Bien Cuit


Photo by Dominic Perri

120 Smith Street


Open daily, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Bread isn't what it used to be. Over the past century and a half, bakers dispensed with freshly milled flour and introduced commercial yeasts, significantly altering the loaves coming out of the oven. Now, though, some bakers are returning to traditional processes, and their bread is better for it. See, for example, Bien Cuit. When chef Zachary Golper opened his Smith Street storefront with his wife, Kate Wheatcroft, in 2011, he was unimpressed with the flour he was sourcing from far away, and quickly found a farm upstate that could provide him with whole grains. While those first locavore loaves were baking, the aroma hit him. The scent of the bread was so breathtaking, it solidified his belief in the superiority of well-milled wheat paired with local yeast. He now uses a slow fermentation process with painstakingly sourced grains, resulting in finished products with less starch and deeper, more nuanced flavors. We, happily, get to eat the results of his experiments. You can't go wrong with anything coming from this Cobble Hill counter, from the breakfast pastries (arrive early for the almond croissants) to the seasonally changing desserts (like tres leches bûche de Noël). But don't walk away without the bread, which is some of the best in all of the city. Try the miche, which uses a blend of three rye and three wheat flours and is slowly aged for 68 hours. Or have a sandwich, built with ingredients as carefully sourced as the flour.