If your local caf was out of Balthazar bread this morning, its because there was what director of operations B. Young describes as a train wreck at the bakerys New Jersey wholesale division. Blackouts resulting from storms late Tuesday, which left 200,000 northern Jersey residents without power, finally hit Balthazars Englewood plant around 10:30 a.m. yesterday, when it had made only about 5 percent of its product (at that time, most of the dough is fermenting and ready to be shaped, and any bread thats baked is for that nights dinner service). Power to the facility's five natural-gas ovens wasnt restored until several hours later, so it could only make about a dozen of its planned 450 deliveries this morning. (A farmer carted away spoiled product to use as pig feed.)
Blue Hill at Stone Barns was one of the lucky recipients, as was Balthazar's restaurant and retail store on Spring Street. A mom-and-pop caf in Bushwick, among many others, had to go without. Young says the bakery is back on its feet today, concentrating on keeping its sourdough cultures at the right temperature, so that todays bread wont be overly acidic. Its bad for us, because weve never missed a days delivery not during the other blackouts and not during 9/11, she told us. But we have to remind ourselves that no one got hurt. In the end, its just bread.