- Down under
April 27, 2012
If you've ever been in Boston long enough to need to buy decent bread, then you've probably run into Iggy's. Their loaves populate the shelves of most stores and markets whose clientele wants bread a cut above of the commercial stuff. But did you know that you can buy your bread straight from their Cambridge bread baking headquarters? Oh yeah. And not only that, they have trays and trays of pizza slices for sell!
I only learned of this recently. I had even bought some lumber just steps away from the office park camouflaged bakery, completely oblivious to the fact that the traffic flow to and from the adjoining parking lot had anything to do with pizza.
The day I visited, a half dozen varieties of slices were available. That's surprising because Iggy's isn't the kind of place that has much on hand but bread. This isn't a sandwich destination. Furthermore, each variety of pizza had three or more toppings. And the toppings weren't just your run-of-the-mill pepperoni, sausage, or veggie. Spicy chopped prosciutto, roasted peppers, and arugula topped one pie, spicy salami, kalamatas, and cilantro topped another, and a third had squash, chive, and goat cheese.
The crust here has a lot of elasticity and a little bit of heft. That works in its favor since the toppings are substantial. The hole structure here is closer kin to ciabatta than sheet pan pizza. It has a some good chew, but from toppings to crumb, these slices fall into the flatbread category.
Perhaps because there is not a reheat option, the white pies trumped the sauced ones. And of the white slices I tried, the portobello, red pepper, and provolone was the best. The provolone had an unexpected depth and tang that made me swear it was Fontina, the mushrooms and peppers were nice and thin and none too watery, and a sprinkle of thyme added a nice herby finish.
IGGY'S ON THE RISE
Author: Sheryl Julian-Globe Staff
Date: July 6, 1994
Igor Ivanovic smiles as he tells a story about the man who installed the $60,000 Bongard French bakers' oven in an old garage Ivanovic leased in Watertown. "You get the best bread in the world in the United States," the man told him. Ivanovic, of course, agrees. The brains behind Iggy's Bread of the World bakery has several theories about this. His formula includes organic ingredients and taking care to let the dough rise long enough. And, listening to him, those seem reason enough for the bakery's success.
But what is really going on at the six-month-old business, what is giving Iggy's rave reviews by bread enthusiasts all over town, can be described in a single word: passion. Ivanovic, 26, and his wife, Ludmilla, 30, are so passionate about their bread that it comes through in everything they do. It shows on their faces and suffuses everyone in their Arlington Street bakery - the people who work there and the customers who stop by. And it is most evident when you break off a piece of baguette and taste it. Iggy's bread has a tender crust, a moist crumb, a lightly sour taste and a ton of Old World flavor. It's made the way bread was made centuries ago. "All the old techniques," he says. "We use as little yeast as possible."
Yeast, of course, makes bread rise, and when a baker depends upon a starter of natural yeast that must ferment for a long time, the process is more drawn out. As in all businesses, time translates into money, and it costs more to let bread rise for nine or 12 hours than it does to let it rise for three - the way many bakeries do. "When you compare dough that has rested for three to four hours to dough risen nine hours," says Ivanovic, "the difference in taste is tremendous."
The breads look different too. Francese, and Italian bread made with white flour and cut to make slightly irregular rectangles, is virtually unknown here. Iggy's ficelles, very slender, long French breads, are also recent arrivals. Lately, the bakery has been making a French Pullman, a crusty bread baked in an American loaf pan - nice for sandwiches.
Breads like a raisin pecan loaf are derivative of E.A.T., the high priced delicatessen on Manhattan's upper East Side owned by Eli Zabar. E.A.T.'s raisin pecan is so wildly popular that transplanted New Yorkers have been known to carry shopping bags full of it home on the New York-Boston shuttle. Ivanovic is also influenced by the crusty, slightly dense breads from Acme Bakery in Berkeley, Calif., which supplies Alice Waters' celebrated restaurant, Chez Panisse.
Baguettes from Iggy's are made with one of half a dozen starters (each fed twice a day), raised on French canvas trays and transferred to a cool cabinet called a "retarder." Many of the doughs are difficult to work with because they're so wet and soft, but this is what keeps the crust from turning hard and the texture from becoming dry. As in French bakeries, the risen loaves are transferred to a long canvas gurney that can be slipped into the oven and turned quickly; in this fashion, the breads land right side up on the hot oven floor. The technique looks a lot like the old trick in which the magician yanks the tablecloth while the dinnerware stays put. A giant pizza peel retrieves the breads when they're golden.
