Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bake for You

The DelSo neighborhood is one to be encouraged due to the number of really cool businesses that are opening there.  So I’ve been trying to alter my routine pathways through the city and swing by DelSo every couple weeks, especially for cheese and sausages and other delights from The Cheese Traveler.  So when I noticed that a baker moved next door at number 540 a while ago I was very happy.  Unfortunately that baker folded not too long afterwards.

But now there’s another baker next door:  Bake for You. It’s between The Cheese Traveler and Mingle restaurant.  It has five small tables and a fridge for cold drinks and a coffee service station. 

I don’t often go into bakeries, but when I do I expect cases filled with baked goods. I was suffering from a bit of shock due to the talent of the photographer who manages to make the items look dramatic and flamboyant when they are posted in Facebook.  This was a very modest display of the most unflamboyant and ordinary of baked items.  It sort of looked more like a bake sale table. I kept looking around, thinking, "This is it???" but it becomes clear quite quickly that yes, this is it. The room is small. It was on a Saturday morning and there were around a dozen kinds of goodies on display, and not a single one of them was one of the flamboyant items shown in their very good photography. There are no signs labeling anything, and so conversation with the staff is required to understand what is on offer. After negotiations I selected a strawberry scone, cinnamon bun, a baked doughnut and a croissant. There were no savory items that day.  

The prices are very reasonable at around $2-3 per item, give or take a few cents.

The coffee experience in my visit was a complete disaster. The main flavor seemed to be dirty socks.  Once I was at the table I thought perhaps  more sugar would disguise this flavor, but having mistaken the open jar of white crystals on the table for sugar, I completely destroyed the whole cup with a large dash of salt. Perhaps that was for the better anyway.  

There was a hum in the air as discussion of the upcoming opening of Whole Foods and the placement of Baked for You goods in the new store was explained to friends and family that dropped by.

The baked doughnut was first up and it came across as a tough muffin.  It has very little or no salt, and my tastes don’t run that way, so I managed to down a couple bites with no coffee and went on to the cinnamon “bun”.  It was made with extremely flakey pastry instead of a normal bun dough, so it shattered into large flakes with every attempt at a bite.  But, having salt and all the requisite sweet flavors the taste was delightful.  After that things took a distinctly upward turn when I bit into the strawberry scone.  Wow.  With large chunks of berry and biscuit-y scone dough with a very fine crumb it was a lovely morsel and one of the best scones I’ve had in the Capital Region. Too many bakers in the region have settled for something just slightly more tender than hard tack, and this scone was tender as well as full of genuine strawberry flavor.  I heated it a bit at home and it was doubly wonderful.  Finally I stuffed the croissant with a bit of ham at home and had another lovely treat.  The dough sort of missed the mark on flakey texture but made up for that with a beautiful sweet yeasty flavor that perfectly complemented the ham (well, actually it was fancy-schmancy capicola from next door).

On a return visit I selected a different flavor of scone and a cookie. There were even fewer items on display and it looked even more like a modest bake sale.  The cookie was another item with very little salt, and that sort of sweetness is not the kind I favor.  The scone was underdone to the point that it was gooey, and although I find it hard to tolerate hard or tough scones, gooey is not what I prefer as an alternative.  So, it's hit or miss for me at Bake for You.  Are people coming in before opening and carrying off the goods in large bags?  Is the catering service the mainstay of the business? I think this is possible.  And now much of what is baked will go to Whole Foods, so you will be able to try what they make at that location.

So since I’m going next door to the bakery to get cheese and sausage on a fairly regular basis I will soon find the items I like best among their selection as I try a few at a time.


Anonymous said...

I haven't been yet, they've been on my list to try out because their pictures do always look so good!! Was really thinking about trying their gelato cookiewich today.... sad to hear they can be disappointing.

LorreS said...

That gelato cookiewich did look incredible, as do all their photos. I think they're posting what they sell wholesale and that is not necessarily what is in their shop, but the only way to find out is to pay more visits to the shop to see if anything in the photos ever shows up. I would call before making the trip to see what they have on offer on any given day. Just because you see it in a photo doesn't mean you'll see it in the shop.