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2023-07-11 07:11:26

How Merzbacher's Bakery Creates Some of Philadelphia's Favorite Bread — Vendors

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This rack is actually the everything Philly muffin , which is definitely our best seller , everything seeds , garlic , onion , poppy and sesame .

This is pretty much my baby when it comes out .

Well , I'm very happy perfect breakfast .

Eight years in , I still eat more or less a muffin a day .

It's the only way to start a day .

We have vents , you know , that vent out of an exhaust and people will just kind of like wander around until they find an entrance and like come in like you guys sell bread .

Yeah , I don't think every food does that , but bread does is a wholesale artisan bread bakery .

We make like maybe 10 to £12,000 of dough every week .

I'm pretty much at the bakery almost all day , every day .

The baking starts at like 4 35 in the morning .

Most of my day to day is like just support jumping in on a delivery , helping out in the production shift on a busy day .

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We might do like 100 deliveries or so as you grow , you kind of hold on to some of your own customers .

Like the people who have been with you for 67 years and you have a personal relationship with them .

Does it make sense for the owner to like , hop in his car and drive across town to deliver two dozen mus , maybe not .

But they're my friend and they'll probably give you a free sandwich .

Share some bread next up .

We are heading to , to drop off the Gold rolls .

Brist is a version of a classic Philly cheesesteak for both of you .

I got the rules .

Ari was like , I'm gonna take it upon myself to obsess over a cheese steak .

I'm gonna find the best roll .

I'm gonna find the best cheese .

When Ari tells you that he wants a cheese steak roll like this like he has thought about it .

He has tasted every cheesesteak roll out there .

Uh And he knows what he wants .

My favorite thing about peat bread is that it hits all the notes that I need it to hit .

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The bread does what it's supposed to do and it does it deliciously .

So like this cheese steak doesn't really work without this roll .

And a Hoy roll has to have a chew on the outside and it has to be fluffy on the inside .

The structure of the chew of this , of this roll is really what holds it all together and then the inside is what soaks up all of that .

Like meat juice .

You need a roll that's gonna like be a sponge and then also be a container and it does that with a lot of flavor .

The roll needs to be part of like a , a composition , but I kind of like being a little bit behind the scenes .

The cheesesteak was great for a lot of reasons .

The roll was really good .

The idea with this sandwich is really like to give some honor and integrity to a san .

That's like the definition of Philadelphia .

It's not fancy , it's greasy .

There's other great roles in the sense of like they do the job it's supposed to do , but they're not made in the same way .

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They're not made with the same level of care and integrity and ingredient that this role is .

So this is six fris whip here .

We have probably about 100 and £50 of toasted cornmeal .

And that is one of the things that give our gold roll just like a very subtle but noticeable kind of flavor .

It's almost like the flavor of the crust ends up in the dough almost .

You know , like when you pull a baguette out of the oven , some people will say it has like a popcorn .

Y kind of smell .

Well , that's like now in the dough .

Yeah , on any given week we go through about 6000 , 500 to £8000 of flour .

So the gold roll formula is , it's basically flour , water , salt , yeast .

I added a little bit of malted barley flour to it , but that's pretty much it .

That's fermented .

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It's called , it's spelled Pool , but it's pronounced like a foolish , like , baguettes tastes different than pancake batter because it's got pre fermented white flour in it .

So this is like the secret , not so secret anymore .

The toasted cornmeal .

I've been like a dishwasher .

A line cook , a farmer .

So I started making sourdough bread at home instantaneously .

It was more than a hobby .

Like I touched the dough and it was just like a click kind of a moment .

People make fun of me .

But I'm always kind of like squatting here in looking at it just to observe and see if it's getting over mixed or if it's fixing .

Well , I had no experience in bread before I started the company , which was pretty stupid .

So I wouldn't say I'm a very scientific person , but I'm a very curious person .

So any time something went well , I learned from it and I would try to perfect it and get it better .

So I've just messed up hundreds of batches of dough honestly to start to kind of figure it out .

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So you can kind of see it's got like an elastic and extensible quality .

So as I'm pulling , it's kind of pulling me back in , it's like snapping back .

That's a good thing .

But I'm also able to kind of pull it and get like a more kind of extensible quality and then I just give it a fold to make it more cohesive dough baby , a little chubby dough baby developing means you are helping the gluten form a network and that network will help trap the gas that is produced during the fermentation process .

This will sit for about an hour and a half .

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The business of running an artisan bread bakery is coming up with new products , engaging your appetite and curiosity , but also asking yourself like , how can I make this artisan craft consistent ?

You know , that is the name of the game in bread , especially wholesale bread , putting out a great product consistently every single day .

So I have a £13 cut of dough in this hydraulic dough divider here .

So these are the gold rolls .

They're about 17 inches in length designed to be cut in half for a Hoy cheese steak .

I'm gonna put it through the deck oven .

Now things are just going to change so regularly in a bakery , the temperature , the size of the mix the composition of that day .

Like you never can get it down to a perfect science .

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You have to kind of like touch the dough and ask yourself how does the dough feel outside of that dough ?

All the environmental factors , those are always changing .

So to get it to feel the same when everything else is different , that's really the hard part .

