Clean, Fresh, Local Foods. Affordable, Seasonal Breakfasts & Lunches, Artisanal Loaves made with NY flours, From-Scratch Baked Goods and Desserts, all prepared in-house from responsibly grown, primarily local ingredients.

540 Delaware Avenue
Albany, NY 12209


Wed: 6 & 8pm Farm to Chef Dinners (reservation only)

Thurs/Fri: 11am-7pm

Sat/Sun: 11am-5pm

(kitchen open from 11 to 5, limited sandwich menu available between 5 and 7pm)
Loaves, Baked Goods, Sandwiches!

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Monday, August 15, 2011


You may have heard, I (Britin) started making our own sweet cream and cultured butter for the bakery two weeks ago. We recently found out Meadowbrook Dairy wouldn't be able to bring us our usual beloved variety from The Country Creamery in Canestota anymore due to sustained high fuel costs and distribution complications.  When Chuck Van Wie (one of the Meadowbrook's owners) suggested I made our own butter, my mind started racing. Could I learn the skill quickly and thoroughly enough to prepare it in bulk?  Would our baked goods suffer or improve?  Is there ever enough time to tackle new tasks such as this?  Chuck pointed out that Meadowbrook's heavy cream is vat-pasteurized (the old fashioned way) making it superior to other local dairies.  Plus the cream is not subjected to high-heat, is GMO-free and with Meadowbrook we know the cows who provide us with such bounty are grass-fed for much of the year and treated humanely.  It didn't take long for panic to give way to excitement and I started researching all the ins & outs of butter making.  Tackling this new challenge has been exciting and fun (and messy)!

First 12 lbs. of sweet cream butter.
See, we are purists when it comes to food, especially with what we serve in our bakery.  Because we use almost 20 pounds of butter every week in our Croissants, Scones, Cookies, Muffins, Tarts and grilled Sandwiches, we can't settle for even one less-than-superior major ingredient.  We've experimented with a couple of other local butters from the Honest Weight Food Co-op, but found them lacking in depth, flavor and texture.  Culturing some of the cream before churning provides us with real buttermilk that we're beginning to use in our Scones, and Buttermilk Biscuits are most likely going to become a staple on Sundays in an effort to use everything we are producing.  The real buttermilk, which is thinner than store bought, can then be used to culture the next batch of heavy cream, which in turn gives us our own Creme Fraiche.  Once I started figuring out all of the derivative products we can use in the bakery just by simply beating fresh or cultured heavy cream, the decision to soldier through 20 lbs of butter making every week didn't seem so crazy.

I guess what I'm trying to convey here is, we're passionate about each and every detail of what goes into the food we offer to you.  We are deeply committed to providing consistently delicious Real Food, even when it means taking on a daunting task.  That said, I'm still working out the minor kinks regarding texture and proper culturing so you may see and taste some changes over the next few weeks as we figure out which baked goods respond better to each variety of butter and refine techniques.  It's important to us to hear your feedback, so please don't be shy about sharing your opinion. We change things up based on what we're learning from our community, so hearing your thoughts is crucial to our improvement.

1/2 lb pkgs sold this week.
We're thinking of starting a very small Community Supported Butter share program in a few weeks once the desired production consistency is achieved.  Ethical, NY-sourced sweet cream and especially cultured butter are rare (if not impossible) to find in the Capital Region, so we hope some of you will be very excited about this prospect!  I'm also thinking of flavoring a small amount with herbs, high-quality salts, garlic, maple syrup....the ideas are flowing!  We plan on making enough of each variety so that we can offer additional small quantities to the general public as well.  We'll keep you posted on the status of the initiation of the program.

I've been feeling pretty giddy with myself about all of this.  I've made 20 lbs each of sweet cream and cultured butter so far, and will begin culturing a new batch of heavy cream in the morning.  A recipe with detailed instructions will be posted on the From Scratch Club blog tomorrow, so if you're interested in making your own, please take a gander!  It's so easy to prepare in a small batch, everyone should give it a try.  I'm happy to answer any questions should anyone decide to take on the task.  We look forward to our continuing adventures with our own better butter, and hope you do too!

Your bakers,
Britin (& Nick)