breadsmith is located squarely in the lincoln park yuppie-zone, at 1710 n. wells. while i am normally loathe to countenance any bakery selling gourmet dog biscuits i meticulously prepared myself to make an exception in this case. sadly my charity was misplaced.
the premises were clean and appeared to be well maintained, but standing there i found myself strangely unable to muster any interest whatsoever in the coffee. i have no idea what came over me, actually. while the bakery seemed to be "service oriented," i could not help but notice that the short-term memory of the gentleman helping us was sub-human. also of general interest: breadsmith is hardly a back-to-basics type bakery. a brief look at their website confirms this.
we began with a roll that was mild–almost tasty?–in flavor and had a fairly nice crust. it would have done well with more salt but was otherwise ok. unfortunately it reminded me of spongecake. queer, no?
we continued with something called a simit. it had a slightly sweet and insubstantial crust. it is slightly tragic that i will never get back the three minutes of my life that i spent tasting this bread.
subsequently we tried the salt stick. the salt stick had an impressively chewy crust with caraway seeds and the overall flavor was (wait for it….wait for it….) salty. while the caraway was certainly a nice touch, it was rather overdone. be that as it may, this bread was without doubt "best in show."
the ill-conceived focaccia roll seemed like something straight out of alice in wonderland, if only inasmuch as i could think nothing but "curiouser and curiouser…" as i ate it. chief among the myriad sins committed in the design and execution of this "bread" were that it was structurally unsound and far too salty.
the final item we tried was the cheddar-jalapeño bread. in its present form, it is too cheesy and a tad short on the jalapeños and really ought to be reinvented as a roll that is never served any other way but pipping-hot. other possible improvements include the use of better (white?) cheddar and fresh jalapeños in lieu of the pickled ones that are presently employed.
unfortunately the best thing i can say about it is that it is not just like every other yuppie-zone bakery. usually the preceding remark would be a compliment, but in this case i fear it is not: any amount of conformity to the gourmet bread status quo be of great service to this bakery.
See Gemma’s Review below.