The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery

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David_NYC
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2006/12/17 14:42:01 (permalink)

The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery

Back on Tuesday, I was in a ShopRite supermarket. I saw cases and cases of Rich's Frozen Apple Pies defrosting in the in store bakery. There were no apple pies on the shelves for sale, however.

While checking out, I noticed the flyer had a three-day special for apple pies ($1.99 each), starting two days after I was in the store.

I think this underscores why I don't buy anything from a supermarket in-store bakery anymore. I grew up in an area with plenty of mom-and-pop bakeries.

Back in the 60's, the Bohack supermarket chain in New York even had their own central bakery that turned out really good cakes. A&P had a huge Jane Parker bakery across the highway from the 1964-1965 World's Fair. There was a large illuminated sign on top of the bakery facing the fairgrounds, and disputes between the fair and A&P about it.

Now, the various Tenglemenn-Raub decendents of A&P have in-store bakeries where they sell english muffins fully baked in Hope, Arkansas by Southern Bakeries, known as Meyers Bakeries before their bankruptcy.

Do you still buy anything from supermarket in-store bakeries? How aware are you that they are nothing more than glorified Mrs. Smith's frozen pies baking operations?
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    MilwFoodlovers
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/17 15:10:48 (permalink)
    Gotta get my fix of fungal protease and since I don't do fast food, I guess I'd have to have supermarket "bakery" breads
    Funny, when I bake bread at home, I'm stuck with using only flour, water, salt, occasionally yeast (when I'm not using sourdough starter) and brown sugar. Besides my nearby artisan bakery, Wild Flower, I have a number of locations where I can get some of Chicago's ethnic breads such as Bruno's.
    Desserts are always made from scratch and often are purchased phyllo dough based.
    It's a shame really that so many younger consumers will never know just how good bread can be; ditto on great pies and cakes.
    #2
    skylar0ne
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/17 15:20:27 (permalink)
    I agree that most in-store "bakeries" are nothing more than the department where they sell private label processed cakes and pies. But some people swear by the notion that a cake is much better if it has been frozen, and I tend to agree. A case in point is the red velvet ring cake that the Food Lion stores sell. They are moist and delicious, and at 5 bucks are a good bargain. I can't, however, say much for their pies, donuts, or other sweets.

    P.S. If your store has its own oven and actually bakes the pies in house, you are a step ahead of most of the rest. Most chain stores down here in the south simply defrost sweets that come in fully cooked, and put them on display for sale.
    #3
    Sundancer7
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/17 16:54:57 (permalink)
    I am not an expert on super market bakeries but I buy quite often at Walmart and I sure do enjoy their doughnuts early in the morning and their pies have always been good for me. I have bought their cakes on several occasions for my grankids birthdays and there is usually not a crumb left.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #4
    JBarry713
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/17 17:24:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    I am not an expert on super market bakeries but I buy quite often at Walmart and I sure do enjoy their doughnuts early in the morning and their pies have always been good for me. I have bought their cakes on several occasions for my grankids birthdays and there is usually not a crumb left.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN


    Kids are a very good indicator on how good the quality of food is. I used to enjoy alot of fast food when I was younger that I wouldn't even think of eating now (e.g. Taco Bell)
    #5
    Adjudicator
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/17 17:32:16 (permalink)
    "Kids are a very good indicator on how good the quality of food is."

    Now I am TOTALLY confused.
    #6
    Poverty Pete
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/17 18:10:01 (permalink)
    Simple! The lower the quality, the more they like it.
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    NYNM
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/17 21:03:22 (permalink)


    Back in the 60's, the Bohack supermarket chain in New York even had their own central bakery that turned out really good cakes. A&P had a huge Jane Parker bakery across the highway from the 1964-1965 World's Fair. There was a large illuminated sign on top of the bakery facing the fairgrounds, and disputes between the fair and A&P about it.





