Birdbath is a bakery to love; I have ever since the first time I ventured into their location on 7th Avenue about four years ago. Delicious muffins, cookies, and unclassifiable other inventions (the mini banana-agave-sesame cake is delicious) decorate the shelves, counters, and walls. Of course, there are countless bakeries in New York; what really sets Birdbath apart is their commitment to green practices. Birdbath locations are made of second hand and recycled materials (the pressed sunflower seed walls are warm and earthy); those who arrive on bicycle receive a 25% discount (yes!!); and their deliveries are all done using a bicycle-operated cargo rickshaw, all the time. Even in winter.

The best way I can describe it: Birdbath is like a beautiful man that turns out to have an advanced degree in saving the world.  It has all the superficial, mouthwatering elements that makes it a place you’d like to wake up to, combined with the equally practical and idealistic principles that encourage you to imagine the future with optimism.

I think it’s great that Birdbath has revamped the New Museum cafe. In light of the new partnership, I woke up at an ungodly time last week to visit their kitchen in the East Village and watch the age-old process of making croissants.

I was able to negotiate a warm Maple-bacon biscuit awaiting my arrival…

Maury, who started City Bakery (Birdbath’s mamma) almost 20 years ago, studied baking in Paris, where, he said, there was a standing culture of education in the culinary arts. Everyone was happy to teach him what they knew. And one of the most important lessons was how to treat delicate croissant dough, a 400-year-old process that involves smashing bricks of butter into dough while  juggling  the temperature perfectly.

So, naturally, that’s what I wanted to see.

The dough is made in a massive batch. Bakers saw off large chunks, which they work into round orbs of dough.

The dough is then flattened (over and over), and the butter gets folded in:

This is the most exciting part for me: watching pounds of butter, wrapped in dough, in the violent process of becoming One…

Periodically, the buttery dough does shifts in the fridge, so that the butter doesn’t melt and ruin its consistency. Even the friction of a rolling pin heats it up. Once it’s chilled, it is rolled out, and cut into triangles. You can see the delicate layers in this cross section:

And finally, the sculpting of our delicious little friends:

Next time you’re at the New Museum, try the finished product! Birdbath at the New Museum is up and running with a menu that includes breakfast and lunch. I recommend pairing the maple bacon biscuit with the virgin sangria…

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Always Open :: NewMuseum.org
Jarrett Gregory

// From our friends at the New Museum

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