I bought three different breads and hurried home to enjoy them
simply, with just some butter. I was in bread heaven. The bread
was everything I wanted–a dark, crispy crust, tender insides, and
a wonderful smell and texture.
A few weeks later I was lucky enough to meet the man behind
the bread. Zachary Golper and his wife and business partner
Kate moved to New York to open Bien Cuit. He first learned the
art of breadmaking while living in rural Oregon–using a hand-built single-deck, wood-fired oven. From there his baking skills
took him to places like Austin, Las Vegas, and Provence, France,
to name a few. Before opening Bien Cuit he worked at George
Perrier’s landmark restaurant, Le Bec-Fin.
As soon as you meet Zachary you understand that this man
lives and breathes bread and pastry. He talks about it with real
passion in his voice. The bakery right behind the shop is where
the magic happens. He uses the age-old approach to baking; it
takes three days from when the mixing starts to when you have a
The process starts with flour and water, which ferments for 16
to 68 hours per loaf, depending of the type of bread. The dough
is mixed, the bread is formed, and everything is baked in an
double oven. There’s one oven for the bottom of the bread and
one for the crust; no wonder it’s good when so much work and
love goes into it!
I asked Zachary if he has any tips for a home baker, and here is
Start the day before by mixing a little flour, yeast, and water
in a bowl. Use that mixture the next day to add to your dough. It
will really add an amazing flavor to your bread. Heat the oven to
425°F and place a small cast iron skillet inside.
As soon as you put in your bread, throw a few ice cubes into
the skillet. It will produce steam that will make the crust of your
bread out of this world.
Do not open the door until it’s done, be patient.
120 Smith Street
Brooklyn, New York