    Hooray 4 Bohacks!
    We used to go to the one on Nostrand and Ave. L (near Hudde's). Not Ebingers or Dugan's trucks but good baked goods anyway!
    #8
    David_NYC
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/18 00:29:05 (permalink)
    Back in 1965 or so, a friend would take us out to Long Island. We would stop in for groceries at a Bohack supermarket at the corner of William Floyd Parkway and Montauk Highway in Mastic, Long Island. They had an in-store bakery department. You could see stacks of 100 pound sacks of flour and sugar. There was a huge Hobart mixer and ovens. Their baked goods were terrific.

    Probably the reason I have no interest in buying anything from the current crop of in-store bakeries is because of my memories as a kid. In my neighborhood, a milk truck from someplace like Grandview Dairy would deliver dairy products to retail bakeries. Later, a truck from Howard Gordy, Inc. would deliver butter (something like 50 pound boxes of bulk butter) and eggs. Then, a big truck from Otto Brehm would pull up and the driver would unload everything for that delivery from the truck at one time and leave it on the sidewalk. Hundred pound sacks of flour and sugar, smaller bags of other granulated ingredients. Cardboard boxes of other baking supplies would be placed on a handtruck. The driver would then start moving the supplies inside. There is a picture of a driver from Otto Brehm doing just about the same thing today. It is the picture on the lower left hand corner of this web page:
    http://www.ottobrehm.com/services.html

    Things our family would buy in retail bakeshops included coffee cakes, butter cakes, crumb cakes, strudels, pies, rum buns, layer cakes, and cookies. Most shops even still made their own cookies!

    I am enjoying reading about different types of bakeries around the country.
    #9
    markolenski
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/18 00:38:22 (permalink)
    The days of great in store bakeries have been over for a long time. I worked for Stop & Shop from 71 to 81 and when we first added large in store bakeries we made most items from scratch. It is very hard to get the qualified help to come in at 3am each day to run such an operation even at the very high union wage we were paying. So more and more premade and par baked items are added. Just like good roadfood you need to find the independent operators that make great products and support them. They will not have french bread for 99 cents but they will have a quality product.
    #10
    Fieldthistle
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/18 06:45:29 (permalink)
    Hello All,
    Usually, the only times we eat pie or cake are on birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
    My wife will make them for Thanksgiving, otherwise, we buy them from a local grocery store
    that has a bakery. Never had a problem.
    My mother, who is really too frail to handle baking, always orders pies for the family
    Christmas meal from a restaurant, The Thomas House, who cooks are Mennonites and makes
    everything from scratch. They are excellent. She has to place the order a few weeks in advance,
    but well worth it.
    Take Care,
    Fieldthistle
    #11
    ann peeples
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/18 07:01:08 (permalink)
    I was a bakery manager for a chain of stores here in Wisconsin,and you guys are absolutely correct.Nothing in that bakery was made from scratch.It was either a mix(i.e.-brownies,cream cakes,muffins)or a frozen dough-breads,rolls,etc.Pies were frozen,raw dough and filling and had to be baked.And yes,Rich's was a huge supplier for us.I, however,did carry alot of items from smaller bakeries and independants,so I could offer homemade products.A bit more pricey,but well worth it.There is only one supermarket bakery I go to when I need something special-Sendiks on 124th and North-that bakery carries a ton of items from indepedents and I am aware of there quality.But from my regular grocer I still buy rolls and things as they are fine for my intended every day usage.
    #12
    JBarry713
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/18 16:09:44 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Adjudicator

    "Kids are a very good indicator on how good the quality of food is."

    Now I am TOTALLY confused.


    I typed that while in a rush, I'm sure you were able to imply what I was getting at
    #13
    CajunKing
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/20 14:31:03 (permalink)
    In high school I worked for a local grocer in the bakery and deli dept.

    The donuts were all "rich's" donut blanks, the cakes were all frozen and thawed when needed, the rolls were all frozen and thawed and baked when needed.

