Jul 16, 2017
Bakerie Boasts "High End, Kosher"
Photos: Shimi Kutner/COLlive

The new "Bakerie" in Crown Heights is run by bread baker Reva Castillenti, pastry chef Joshua Whitney and Bayla Okunov, a barista and "Mashgicha."

By COLlive reporter
Photos by Shimi Kutner

Nestled on the corner of a residential street in North Crown Heights, the new "Bakerie" has been attracting a steady flow of customers since its unannounced opening last Monday in Brooklyn.

The sleek, modern shop boasts elegant, European-style decor with bright windows and a few round tables. The doorpost features a Mezuzah that was custom made in a metal shop in Jerusalem to fit the decor.

Bakerie is the latest venture from Daniel Branover, owner of Basil Pizza & Wine Bar, which is also located in the neighborhood. He has been developing this new gourmet artisan bakery, pastry and coffee shop for almost 3 years.

"Everybody loves to follow each other when it comes to style, thinking that in order to be successful, a cafe must look like a rustic barn or a warehouse," Branover told COLlive. "We like to create our own trends. I wanted to bring back classic elegance. The entire shop is geared to the customer enjoying an elegant and upscale experience."

Bakerie offers artisan breads, Viennoiserie - dough-based pastries, and gourmet coffees. Just behind the counters, Italian ovens which specialized craftsmen built on the premises pump out freshly baked artisan bread throughout the day.

Branover says they will soon offer sandwiches, such as heirloom tomato, fresh mozzarella, arugula, olive tapenade and balsamic on sesame focaccia and Camembert, green apple, orange blossom honey and sunflower butter on whole wheat multigrain bread.

They pride themselves on using ingredients that are mostly organic, fresh, using no preservatives. They also offer condiments and home goods created in house, such as butters, jams, pesto, Greek yogurt, gravlax and the first Cholov Yisroel Nutella spread.

The coffee is supplied by Counter Culture Coffee, a high-end roaster in North Carolina who carefully selects each cafe which serves their coffee, and does not sell to more than one shop in each neighborhood.

"Our high-end culinary professionals are now creating products that are also Kosher," Branover says. "As with all our restaurants, the motto is 'Proud to be Kosher.'"

The smiling barista at the counter is Bayla Okunov, who along with Chaya Rapoport, serves as one of the bakery's Mashgichot (female kosher supervisors) under the OK Kosher supervision.

Okunov, a former personal chef who trained and worked as a barista, is part of the team at the bakery, combining duties such as cracking the eggs, filling coffee orders, and taking Challah with a blessing from each batch of bread.

"I love cooking and I love food, so this is a dream job for me," Okunov told COLlive. "People have been very excited to hear that I am the Mashgicha here. It's really exciting that a woman can do this job, and really makes it special that we all work together - high-end bakers and chefs and the Mashgicha - we are all part of a team," she says.

Bread baker Reva Castillenti has been developing breads for Bakerie since the opening, tweaking according to requests of the customers. The breads are mostly whole grain, with many non-wheat options such as 100% spelt, 100% rye and more.

"Many people prefer sourdough to regular bread because it is baked without additional yeast," she says, noting that since spelt is a popular request, she developed a number of wheat-free breads. "I want to keep things changing, to keep things entertaining for myself and the customer."

Bakerie's pastry chef is Joshua Whitney, a former sous chef at Dean & DeLuca, who says products have been selling out within an hour or two of opening. The most popular pastries? Chocolate caramel cookie and cinnamon roll.

"We can't seem to make enough of the morning pastries," he says, adding that it was a challenge to create such pastries with all Kosher and Cholov Yisroel ingredients, when he set out to create the high quality baked goods to his exact standards of quality and taste.

Seeing his pastries such as molasses ginger cookies, anise brandy biscotti and ginger vanilla scones "fly off the shelves" is very exciting, he says. "I put so much time into creating them, the response makes me feel like all the hard work was worth it."

Customers seem to be thrilled with the results.

"I am so excited that they finally opened," said local resident Sheva Tauby, a self-proclaimed coffee aficionado who lives nearby. "We've been waiting for months for them to finally open. The pastries are really great. And the coffee is amazing."

252 Albany Ave
between Sterling Pl & Park Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11213
Sunday-Thursday 7am-7pm, Friday 7am-4:30pm
Under OK Kosher supervision
Pas Yisroel, Cholov Yisroel

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
Is it under OK hashgocha?
(7/16/2017 5:27:55 PM)
To #1
Yes, it is under ok hashgocho as it says in the article
(7/16/2017 5:44:46 PM)
delicious. keep up the good work.
(7/16/2017 5:47:41 PM)
great hashgocha
so happy it's the OK - best hashgocha, I know I can rely on them and always try to use the places who have the OK.
Good Luck!
(7/16/2017 5:50:47 PM)
whats the green stuff in the jar
(7/16/2017 5:53:53 PM)
looking good, sarah khanna!
(7/16/2017 6:35:12 PM)
Greetings to the new bekerrie
Danny and the team
Be mazal-tov
I like it
Will come soon
tuvik-tampa fl
(7/16/2017 6:45:34 PM)
Spelt rye?
Any healthy no Yeast options? Spelt or Rye?
(7/16/2017 6:49:01 PM)
Just went today
Just went today and got cold brew, focaccia, and a pastry. Amazing service, amazing food, amazing vibe! Will definitely be going back
(7/16/2017 7:15:08 PM)
I love it
But I will not tell anyone what my favorite thing is as I DO NOT WANT IT TO SELL OUT THAT FAST!!!!
(7/16/2017 8:14:09 PM)
looks amazing i ging right now
(7/16/2017 10:20:39 PM)
This is progressive Mashgicha
This is progressive Mashgicha! Parsha of Bnos tzlafchad
(7/16/2017 10:29:59 PM)
To #8
Read the article
(7/16/2017 11:27:51 PM)
Bayla im so happy for u .ur amazing!
(7/17/2017 12:39:25 AM)
I'm just impressed...
...That they carry "dough-based pastries." Very hard to find anywhere else.
(7/17/2017 1:15:09 AM)
female mashgiach
this is not "groundbreaking" as many hashgochos [including OK] have been using female mashgichos.
in fact, to a certain extent, women are MORE trusted in kashrus then men..
(7/17/2017 10:14:27 AM)
What's wrong with rustic warehouse? I love that style
(7/17/2017 10:53:30 AM)
What's wrong with rustic warehouse? I love that style
(7/17/2017 11:49:43 AM)
"dough-based pastries"
finally! I'm tired of those shehakol pastries from every other bakery, bakerie and bacurry in the tri-state area.
(7/17/2017 1:27:07 PM)
Yakov Kirschenbaum

I'll take Gombo's - regular, "amcha" mezonos - done well!!!
(7/17/2017 2:29:34 PM)
Besides the coffee being fabulous and the caramel cookie being delicious... and the gravlax and, and and. YUM... go Danny B! But my fave part.. mashgichot! How wonderful to have women supervisors! I am a supervisor for Puah but never knew the OK employs women! So great!
(7/20/2017 11:41:04 PM)
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