Iggy's 50 or so wholesale accounts have become the bakery's most ardent supporters. "I love the breads and I love the crust. They're museum-quality, suitable for framing," says Holly Safford, owner of The Catered Affair in Hingham, whose company handles stylish parties. "The focaccia is elevated to a new standard.They're incredible."
At Cambridge Natural Foods in Cambridge, owner Michael Kanter promotes Iggy's to all his regulars. The bread flies out the door - to the tune of several hundred loaves a week, he says. In a neighborhood where the clientele consists largely of foot traffic or costumers on bicycles, that's a lot of sales.
There are a host of reasons for the bread's popularity, says Kanter. "The quality of the bread and the ingredients, the freshness, daily delivery and the fact that word has gotten out about Igor and Ludmilla in terms of them being passionate about bread."
Guy Martignetti of Salumeria Italiana, a fancy grocery store in the North End, has had the same reaction from customers. "We sell a lot," he says, "I do not eat this bread, but people buy it like crazy." Martignetti himself prefers what he calls "family bread," which is the large Italian round with a much blander flavor than Iggy's.
Ivanovic grew up on flavorful breads in Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia, but the idea of becoming a baker never occurred to him. His mother is a geologist and his father a mining engineer - "intellectuals," Ivanovic calls them. He came to the United States when he was 18, as a high school exchange student in Clarksburg, W. Va. There was no strife back home then, and he left Belgrade purely for the sake of adventure. While a student, he visited New York, fell in love with the city and decided he belonged there.
He went home to do mandatory army service, then returned to the States and enrolled at City University of New York. He also became a driver for E.A.T., where he met Ludmilla Luft, an actress from Montreal who once had aspirations of becoming a professional ballet dancer. She was supporting herself by waiting tables at E.A.T.
Ludmilla is the daughter of a Latvian-born mother who runs a dance company in Montreal and a German-born father who is an impresario. From them, she says, she learned about theater, dance, and pursuing a passion. "I work seven days," she says. "I don't have a problem with that."
Iggy also has a remarkable capacity for hard work. At E.A.T. where he put in long hours, Iggy was inspired by the quality of the bread and the talent of the people he worked with. Eventually, bread making "became a passion for me," he says. He decided to open a bakery, and the couple began scouting cities. To gauge the Boston market, Iggy became the city's distributor for E.A.T. breads. He left New York at 4 a.m. with a vanful of breads, drove all over Boston making deliveries and returned to New York late at night. "I spent 16 hours in the car," he says. "I was losing money, but it was for research."
Boston reminded him of Europe: "I used to go to school on tramways and trolley buses," he says. After the couple decided on opening a bakery in Boston, two locations fell through and they ended up on Cape Cod, where Ludmilla's mother had a cottage. At the time, Ludmilla was pregnant with their first child, Tamara, now 2. A second child, Ines, was born 7 months ago. The opened Pain D'Avignon in a courtyard in Hyannis. Boyhood friends of Iggy's who were living in New York joined them as partners. By the end of the first year, the couple and their partners couldn't agree on how to make the breads, so the Ivanovics agreed to be bought out. Pain D'Avignon still delivers to a list of celebrated restaurants and hotels in Boston.
"A lot of bakers have big egos," says Iggy. "It was a struggle to have the bread the way I wanted it." He and Ludmilla wanted natural ingredients, organic flours, organic raisins, "even if they were twice the price of ordinary raisins," she says.Both bakeries make the E.A.T. knock-off bread with raisins and pecans, D'Avignons with regular ingredients, Iggy's with organic. Ludmilla refuses to skimp on ingredients: "I buy organic seeds, honey from a local maker."
But Iggy's natural way is expensive. A 1-pound raisin-pecan loaf retails for $3, a seven-grain Pullman loaf for $4. "I know all people cannot afford this," says Ludmilla, who insists the bakery keep the markup as low as possible. Breads with nuts and fruits and seeds are like dessert, she says - they're the luxurious part of the meal, not necessities.
The couple would like to produce everyday bread with the best ingredients and make it affordable for everyone. Even now they often work nearly around the clock and give up all their free time. "We're passionate," Ludmilla says.