    In college I got to work at a little jewish bakery/deli, talk about a world of differnce.

    Everything was fresh made, the pastrys, the breads, the cakes oh that was a good summer.

    #14
    Scorereader
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/20 14:42:27 (permalink)
    many of the new Wegman's (and older one's too) make their baked goods from scratch. Many of the bakery departments rival and surpass some of the best mom and pop neighborhood bakeries.
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    David_NYC
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/20 23:10:52 (permalink)
    Scorereader, thanks for catching that. I had originally meant to include that information about Wegman's while I was thinking about this topic, but forgot to include it my original post. There may some supermarket chains around the country that bake more from scratch rather than finish off frozen goods.

    I also believe that Wegman's still operates their own packaged baked goods bakery in Rochester. The nearest Wegman's is 40 miles and $6.00 in tolls from me, so I don't get to shop there very often. If any one else has other information about Wegman's packaged baked goods, please post it.
    #16
    UncleVic
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/20 23:26:14 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by David_NYC

    Do you still buy anything from supermarket in-store bakeries? How aware are you that they are nothing more than glorified Mrs. Smith's frozen pies baking operations?

    Our store makes fresh bread from scratch, so I'll still buy that IF it's on sale. (Otherwise it's way overpriced).
    I have a real soft spot for pies... Apple in particular. I would get robbed about every other week when I thought I was getting a fresh one. Funny thing is the edges where always uniform and perfect. Obviously pre-made, and in the back of my head I knew it. Thanks to the folks here, I've perfected the flaky crust and have been doing my own up now! Half the price, twice the quantity, and ten fold the flavor... (And not a perfect edge...).
    #17
    GordonW
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/21 00:24:14 (permalink)
    I have noticed that the artisanal bread baked in my local supermarket is exactly the same at the artisanal bread baked at my local Costco, including the wrappings. So many artisanal bakers out there!!
    #18
    David_NYC
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/21 00:41:23 (permalink)
    Quote:
    I have noticed that the artisanal bread baked in my local supermarket is exactly the same at the artisanal bread baked at my local Costco, including the wrappings. So many artisanal bakers out there!!

    Yeah, right after getting out of the Big House after serving their time for Grand Theft- Auto.
    #19
    lleechef
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/21 12:40:07 (permalink)
    Believe it or not, po-dunk Anchorage has THREE bakeries/patisseries that distribute to the two supermarket chains we have and Costco, in addition to having their own shops. I used to work for one of the bakeries' deli and the sourdough bread was fermented 24 hours. Our supermarkets also bake that nasty frozen stuff but it looks anemic next to the REAL stuff!
    #20
    albinoni
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/21 14:43:18 (permalink)
    Most of the mom and pop bakeries in my part of North Central NJ have closed down. It's a struggle to get decent baked goods anywhere--has been for a long time--so I bake my own. I almost never buy anything from a supermarket.

    There is a ShopRite in Clark whose bakery dept. is a cut above what you usually find--they do some stuff from scratch, but it is mostly based on chocolate, which my wife does not like, and the other stuff is just ok--ex., I don't like the fact that they make a fruit tart using a flaky pastry shell instead of a short pastry shell. Using a food processor, I can whip up a shell in no time, and it takes less time to make s better tart at home than it does to go to the store to buy one.
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    HollyDolly
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/21 15:29:51 (permalink)
    H.E.B. Grocery stores here in south Texas(headquaters San Antonio)have in store bakeries that are very good.You can actually see them decorating cakes and baking bread.They also make tortillas in the store and you can watch them do it.
    #22
    UncleVic
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/21 16:11:40 (permalink)
    Wow... Lleechef lives! Figured after years in Alaska, the Southern California heat would have melded her into a lounge chair for life...
    #23
    Neesie
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/22 11:49:36 (permalink)
    Funny, my family & I were talking about the disapperance of the neighborhood bakery just last weekend. We also grew up in an era when the inner-city had mom & pop "grocery" stores spaced out every few blocks. Bakeries were seperate, also mom & pop. What happened? The flight to the suburbs (me included) and the arrival of WalMart and other big box stores. Now the only bakeries around are artesian-type stores in the yuppie shopping districts. I can think of one or two little bakeries that have survived in the surrounding small towns, but feel their days are numbered. Which is a good reason (or excuse!) to patronize them when I'm in the area.

