamat for any old (ie the way it was) Vanc people - University Bakery

      1. Black & white cookies and those giant vanilla sprinkle cookies.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jbsiegel

          there are a couple of good sources for black & white cookies here in los angeles

        2. Sour cream donut sticks... dunked in a cup of coffee. Those always were my favorite breakfast treat.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              For me, more specifically, jelly donuts. The fried kind with real jelly/jam inside and granulated sugar on the outside.

              Not those horrid things filled with pie filling that drop icing sugar everywhere.

              1. re: Sooeygun

                Oh yeah. I don't have a hard time finding a decent (but not great) jelly donut, but I just ran across the pie filling ones for the first time the other day. I took a couple of bites and tossed them for being "not worth the calories."

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Yes. The jelly donuts were called "bismarcks". I also miss the donuts fried in the old Homer Price-style machines (in lard, naturally) rolled in sugar and cinnamon. The grease would soak through the bag. My God, they were good.

            2. Sour rye, bialys, and seven layer cake. I live now in Austin, not an epicenter of baking. I also really miss great French bakeries...Napoleons, baguettes and boules, babas, caneles, and, of course, croissant, and I don't mean almond or chocolate. I mean leave a puddle butter croissants.

              1. The small bakeries in Brooklyn that would only bake bread or those that would only bake biscotti .Mostly Sicilian bakeries with extensive varieties to choose from. With the exception of the muffaletta there are breads such as scaleda or a lasteda that I just don't see in the small indies.

                1. I still have an "old school" neighborhood bakery near me. Aside from the donuts, which are worlds better than anything you can get at a chain or supermarket, the baked goods are all made with shortening and not butter so have no flavor. I would imagine that's how they all were when I was a kid as this bakery has been around since I was a kid. I have memories of big, frosted chocolate brownies but I bet I make better ones now.

                  1. The biggest thing I miss from the bakery is the Vietnamese banh mi. I grew up in New Orleans right in the area with all the Vietnamese and there was only 1 bakery that everyone would go to buy the bread from. I can't wait to get some bread when I go to New Orleans in Sept. They also have pate so but bread couldn't be beat.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: vttp926

                      Pletzels, salt sticks, bialys (oh my!) - pumpernickel bread of incredible density with corn starch on the bottom - Anyone remember Mrs. Douglas's bakery in Greenwich Village? I dream of her chocolate cake.

                        1. re: Bigley9

                          Gosh, yes, salt sticks. Silbers in Baltimore, where I grew up, had the best!

                    2. Reading all these responses makes me realize how lucky I am to have so many good bakeries to chose from in my area (NYC). Within 10 minutes of my home or work I have access to good Italian bread and pastries, a kosher bake shop, cheesecake, black and white cookies, bagels, bialys and more.

                      My first job in high school was in a kosher-style bakery (long gone now) and the one thing I haven't been able to find is cornbread. It's not the kind you eat with chili, and it's not even made from corn--it's kind of like rye bread, but better. Dense and chewy. It's just not in favor any longer, I suppose. I can't even find it at Zabar's. The lady at Moishe's knew what it was, but they didn't have it that day.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: iluvcookies

                        I think you mean "korn" (German for grain), not corn. Check supermarkets for Rubschlager brand breads in the deli/cheese section. It is thin-sliced squares of very dense brown bread containing a variety of grains/seeds depending on how many types they sell. "Vollkornbrot" means whole grain bread.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          It could be spelled korn, but it's not a brown bread. It's light colored and tasted like rye but denser and a little more sour.
                          The places I've researched seem to all be in the outer boroughs.


                          1. re: iluvcookies

                            Oh I do remember that cornbread - definitely a rye but sour and also a little lighter-textured - fabulous with sweet better. Mmm....nice memory

                            1. re: iluvcookies

                              I've always seen that called "corn rye" (not cornbread). Lots of threads about it.

                          2. re: iluvcookies

                            Totally going to get some of this corn bread!

                            1. re: cheesecake17

                              If you find it please let me know where. I'm going to try to stop by Moishe's later this week and hopefully they will have some!

                          3. Fresh baked Bialy, Challah, Russian dark dark rye, the true Mocha cakes and like you fresh jelly donuts.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: HillJ

                              Dark Russian Rye - even places that say they make it don't make it as dark and dense as i remember it!

