New West Village bakery serves best dough in the city
January 28, 2013
At Bien Cuit, the West Village’s newest bakery, owner and founder Zachary Golper serves the best of all dough in the city.
Bien Cuit is known for its miche, a type of perfectly circular loaf made with a blend of rye and wheat flours. Each loaf is crunchy on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside. It is this product of a 68-hour fermentation process that separates Bien Cuit from its competitors.
The bakery, which opened in December, is the first Manhattan outpost of the Bien Cuit’s original location in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn.
“It first opened as a boutique bakery, bakery in the front, cafe in the back,” said Michael Dulle, director of operations. “Everything is still baked in the Brooklyn location. We start at midnight, finish at around 3:30 in the morning and bring it over to Manhattan.”
Spearheaded by Golper and his wife Kate Wheatcroft, Bien Cuit uses a distinct fermentation process known as small batch mixing. The process includes the slow fermentation of all the dough and pre-ferment flour-water yeast. It is a meticulous operation that takes between 16 and 72 hours from start to finish. The process ensures consistency and balance in the acidity of the dough and creates tremendous flavor.
“Parisians with a finer palate appreciate the more nuanced type of breads and order their baguettes bien cuit [well done and darkly baked],” Dulle said. “Usually bakeries separate their breads into the lighter-baked, which has less variation between crust and crumb, and the darker-baked, just as Bien Cuit has done.”
Golper, who served as apprentice under multiple World Cup of Baking champions and partnered with great chefs like Georges Perrier, opened Bien Cuit because of his love for the ancient art of bread making.
“His roots are in organic farming, in baking bread with no commercial yeast and working with nothing but candlelight,” Dulle said.
No matter how authentic, all menu items include Golper’s special twists. The double-baked almond croissant is baked with brandy, and other menu items like the traditional baguette, unique chicken and turnip and potato pot pie all contain secret ingredients. The bakery also offers quiches, cookies and frittatas.
So far Bien Cuit has built a cafe clientele, but the staff wants it to become a place that feeds the community. They aim for Bien Cuit to be the bakery that offers customers things to take home and to share with their families. The boulangerie is also making an effort to be involved with its neighbors.
“Traditionally [in Europe], the bakery was the center of the community, one of the first places that a household would visit in the day to get their bread,” Dulle said. “Ingredients from the earth were used to make bread. There was wheat on the farm, yeast from the air, salt from the ocean or salt mines and water from local sources. We want to keep this method intact.”
Click on the image below for a gallery of menu items from Bien Cuit:
Bien Cuit is located at 35 Christopher St.
A version of this article appeared in the Jan. 28 print edition. Angel Chang is dining editor. Email her at [email protected]