    Lindstrom, MN has a Scandinavian Bakery (home of the swedish donut) that has cinnamon toast that is to die for! Quite inexpensive, too.

    We used to have a bakery bordering our backyard when we first got married. In the summer when our windows were open we would wake up with the smell of fresh bread! Talk about agonizing! Now the name is the same but it is an up-scale bridal bakery, i.e. wedding cakes only. Gee, I miss popping in for fresh bread and bakery cookies. Those were the days!
    #24
    MilwFoodlovers
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2006/12/22 15:10:41 (permalink)
    I'm afraid my neighborhood bakery uses dough conditioners and similar products too. They may bake from scratch but they don't resemble the products from my youth. Too many shortcuts used has me both baking more of my own or hitting my artisan bakery on Wednesdays when the second loaf you buy is a buck. Even at my artisan bakery the clerks want to put that wonderful bread in a plastic bag which destroys that sought after hard crust. "Sliced and wax or paper bag please". I freeze it at home and take out however many slices are needed 15 minutes before I need them. They are as good as the day they were baked.
    #25
    David_NYC
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2009/09/03 14:52:12 (permalink)
    Yesterday, I got stung by a faux bagel shop in Queens. There are many real bagel stores in NYC, usually in neighborhoods that had a large Jewish population in the mid-50's. These shops sell bagels and also spreads and salads to go on the bagels, as well as bagel sandwiches and other food items.

    Most of these shops have traditionally baked on site from scratch, while others had bagels delivered from other really high quality shops or wholesale bakeries. If you go to Rockland Bakery's outlet store, you can walk right up to the bagel baker, and see the freshly-baked bagels cascading down to the cooling area. Wearing the plastic gloves they supply, I once plucked out a bagel right from the oven.

    I don't want to name the place in case my analysis is wrong. There are a lot of Greek sidewalk coffee carts that sell a low gluten content bagel that is baked by a Greek bakery in Queens. But, I don't think that is what I got. Since the bagels all weighed 4 ounces, I think this place was using frozen par-baked bagels. The color indicated it was "baked-off" in a relatively small oven. They had a terrible "chew", and just didn't have that sensory element of fresh baked goods. I know there are several factories out there that make frozen par-baked bagels; this must be from a lower-quality producer.

    I realize that par-baked is what is sold today in many parts of the country. But it seems sacrilegious to sell this is an area that today has as residents many Russian Jews.

    I am trying to put together rules for spotting these "baked-off" bagels. They seem to be perfectly rounded, while 'real' bagels are slightly lopsided or oval. Real bagels tend to be slightly browner. The toppings such as poppy seeds and garlic on "real" bagels do not appear to be as uniform as on the "baked-off" variety. Lastly, "baked-off" bagels don't keep fresh as long as bagels baked from scratch.
    post edited by David_NYC - 2009/09/03 15:11:56
    #26
    seafarer john
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2009/09/03 17:22:30 (permalink)
    Our local Shop Rite offers baked goods that I believe are baked on premises from frozen or otherwise shipped-in dough. The pies and cakes are nothing special and much better can be had at a local bakery. But Shop-Rite offers some very nice breads and rolls that are more than adequate - we especially like a small boule that's best described as "Mediteranian" - it seems to be a bit Spanish, French , and Italian in character. They also have a "Pottugeuse" roll that seems to me to be pretty authentic. 

    Cheers, John 
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    Beverly K
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2009/09/05 11:23:21 (permalink)
    I know the Giant chain makes their donuts from scratch, but I really don't know about anything else. Don't buy much anyway since it's just me.
     