                            2. date bars -- the ones with the flaky crust/cookie layer type bottom, then the layer of date puree/jam then a crumbly topping.

                              but we have a tremendous bakery nearby, so there are many compensating pastries and other goodies. pastries by randolph has really kept going up in standards -- from a baseline of a "very high" standard.

                              1. From the neighborhood bakery in East Flatbush/Brownsville (Brooklyn) I miss onion boards, rye bread with a to-die-for crust, charlotte russes and chiffon cake. And from the just-out-of-the-neighborhood bakery -- Ebinger's blackout cake.

                                We didn't get our bagels or bialys from the bakery. For bagels we'd go over to the bagel factory that was in the basement of a building on Herzl Street, and we'd get our bialys from the corner grocery store, right across the street from the bagel factory.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: CindyJ

                                  OMG. Don't even go there with the Blackout Cake! Before we lived in L.I., we lived in Queens. My dad was a cop in Rockaway and would travel into brooklyn just for the blackout cake. Boy..blackout cake and a cold glass of milk. Is there anything better?

                                2. A NYC hard roll...I don't care what you put in it!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cavandre

                                    Yes...and placed in the oven for a moment to warm up..then slathered with butta..mmmmmmmmmmm

                                  2. Transplanted from Jersey to Delaware......I miss Hard Rolls. And until recently there was not even a decent bakery here.
                                    Whassup with that??

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Nanzi

                                      So there's a decent bakery now in DE? Whereabout?

                                      1. re: CindyJ

                                        When I moved to DE, there were still two bakeries in my NJ hometown making true Hard Rolls. When I moved back, there were none. Not only did I have to suffer the paucity of any good bakeries in and around Wilmington when I was there,* I had to return to the demise of those I grew up loving.

                                        Most folks don't understand the Hard Roll and think it's just like a Kaiser. It's not. There is one place a bit away that still makes 'em. If I want the perfect burger, I'll go get a couple.

                                        *As well as admit I lived in Delaware.

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          As they say, "DelaWHERE?"

                                          Come to think of it, I also moved from (central) NJ to Wilmington, about a hundred years ago. For me it wasn't so traumatic; the part of NJ I moved from was in the middle of nowhere. Closest landmark -- the Great Adventure.

                                    2. Where I'm from, the majority of our bakeries were German or Austrian so I grew up on beautifully moist tortes, intricate marzipan animals and light nut flour cookies. When I moved to NYC I had to get used to middling Italian bakeries whose strong flavors and heavy ricotta creams are not my cup of tea. The black and white cookie, which can't even decide if it is crumbly cake or stale cookie, is beyond bewildering to me. And even while we have new modernist bakeries doing interesting things with bacon and cupcakes, I would go to bed very happy after just a single vanillekipferl.

                                      1. As an Army brat, my childhood was spent in six or seven different places across the globe. It always amazes me how many of you just stayed in one spot.

                                        But I still miss the Brotchen from the Brotchen lady who would come on base and sell them from the back of her car. Every now and then she had pretzels too, but her Brotchen were the best.

                                        1. The best dinner rolls which were always the star at Thanksgiving and since my grandmother would be dozens and dozens of them, the highlight of meal 24/7 for a good month or so. I can't find rolls like that anywhere - they were simply called "Mama's rolls"

                                          1. Hard rolls.

                                            Sacher torte.

                                            Black and white cookies that don't taste prefab.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: DuchessNukem

                                              Really hate when the black & whites are in a "hermetically-sealed" package. Def prefab!

                                            2. It was from this small bakery up in Eureka - for every holiday and family celebration, we'd get these beautiful champagne cakes, covered in buttercream roses. As a kid, I went nuts for the stuff, and it somehow only got better sitting in the icebox.

                                              1. Salt rising bread which our neighborhood bakery sold once a week.
                                                They also had the best cream puffs I've ever had. The custard had a wonderful vanilla flavor.

                                                1. Mardorf's Bakery, Haverstraw NY. Every time you walked in you would just stand there and breathe. My father used to go in every Sunday morning before 8:45 Mass and get donuts, and for me, a warm from the oven cheese danish. We'd get all our birthday cakes, christening cakes, graduation cakes and treats from Mardorf's. Unfortunately, they closed. Nothing really compares.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: mrsbuffer

                                                    Oh, Haverstraw. Fifty years ago a bakery there called Diana's sold a giant unfilled doughnut-shaped cream-puff soaked in rum syrup, sort of a chou-paste baba au rhum.

