Crisis! City Goes Without Balthazar Bread This Morning

Photo: iStockphoto

If your local café was out of Balthazar bread this morning, it’s because there was what director of operations B. Young describes as a “train wreck” at the bakery’s New Jersey wholesale division. Blackouts resulting from storms late Tuesday, which left 200,000 northern Jersey residents without power, finally hit Balthazar’s 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 that’s baked is for that night’s dinner service). Power to the facility’s five natural-gas ovens wasn’t 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 café 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 today’s bread won’t be overly acidic. “It’s bad for us, because we’ve never missed a day’s 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, it’s just bread.”