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A (Mostly) Local Loaf

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“When people hear ‘Orwasher’s,’ they think rye,” says Keith Cohen, the baker who bought the Upper East Side institution from its founding family two years ago. Not that there’s anything wrong with that—the shop’s unrivaled dedication to old-world-style loaves is what appealed to Cohen in the first place. But over time, he’s started looking closer to home for inspiration. Last year, he introduced a line of Wine Breads, leavened with starter made from natural yeasts residing on the skins of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown at Bridgehampton’s Channing Daughters Winery. And now, in a development sure to please carb-loving locavores, Cohen is unveiling his Ultimate Whole Wheat, a health bread made with flour milled from New York wheat, a bit of an agricultural anomaly in a state better known for apples and grapes. Although the bread’s rye flakes, millet, and sesame seeds come from elsewhere, the whole wheat that makes up over half its weight is grown and milled in the Finger Lakes by Farmer Ground Flour, a new collaboration between two Tompkins County farms. The flour, milled from organic, stone-ground hard red spring wheat, has also materialized in a challah loaf baked by Brooklyn’s social-activist bakery, Hot Bread Kitchen. Both local loaves fittingly made their debuts at last week’s New Amsterdam Market, as did the flour, which is distributed locally by Basis Farm to Chef. Orwasher’s Ultimate Whole Wheat is hearty and nutty but not overly dense, and available at the shop for $7.50 a loaf (308 E. 78th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-288-6569).


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