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The aroma of fresh bread fills a northeast Ohio neighbhorhood
Artisan bakery is a labor of love for a former computer programmer and a former art historian
This story is part of a special series.

Vivian Goodman
Sabine Macys lived for six years in Italy and never really liked American supermarket bread.
Courtesy of Robert Sustersic
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In The Region:

The rise of the local foods movement, new small family farms, and a vibrant cuisine scene are key ingredients for a Northeast Ohio bakery. Breadsmith is a chain, but franchisees enjoy a lot of leeway. In today’s Quick Bite we meet a couple of bakers in Lakewood who wrote their own recipe for success.

LISTEN: A corner bakery

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Ginius Macys knows his customers. 

 “We have quite a few people from Romanian background so they really like Italian. We have quite a few Irish people, so Irish soda and rye goes with that. And also quite a few more Slavic, more Russian type they like their ryes, too.” 

Carlos Ramos stops at  Breadsmith every week for his favorite hardy, dense , crusty German  loaf.  He’s been a regular since the bakery began emanating enticing aromas from the corner of Detroit Avenue and Clifton Boulevard nine years ago. 

 “Lakewood was missing a bakery that made fresh bread every day and used really good wholesome ingredients. There are a lot of old world methods that they use that you don’t see anymore.” 

You would think you were in Munich or Paris when Ginius lifts his 10-foot long wooden paddle.

 “A peel. It’s a French word. I can load in 200 loaves at a time.” 

They bake 35 different kinds of bread from scratch every day: French Ciabatta, Rustic Italian, Tuscan Herb, stone ground wheat, dark rye…  a tangy beer bread made with Cleveland Porter from Buckeye Brewing , and Austrian
Pumpernickel, a hearty rye that Sabina Macys claims has just 4 grams of fiber per half-inch slice.

She’s equally proud of her dessert breads.

Our pumpkin chocolate chip bread, which is vegan bread. We have a whole line of vegan sweets as well.  Orange-cranberry, brioche cinnamon swirl which is again a favorite breakfast bread or for French toast. Our rustic Italian, just a basic Italian might be one of our best sellers. We make a Tuscan herb which is kind of a focaccia in loaf form. It's got basil and oregano and thyme and all kinds of good stuff. Our sourdough. Now our sourdough is my husband's baby. He works that thing every single day. You got to feed it every day. It has its own life and sometimes it has its own moods based upon the humidity and the temperature of the day, too. 

Sabine wants us to sample her newest recipe. It’s a 100 percent whole grain bread made with only local ingredients that she calls Homegrown Whole Wheat.

" We get our wheat which is a very specialized kind of wheat called warthog from Breakneck Acres in Ravenna. And there's some oats in there, too and that comes from Stutzman which is in Holmes County. And of course local honey helps if you have allergies and that kind of thing.  We are a peanut-free facility. We have no high fructose corn syrup, No transfats.”

It’s a cosy place, redolent with the fragrance  of freshly baked bread. There’s one table where  you can sit and have a cup of coffee with a muffin or a chocolate chip cookie.  

And Sabine treats everyone like family.

Sabine’s parents were from Germany and Ginius’ family came to Cleveland from Lithuania. They each lived for a while in Europe and neither has ever liked American supermarket bread.

"You look at that chemistry set of ingredients, let alone not having a real crust. Yeah. It didn't seem like real bread to me."  

Ginius grew up baking in his Mother’s kitchen on East 185th Street. But there were other good options in his neighborhood.

“We used to go to one Italian market to get our rolls and then another market to get our rye and this was all within 3 or 4 blocks of each other. Those shops are no longer there.” 

Breadsmith of  Lakewood  supplies several restaurants, including Georgetown, Players, Joe’s Deli , Angelo’s Pizzeria,  and Tartine’s and vegan and vegetarian breads for Sweet Melissa’s in Berea. 

They also donate bread every night to food pantries and homeless shelters.  

Sabine and Ginius Macys have won Cleveland Magazine’s Best Place to Buy Bread silver spoon  award for two years running. 

They open the door to their corner bakery every weekday morning at 7, rest on Mondays.  And on Sunday they open at 8. 

And that’s this week’s Quick Bite.

 Next week we talk with veteran Cleveland restauranteur Brad Friedlander , owner of Moxie and Red, about his plan to open another upscale steakhouse downtown.

Related Links & Resources
Breadsmith of Lakewood website

Listener Comments:

Vivian, I look forward to your Quick Bites every week. Each time, you make me want to rush right out to the place you have visited. Not possible, or I might sometimes do it.
Thanks. Elizabeth
P.S. I live near Silver Creek Farm that used to be CSA, and still supplies some things to good markets.

Posted by: Elizabeth Allyn Hendricks (Hiram Twp.) on October 2, 2012 11:10AM
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