The bread game is all about consistency .

You mean like quality matters a lot .

But people would rather like solid bread .

That is the same every day than bread that is sometimes like gourmet and perfect and other days really inconsistent .

So got to make sure everything is just right .

I talk to the restaurants , if it's the wrong size , they'll call me personally and let me know .

So we have visual standards , that kind of document .

So if I take off the gold rule , but I'm like , I'm right there .

So it's a perfect size bread to share is like an ethos for sure of the company .

Like bread is a vehicle for transporting like condiments and protein into your mouth .

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But it's also like a tool for bringing people together , you know , like let's break bread .

I very much enjoy getting a call from Ari and him being like the bread is not quite right today , Ari cares and he wants to delight his customer and I want to delight him and I go back and I tweak it and make it better steam it for six seconds , set a timer for nine .

And by putting the steam in there , it can kind of expand without cracking and simultaneously that steam is like gelatin the dough a little bit .

And then once you pull the damper and the steam escapes becomes a crusty Hoy rolf , check on them and Oh yeah , those are perfect .

So you're just wondering kind of how I know they're done .

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They have the right color kind of pale where it burst , but like a little bit of darker caramelization where the ear opened up and then it just kind of sounds hollow and cooked out , roughly speaking , like pretty much uniform from end to end .

Very good , very good small delivery .

Today we have six of the original muffins , four of the multi grain pre pandemic .

Our business was based on restaurant sales , maybe 75% .

80% of our business was restaurants .

Now , it's closer to 50 50 restaurants and groceries .

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We're in the bread aisle .

And what's interesting about finding MERS BAERs here is , it's surrounded by national brands , conventional breads that nobody would really describe as being artisan .

But giant really took a chance on us and put us in this aisle .

And what I'm trying to do is make a great product accessible to more people , whether you live in Philly or in the suburbs .

And MERS BAERs has like the and the scale to kind of keep up with box stores like this .

Obviously , in the beginning of the pandemic , there was a lot of panic buying and everyone would just rush the stores and clear out all their bread .

So they would get cleared out and they would call all their vendors like we need more bread .

We need more bread .

Interestingly , the more corporate bakeries were not very well equipped to keep up with the demand .

In the first couple of weeks , we were ready and we had all this capacity and flour .

So we really got our foot in the door and they started to see me as like the reliable vette .

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Yeah , I used to deliver those muffins on a bicycle actually .

Uh , and then once I graduated from the bicycle , I , I moved on to Zipcar and then delivered all my bread on Zipcar .

Now I have a truck and a team and a number of giant supermarkets .

So , pretty , pretty crazy .

Here are our sweet potato for the sweet potato bun .

And what we're going to do is stick them in the oven .

Mhm Like potato goes are often kind of soft and tender .

It's like a natural sweetener .

So it gives the bun kind of like a a subtle sweetness .

I mean , you can see how much like syrup is in there and like all the little caramelized bits there like that is all great flavor .

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Um Almost all the ideas that I have are uh kind of me asking myself what I want you , you figure out all the logistical stuff later , but I think you start with a question like what is the burger bun that I want to eat ?

And then you start tinkering at the end of every mix .

You want to take a temp of the dough .

Dough is at its core , a balance of like time and temperature .

And so if it's too cold , it will take too long to bulk ferment .

If it's too warm , it will ferment too quickly .

Like microorganisms will just be stressed out the heat really kind of angers them .

So if it's like 100 degrees or more , it'll start like burping out off flavors .

Now , it's just one kind of continuous network of gluten .

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So this dough has gone through the bulk fermentation , the sweet potato dough .

So we mixed it , we let it rise for a couple of hours and now we're cutting it into a pre shape .

So the next step after these get divided is to run them through the divide around her blades will come through and divide it into 24 equally weighted pieces .

And then the bottom platform kind of shimmies and gyrates and kind of mimics me having 24 hands and around it really quickly .

So this machine that I'm using here is called a divider rounder and it does exactly that it divides it rounds it and you have more or less two dozen perfect ones .

And here are the sweet potato buns .

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When I created MERS Baker , I really wanted like the logo and the whole ethos to be like that's a bakery .

I can trust .

It looks like they've been around for a long time .

They look trustworthy .

Uh They have like a , an element of surprise and , and good energy , but like at its core , it's a bread bakery .

They're baking stuff that I can like , enjoy any day of the week with anyone and you don't have to be like a guru to , to enjoy it .

I've been doing it for 78 years now .

And so there were people I'm sure who had their first Philly muffin when they were 10 years old .

And they're now , you know , nearly an adult if I asked you like , what your first , like real bread memory was that moment when you realized how good bread could be .

I remember making pretzels with my dad when I was a very young kid .

Um , and , uh , and do I remember like the recipe ?

No , but do I remember like the , the joy of like doing something with my family ?

Yes .

Very much so .

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I remember like eating pizza and watching movie with my family .

Very much so .

But , but I haven't gotten sick of , of bread yet .

I go home smelling like it .

My car smells like it .

My bakery smells like it .

Like my shoes are covered in flour .

Like bread .

Bread is with me all the time and I'm pretty cool with that .


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