Lenox Hill, busy in the 1900s with food shops catering to Eastern Europeans, has lost its ethnic base, but Orwasher’s survives. Abram Orwasher’s grandfather opened his bread shop with built-in brick ovens in 1916, and little has changed since. Abram continues to make bread and rolls by hand, without any additives. Even the sour culture is the original (you can regenerate it—the longer it lasts the better the taste, and he does so in a wooden cast, not a machine). Devoted regulars kvetch at having to pay cash only, but the earthy breads keep them coming for historical favorites, like pumpernickel-raisin, and rye that’s properly sour and sturdy, and studded with bitter caraway seeds. All breads have chewy crusts and soft, stretchy interiors. Of the two dozen-odd varieties—including challah, cinnamon-raisin, marble, potato, whole wheat, rosemary garlic, and raisin-walnut—the raisin-walnut is the most achieved. It’s made with seven grains, rye and wheat flours, and sesame seeds, which makes it not only the tastiest, with the correct walnut-to-raisin ratio, but the healthiest. “Bread is a hurry-up-and-wait process,” says Orwasher, who doesn’t use chemicals and machinery to speed up the thumb-twirling process of bread-baking. And while others do a booming business in wholesale, Abram prefers to sell his loaves to actual people.Extra
All bread is kosher and pareve.