                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                      I miss Mardof's Bakery:( i grew up in haverstraw and that was the place to go for baked goods...my husband as a teenager and father in law worked there in the back making cakes..best place ever very missed!!!

                                                  2. We do have an "Old School" bakery nearby! Can't say I was ever too thrilled with their products.
                                                    Rolls and Bread are without substance, the cakes are way too sweet for our taste, some of the Danish aren't too bad. My German butcher in the same shopping center sells the best bread in town, huge round Rye loaves fresh from a Russian bakery, cut into good size quarters. Better than any bread from the 'Old School" bakery.
                                                    And nowadays a Panera nearby beats the baked goods from the bakery hands down.

                                                    1. Apple fritters! With actual apples, still warm from the oven.

                                                      1. Mocha buttercream cake from Ebinger's bakery in Brooklyn.

                                                        Have been searching unsuccessfully for a recipe to replicate this for many years...

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Seeker19104

                                                          Why is the Ebinger Blackout Cake all over the Net in dozens of posts but there's no love for the classic Mocha buttercream cake? I've been waiting a long time to recreate that recipe to the exact spec myself!

                                                        2. Italian cheesecake (ricotta instead of cream cheese). Cupcakes with mounds of frosting shaped like Sesame Street characters. I don't really remember the cupcakes, but I loved the frosting. The various cookies sold by the pound. Giant sprinkle cookies. And my favorite, the black and white cookies. The bakery is now closed. I can similar around here, but it's not the same.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: viperlush

                                                            Sticky buns from Robertson's in Newtown, Pa. They were in a sheet and each was square. Yum!

                                                          2. The things I miss from New Zealand bakeries:


                                                            - NZ style Sally Lunn Buns - the NZ version has sultanas in the bun and a coconut icing
                                                            - Raspberry Lamingtons
                                                            - Apple turnovers
                                                            - Chocolate éclairs


                                                            - Cheese rolls - white bread rolls with cheddar baked on top
                                                            - Meat pies - mince and cheese or potato-top pies
                                                            - Good chicken sandwiches - my local roasted whole chickens to make their sandwiches
                                                            - Hot dog bread - hot dog wrapped in dough and baked

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: ultimatepotato

                                                              Proper Pie Co. recently opened in Richmond, VA, which means I can now have proper Lamingtons, ANZAC biscuits, savoury pies and more, as long as I'm willing to drive a few hours (and I am!). If you ever find yourself near there, it's absolutely worth it.

                                                              1. re: JulesNoctambule

                                                                That's so nice of you to mention it, but unfortunately I live in the UK =)

                                                            2. Where did we go wrong as a society that neighborhood bakeries have disappeared? I haven't found supermarket bakery goods that I consider even edible. I make ridiculous safaris to remote parts of town where "real" bakeries still linger, and I don't mean the $6 cupcake so-called bakeries. I look for real coffee cakes and sweet rolls full of actual nuts, raisins, and filling, and with dough not artifically colored yellow so it will look as if it has eggs in it. This is a mystery to me. We have a public that will pay any amount for fake food; I just can't believe they wouldn't pay for better quality baked goods that didn't come out of a chemistry lab.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                We got lazy. Running a "real" bakery is hard work, including getting up in the wee small hours of the morning.

                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                  Where did we go wrong/ Start by being lazy shoppers and/or having both parents woprk full time and have no time to shop at multiple stores.

                                                                  Back in the 1970s I worked at Leon's Bakery in Hamden, CT. It was an old schoold kosher bakery, with one partner having decades of experience as a cake/pastry man and the other a bread man.

                                                                  Leon's developed the frozen bake off concept used by supermarket bakeries, We would make the dough, shape and freeze and the loaves and rolls would be shipped to supertmarkets up and down the east coast of the US. The supermaket bakeries operated with freezers, steam boxes that could take a standing wheeled rack of sheet pans filled with product and ovens. Yes you were now able to buy fresh baked bread and rolls in the supermarket, but that rye bread you bought in Miami started as a frozen dough 4 months ago in Connecticut. In the 90s Leon's sold out to its biggest competitor.

