Sunday, February 05, 2012


Ellenville, New York

The raisin pumpernikel (this is a unique spelling, but who am I to argue?) deserves to be famous. Not just raisins but I'm sure there are dried cranberries and a variety of large seeds that I don't even recognize. There was also insanely wonderful-looking black Russian pumpernickel and round loaves of rye, but to my horror I found I had just four dollars cash in my wallet. So I bought the signature loaf, $2.50, and the next time I do a shooting expedition that takes me through Ellenville I'll be sure to have enough cash to buy half a dozen loaves of bread for the freezer.

When I was a little kid, at least once a month I'd ride on a Saturday morning with my father from our small house in Roseland, NJ, to his mother's tiny house in Newark, where he would fix the furnace or the plumbing or whatever else needed doing. On the way out, we would always stop at 'The Jewish Bakery' in Pleasantville, to buy a loaf of either black Russian pumpernickel or regular rye, and between the two of us very few slices made the round trip. Naturally, spoiled by this, I couldn't stand the "bread" that was served at the Roseland Elementary School cafeteria. To my delight, Cohen's had a bread slicer very much like, and certainly every bit as old, as the ones at the larger Pleasantville Bakery half a century ago.


Martina said...

From the wikipedia article:
"German pumpernickel ... is usually found in markets aimed at an upscale clientele, because German pumpernickel is often paired with caviar, smoked salmon, sturgeon, and other expensive products on a hors d'oeuvres tray."

Rubbish. Might be the case outside of Germany as the article states in the following paragraph. But in Germany you can get it everywhere, nothing upscale to it.

Carl said...

Martina, good bread is really hard to find here. What passes for bread is garbage, nothing but processed carbohydrate with no nutritional value except from added chemicals to make it "enriched." When you do find some real bread made from whole grains it tends to be expensive.

Taken For Granted said...

Artisan bakeries are hard to find in the MIdwest these days. If there is a good one, patronize it. At $2.50 a loaf it is inexpensive. Wonderful sign on the wall. Looks like it is from the 1920s or 1930s.

Mark said...

Love your posts Carl. I didn't realize you're a former fellow New Jerseyean. I know what you mean about the bread especially from northern New Jersey (I've heard its the Essex County water) but I think you were referring to the Pleasantdale Bakery, in West Orange.

Martina said...

Carl, even if Germany's Public Relations says otherwise: same here. The last artisanal bakery in Mainz I knew of closed two years ago.
Best bread I have had in the last years was in South Tyrol.
What you get here is factory produced - but at least in a great variety. Whole grains and all.

Carl said...

Something funny with Blogger, a comment I sent in a while back doesn't appear to be here.

Mark,Pleasantdale is right. Roseland had hugely productive deep water wells that supplied not just that small town but a number of other towns nearby, which was a source of municipal income that lowered taxes a bit. I left NJ in 1971 by my father stayed in his house till his death in 2000, and the water from the tap was still great.

Martina, at better stores, "health food stores" and such you can get good, whole grain breads, but it'll cost you. Cohens in Ellenville is very reasonably priced.

RyanW said...

I was out shooting a couple of weeks ago in a community that has a large Bohemian population. I found a bakery specializing in Bohemian baked goods. I picked up some Bohemian Rye. They also had Kolackys

Next time I'll have to try them when I get back to shoot more photos there.

Carl have you checked out the Ezekial bread. Some stores carry that where I'm at, not sure if it's nationwide or not. It's seriously whole grain.

Carl said...


Kolackys don't sound like my kind of thing (I don't like sweets) but the Ezekiel bread looks interesting. I haven't seen the brand around here, but it looks a lot like the premium Alvarado Street Bakery breads that are available at some stores here.