    There are a couple of farm stands hereabouts that carry baked goods that are provided by local Amish bakers, and they're good if I need a dessert.
     
    I do long for the days of the old-fashioned bakery. I grew up in Springfield, NJ, and every Sunday after church, a stop would be made to the Cake Cottage in the center of town. That place would be mobbed, and for good reason. The place reeked butter and sugar, and the cakes were to die for, especially the ones based mainly on cream.
     
    There seemed to be a number of such places in and around east central Jersey, and I guess they have all but disappeared.
    #28
    CCinNJ
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2009/09/05 12:53:17 (permalink)
    David_NYC

    Yesterday, I got stung by a faux bagel shop in Queens. There are many real bagel stores in NYC, usually in neighborhoods that had a large Jewish population in the mid-50's. These shops sell bagels and also spreads and salads to go on the bagels, as well as bagel sandwiches and other food items.

    Most of these shops have traditionally baked on site from scratch, while others had bagels delivered from other really high quality shops or wholesale bakeries. If you go to Rockland Bakery's outlet store, you can walk right up to the bagel baker, and see the freshly-baked bagels cascading down to the cooling area. Wearing the plastic gloves they supply, I once plucked out a bagel right from the oven.

    I don't want to name the place in case my analysis is wrong. There are a lot of Greek sidewalk coffee carts that sell a low gluten content bagel that is baked by a Greek bakery in Queens. But, I don't think that is what I got. Since the bagels all weighed 4 ounces, I think this place was using frozen par-baked bagels. The color indicated it was "baked-off" in a relatively small oven. They had a terrible "chew", and just didn't have that sensory element of fresh baked goods. I know there are several factories out there that make frozen par-baked bagels; this must be from a lower-quality producer.

    I realize that par-baked is what is sold today in many parts of the country. But it seems sacrilegious to sell this is an area that today has as residents many Russian Jews.

    I am trying to put together rules for spotting these "baked-off" bagels. They seem to be perfectly rounded, while 'real' bagels are slightly lopsided or oval. Real bagels tend to be slightly browner. The toppings such as poppy seeds and garlic on "real" bagels do not appear to be as uniform as on the "baked-off" variety. Lastly, "baked-off" bagels don't keep fresh as long as bagels baked from scratch.


    I am not sure if you ever comparedthe difference between Shoprite bakeries and World-Class Shoprite bakeries. Of course there is a larger selection catering to an upscale market in World-Class but the questions I had about the production (not decorative) elements were met with quizzical expressions. World-Class has an Executive Pastry Chef  on employ but that could mean a whole lot of different things.
     
    http://modern-baking.com/bakery_management/mb_imp_7260/
     
    Now there are also differences between some of the items in the bakery depts. of Shoprites here owned by the same company...Inserra. If you took a bagel from the ol' Shoprite at Newport Centre in Jersey City and drove it to the Shoprite at Columbia Park in North Bergen or Hoboken...you would see night and day differences. The Hoboken & North Bergen SRs are not  WC SR but of the newer varieties with some of the bells and whistles of WC (not all of them) and a lower price point level and not as many attention to detail elements vs. WC level.
     
    A&P bakery areas are very open compared to most other supermarkets. Here is the counter behind it all of the production is happening. Based on what equipment they have it is very limited production.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2009/09/05 12:56:01
    #29
    David_NYC
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    RE: The Faux In-Store Supermarket Bakery 2009/09/05 13:19:47 (permalink)
    Yes, I have commented in a few other threads about the fact that different Shop Rite stores have a different selection of baked goods and use different production methods, mostly depending upon who owns an individual store and what the demograhics of the neighborhood are. Harry Janson's Shop Rite on NY 347 in Hauppauge, NY does a lot of baking from scratch. You see many sacks of flour, sugars, and other raw ingredients right in their production area in the back of the store. Their donuts are the ones I remember from the 60's.
    #30
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