                                                                  As to the use of color, it's nothing new. Egg color added to challah and egg know rolls has been around since the 50s. If it got late in the day and we needed more chocolate cakes baked and there was vanilla/gold batter available, they would just mix in some cocoa powder to color the cake.

                                                                  and the difference between a pumpernickel and seedless rye bread in the 70s, was the addition of caramel color to the dough while being mixed.

                                                                  Sadly, today's under 50 generation doesn't knwo what quality commercial baked goods taste like and this isn't sophisticated anough to reject much of what is offered.............

                                                                  LAST COMMENT>>>>the post 1980 anti cholestorol kick eliminated much of butter and shortening from great baked goods.

                                                                2. We do have an old school bakery nearby (well, it's 40 km away, but for me, that's as nearby as it gets). Culbert's Bakery has been open for 134 years, apart from the few months it was closed after a tornado ripped through the town of Goderich in August, 2011, destroying most of the downtown.

                                                                  From my childhood, though, I do miss the cinnamon danishes we could get at the bakery in Lucan, Ontario. That was a Saturday morning breakfast ritual.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Blush

                                                                    We are lucky in Philadelphia to have a lot of old school bakeries around, mostly Italian and German

                                                                  2. Rye bread in wax bags to preserve the crust. Old fashioned 7 layer cake.

                                                                    1. Rye bread with lots of caraway seeds. Yummmmm.

                                                                      1. There was a doughnut shop in my hometown that made the most amazing brown "crescent" doughnuts - I've never had anything like them elsewhere. They were a cake doughnut, but the insides were a rich yellow color with a very moist, almost velvety texture. The outsides were a deep chocolate brown color, I'm guessing due to the color of the batter. They were glazed with a simple clear glaze, and shaped into crescents. The shop closed and the crescent doughnuts were no more. I would pay a LOT for the recipe, but no one in town seems to know what happened to the owners. Bummer. Maybe I'll try to recreate it someday - I'm guessing the yellow color was due to egg yolks, and that there might have been some molasses in there (or brown sugar) to help the outer color along.

                                                                        1. There's a type of pizza in RI that is sold in bakeries, or also sold in plastic sleeves. It's a strip of sicilian type pizza without cheese. Rectangular in shape. I always wanted those at our bakery.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: fara

                                                                            Pizza strips! Love them and miss them.

                                                                          2. Scratch donuts. Yeasted coffeecakes. Real danish.

                                                                            1. Hi, jarona:

                                                                              Great post! My answer is: haystack macaroons.


                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                So easy to make! If I'm thinking of the ones you are talking about here.....

                                                                              2. Being from the South our local bakery didn't really specialize in great bread, but they did have good sweets.

                                                                                I miss the cream puffs. The filling wasn't this super sweet, sugary crap you see in filled doughnuts these days. They were much less sweet and almost buttercream-esc.

                                                                                They were also fried and you could sort of feel the outer "crust" pop a little when you bit into one.

                                                                                OMG...they were good.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: JayL

                                                                                  I have never heard of a FRIED cream puff!!! Sounds interesting.

                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                      It's just a fried yeast-style doughnut...cooled and the filling squeezed in.

                                                                                  1. Aside from the bread, flakey light fig squares are my weakness.

                                                                                    1. Modernistic cookies. (Clevelanders old enough for their local bakery to be Hough, unite!) NY-style black and white cookies always make me sad, because they make me miss proper modernistic cookies.

                                                                                      For non-bakery-specific things, I miss Cleveland-style Russian Tea Biscuits (the oversized rugelach-like things), and decent bagels. And in the savory department, spinach fatayer. (I'm sure there's somewhere in the greater Boston area to get that last one, but not nearby.)

                                                                                      There are a bunch of good Italian old-school bakeries where I live now, and several good independent donut shops, so I'm not bereft of wonderful old-school baked goods, but they're not quite the same as the mostly Eastern European ones I grew up with.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: antimony

                                                                                        Hough bakeries speaks to me of visiting our northern branch of our family---they would give us unlimited samples( the kids)& we would leave with 2 big bags of their delectable items--- i really loved the cakes

                                                                                      2. Fall River, MA during the fifties and sixties. The Portuguese bakeries used to sell cream puffs and cream rolls filled with real sweetened whipped cream served out of refrigerated cases. I still dream about them.