That drive and the couple's enthusiasm is clearly mirrored in how fast the little bakery is growing and how quickly the word is spreading. Six months after Iggy's first fired its ovens, all the foodies in town have memorized its delivery route.
DOUGH, A DEAR
Author(s): Sheryl Julian
Date: September 5, 1999
In Montreal, bagels are sacred, and lines to buy them snake around the block. Locally, Igor and Ludmilla Ivanovic, who own Iggy's Bread of the World and who have captivated the bread-buying public with their loaves, now make bagels inspired by those of Montreal. Ludmilla was raised in Montreal, so she knew what she was after. Iggy's bagels (50 to 60 cents) are different from anything else that's available here. First of all, the air is out. Second, they're nice and chewy, less doughy than mostbagels, and lighter, but they still have bite and the taste of bread. Third, they have a real crust. The bagels are boiled as usual, but then they're baked on the stone hearth of the oven.
Bagels At Iggy's Bread of the World, 205-4 Arlington Street, Watertown, and 5 Pleasant Street, Marblehead; Bread & Circus, Fresh Pond, Newton, and Symphony; Matilda's, Belmont; Wilson Farms, Lexington
WHERE THEY BREAK BREAD THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY
Author(s): Andrea Pyenson, Globe Correspondent
Date: February 6, 2002
Once, it was almost un-American not to eat white sandwich bread. You had to drive across town, or into another town, to find anything more exotic.
Now, sliced white sandwich loaves are ceding shelf space to their rustic ancestors: long, slender French baguettes with golden crusts; tangy sourdoughs; hearty multigrain breads; and the ubiquitous focaccia. About a half-dozen artisanal bakers in this region, many of whom make supermarket deliveries, follow the European style, and produce breads known for their crackly crusts or tender crumb. Some are so good that when you buy the freshly baked bread warm from the bakery, you have to get an extra so you can nibble one on the way home.
Clear Flour Bread Bakery
Most of the breads at this Brookline bakery are made from custom-milled white flour that is aged from three weeks to three months before it's used. (Taste and texture come from long fermentation periods.) The wheat, rye, and specialty breads are made with organic, stone-ground flours. No preservatives are used.
According to Abe Faber, who owns the bakery with his wife, Christy Timon, the recipe for Clear Flour's rustic, hearth-baked bread is straightforward: very simple ingredients, and lots of effort.
Timon started the bakery in 1983; Faber joined her in 1984. Timon had worked in bakeries while in college in Wisconsin, and had run a catering company, but that was the extent of their training. Both say that operating the bakery has been a long-term learning process. "For the first 10 years or so, we were constantly reinventing the wheel," Faber says.
Today, roughly 3,000 pounds of bread a day is produced in a 1,300-square-foot space. The minuscule retail area boasts a tantalizing array of loaves on French baker's racks.
The offerings include sourdough loaves, the first bread Timon made. "It has a very nice flavor and a darker, crisp crust," she says. She was drawn to it because it has a long shelf life. From there, she began experimenting. When the pair went to France and Italy in the early 1990s, "that trip changed our aesthetic," she says. "Then we figured out how to change our breads."
Iggy's Bread of the World
Iggy's bread is the product of the husband-and-wife team of Igor and Ludmilla Ivanovic, who met while they were working in New York City for Eli's Bread. Inspired by the quality there, the two decided to open their own bakery. They relied initially on books and the bits of information Igor had picked up at Eli's. The recipes for old fashioned, hearth-baked breads were devised, he says, "by trial and error" using natural leavening agents and no preservatives.
The Ivanovics opened their first bakery in Hyannis in 1992 (they were initially founding partners of Pain d'Avignon). In 1994, they moved to Watertown.
On an out-of-the-way side street, a surprisingly small bakery, with a retail space not much bigger than an average living room, is crammed with the bakery's popular francese, a moist, chewy, slightly sour bread with a caramel-flavored crust; whole wheat sourdough; country sourdough; and seedless white rye. The bakery also sells some sandwiches, a few chewy pizzas, croissants, bagels, and brioche.
Recently, Iggy's opened a 33,000-square-foot bakery in Cambridge with state-of-the-art European equipment. This is so the bakers can keep up with increased production demands without sacrificing the old-fashioned methods that produce, as Ludmilla says, "the most beautiful bread possible."
