Against the grain: Brooklyn Bread Lab’s experimental baking is a real raising agent
Grain is king in one Bushwick culinary hotspot. Headed by chef Adam Leonti, Brooklyn Bread Lab is dedicated to conducting and testing recipes in preparation for the opening of his restaurant and gastro programs at the eagerly-awaited Williamsburg Hotel this spring. Leonti’s hyper-focus on grain is what’s making this in-the-know bakery one of the best in town. Word of mouth has shifted the lab’s remit into that of a multipurpose experimental kitchen, café and learning facility.
Leonti thoughtfully sources different grains from around the country, with the intention of comparing flavours taking precedence over exploring their bread-making idiosyncrasies. Crushing wheat onsite with a 10,000lb stone mill and seeking to shift public opinion on bread, Brooklyn Bread Lab sells flour, baked goods and pastas, proving that gluten is not necessarily the enemy when engineered with old-school techniques and thoughtful ingredients. Together, flour and water create art; perfect pockets of air released with each slice, in harmony with a soft bite and cracking crust.
Seasonal grains like ’Turkey’ wheat from Kansas are interspersed in menu items such as the ’filone’ (classic loaf), hazelnut cake and lasagna. The café serves as the perfect test site to unleash recipes onto the public, dictating what will make the final cut at the restaurant. The lab also engages with the public through cooking classes. Students are educated on how to make grain-filled classics like pizza, pasta, cakes and, of course, bread – the perfect way to connect with and learn from a master baker in an intimate setting.