                                                                                        1. I really miss homemade croissants and pastries from a local French bakery in Ohio. Probably a good thing I do not have access to them now, but used to eat them all the time growing up.

                                                                                          1. Long Johns and raspberry-filled Bizmarcks.

                                                                                            1. Scandanavian bakeries.

                                                                                              Here in LA there are few, if any, worth making a visit to :(.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                There was one on Vineland in North Hollywood years ago and one on Maclay in San Fernando a while ago. I loved their pastries. Miss them.

                                                                                                1. Parker House rolls, coffee cake, and pumpernickel from Carl's Bakery on Jackson St. in Memphis, an area where lots of Memphis's Jewish population lived until the suburbs developed in the 50s and 60s. Carl's Bakery hung in there until as recently as 10 or 15 yrs ago, long after its last kosher customers had moved to the burbs.

                                                                                                  1. grew up in what is now West Hollywood (just Hollywood, then) and the only bakery around that i remember was a Syrian store that made and sold this amazing syrian pita bread - thick and fluffy, not thin like the ones i see everywhere now. never seen the like of it again.

                                                                                                    later, as a teen, we moved to O.C., and a bit later still, the Vietnamese community sprang up with a vengeance. i've not found the same quality of wonderful baguettes here in the Bay Area that i used to get in Westminster.

                                                                                                    1. Crumb Buns...especially if the bakery offered the regular and Extra Crumbs version.

                                                                                                      1. From Childhood
                                                                                                        Proper "Italian Bread" the stuff we ate with dinner and had lunch sandwiches on - ideally it came from one of a few select bakeries in Belmont, BX directly or was shipped up to the Salumaria in the burbs - not available in the part of Philly I am in

                                                                                                        Linzer Tarts I don't know where they came from but my dad always bought them somewhere in the BX I think

                                                                                                        while neither of these products are disappeared they are not readily available to me as basic daily staples

                                                                                                        Bread and baked goods (cupcakes aside) in my neighborhood are a horror.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                          It was a special treat when Mom would come home from her job in White Plains (NY) and she had stopped off at the bakery by the bus stop in WP. My favorite was those Linzer Tarts. I also remember a cookie, kind of like the black and white, but it was all pink icing. I can still get a pretty good "almond crescent" pastry in Tarpon Springs (FL)
                                                                                                          But what I really miss in an "old school bakery" vs our extensive bakery department at Publix Supermarket(Florida) is the Smell !!! Old fashioned bakery smell would hit you with heaven as soon as you walked in the door. Maybe even on the sidewalk, and you just had to go in!

                                                                                                          1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                            I grew up just adjacent to WPNY. Westchester County still has an abundance of bakeries although it seems they are changing over from the ethnic type of bakeries to more speciality artisan style - still good stuff though. Philly has them just not near me. The bakery section of the supermarket is just never the same. Linzer Tarts were really common in Westchester back then I wonder if they still are.

                                                                                                        2. And aside from the wonderful baked goods, I miss the was bags they put the breads in. That kept the bread nice and crusty.

                                                                                                          1. We never really had a neighborhood bakery until a few years ago, but my parents owned a dry cleaners in the 60's and my sister and I had to go there with mom every Saturday. There was a baker on the corner there that made the best potato bread.

                                                                                                            Luckily, now my Berkeley neighborhood bakery is Acme Bread: walnut levain and cinnamon bread with walnuts.

                                                                                                            1. I don't necessarily miss the doughnuts from my youth, I just miss my youth. I grew up in a small, rural town on the prairie in Minnesota. In the summer months of my youth we would frequently ride our bikes into town and buy glazed doughnuts for .15¢ and later .25¢. Frequently, the lady selling the doughnuts was the SIL of the father of one of my friends, but I was mostly unaware of that at the time.

                                                                                                              Since many of the local bakeries have been replaced by local convenience stores on busy roads, I imagine this rite of passage has gone by the wayside.

                                                                                                              1. I loved getting HUGE eclairs made with real pastry and filled with a real cream with THICK coat frosting. So unlike the extended soggy boston creme thingys they touted as eclairs in the local supermarket.