A Bite of the Big Apple Comes To Chicago
Authentic New York Bagels Arrive in Wicker Park As Craft Hires New Pastry Chef
When former Revolution Brewery & Tap Room pastry chef Julie Cohen joined the team at Craft Pizza she a specific goal in mind: to bring the most authentic New York-style bagels to the city of Chicago. Having been born and raised in Nassau County in Long Island, NY, Julie knows a thing or two about what a good bagel should look and taste like (and how to make it.)
Craft Pizza is now serving breakfast every Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am – 11:00 am, with Cohen’s authentic New York-style bagels as the focal point of the morning menu. While many people believe it’s the local water that gives New York bagels that extra special something, Julie believes it’s all about the simplicity of the recipe and a very specific cooking technique.
A graduate of the Star Career Academy of Long Island, Julie makes her bagels without “unnecessary additives” like sugar, shortening and baking soda. Instead, she starts with a basic recipe of water, flour, malt, yeast & salt. Julie uses and barley malt syrup, instead of malt powder, which not only gives the bagels that rich brown color but also adds just a touch of sweetness. The dough then goes through the bulk fermentation process for 24 hours prior to cooking. The bagels are boiled at a very high temperature for a short time before spending exactly 2-3 seconds getting shocked in an ice bath. One key aspect of Julie’s bagel cooking process is that they are never flipped in the boiling water (they remain face down for the entire time.) Before going into the 425-degree oven, the bagels get a light wash of egg white and milk, which not only provide a little protection against the heat of the oven but also helps toppings like sesame seeds, poppy seeds and garlic stay put.
Priced at $1.50/each or $17.99 for a baker’s dozen, the 5 oz. bagels currently come in a number of flavors including plain, sesame, poppy, onion, everything, and parmesan. Diners can top them with classic spreads including plain, chive, vegetable or cinnamon cream cheese or indulge in a hearty breakfast sandwich made with varying combinations of eggs, ham & cheese.
In addition to the bagels, guests can enjoy Julie’s fresh handmade pastries, like plain croissants, chocolate croissants, almond croissants, Danishes and muffins (the type of baked goods that one would find at any Long Island bagel shop.) The self-proclaimed perfectionist is very cognizant about not using a lot of sugar. “If a pastry or dessert is really, truly good, then it doesn’t need a pound of sugar,” she says. “I like to let quality ingredients and technique stand for themselves.”
While she will always be a New Yorker at heart, Julie is embracing Chicago’s vibrant food scene. When she isn’t baking at Craft, the newly engaged chef (her fiancé is the drummer for the heavy metal band Veil of Maya,) is dining at one of her favorite Windy City restaurants, which include Eleven City Diner, Nonna’s, El Patron and Angelina Ristorante, who, she says has “the best braised beef in the city!”
Craft Pizza is located at 1252 N. Damen Ave. in Chicago, IL. For more information, high resolution images or to schedule a time to experience Craft’s new breakfast menu, please contact Samantha Crafton Public Relations directly. Julie Cohen is available for interviews and on-air cooking segments upon request.