In 1992, the Hyannis-based Pain d'Avignon began with five founders. Besides Igor and Ludmilla Ivanovic, there were three friends of Igor's from their childhood in the former Yugoslavia: Vojin Vujosevic, Branislav Stamenkovic, and Ulix Fehmiu. All had been living in New York, where they noted a growing trend toward European breads.
"We wanted to make authentic, crusty, artisan-style bread, baked on the hearth," Vujosevic says. "We hired one professional baker and worked 20 hours a day." A month later, they were on their own.
Most Pain d'Avignon breads contain very little yeast. Instead, they're made with a sourdough starter (levain) or sponge starter (poolish).
The bakery's first products, a country sourdough and a raisin pecan loaf, are still among its most popular varieties. The biggest seller, though, is its country bread (pain de campagne), with a dark, crisp crust, a chewy interior and a slightly nutty flavor. That comes from rye flour and an extended aging period, Vujosevic says.
When Pigs Fly
Ron Siegel had been a professional chef for 20 years when he decided to pursue his dream of baking bread. "I always liked the idea of throwing breads into ovens off a pizza peel," he says. "I just had to figure out a way to make a living at it."
Siegel began experimenting with artisan breads at his home in Wells, Maine, baking a loaf a day of wheat, dark rye, raisin, and olive breads. As each loaf came out of the oven, he remembers, he'd slice it open. "I was going for an old-world, crusty style," he reports. "If it came out well, I'd throw it in the car and drive it to restaurants to see if they wanted it."
His business took off when he heard that the owner of a wine and cheese shop in town was looking for someone to bake pastries in the back of the store. "The shop happened to have an oven that would work for breads," says Siegel, who "threw in some quarry tiles" and baked 80 loaves on his first day.
That was in 1993. A year later, Siegel's brother Andrew moved out from California to join him, and they relocated to a larger facility in neighboring York.
Today the business boasts 16 different breads with a varying list of specialties such as chocolate and cranberry-walnut that are sold only in the Maine bakery.
THESE BREADS GO WITH THE GRAIN
Author(s): Debra Samuels, Globe Correspondent
Date: January 15, 2003 Page: E2
BERLIN - Early each morning, the smell of fresh bread beckons Berliners to the tiniest of backerei (bakeries), where locals line up for a slice, a bun, or a roll to munch on the way to school or work. Loaves are tucked into bags and eaten later with hard cheese, strong mustard, and ham. Bread plays an important role in the diet here.
Dense, moist, slightly sour, and often seeded, a dark German bread is one of the country's most distinctive loaves. There are many varieties of vollkornbrot (whole-grain bread). Among those I cannot resist are the heart-shaped rolls made with multiple grains and seeds and a triangular-shaped loaf; I packed them to carry home.Once they were eaten, I was inspired to re-create them. Like any recipe, things begin to make sense once the ingredients are deconstructed. First I came up with a seed list. I knew that I should begin with rye and whole-wheat flours.
Ludmilla and Igor Ivanovic, co-owners of Iggy's Bread of the World in Watertown, are deeply committed to wholesome breads.
Ludmilla Ivanovic says that Americans have embraced European-style coffee, and now, whole-grain breads, as well. Igor Ivanovic advises the home baker to "be patient and not to be afraid of the process."
He encourages experimentation. "There is nothing as satisfying as the smell of hot bread from your oven," he says. It is easier now than ever to bake good bread at home, especially with the wide availability of grains and flours. In general, whole grains are more healthful as they include the fiber and protein of the entire kernel.
Baking bread with multiple flours can yield wonderful results. Substitute whole-wheat flour for all-purpose flour in a recipe, cup for cup. And substitute denser grains, such as rye and bran, in half-cup increments, for some of the flour. Soy flour enhances the protein content of bread and tends to keep it moist. Oats give bread texture and a nutty flavor, as does wheat germ. A handful of sunflower and sesame seeds add protein and crunch.
Baking a loaf of whole-grain bread means lowering expectations - literally. Whole grains are heavier and do not rise as much as breads with more white flour. Dough made with whole-grain flour is also stickier.
Because homemade multi-grain loaves are more compact and dense, they are forgiving, and if you're not crazy about the results, there is always the toaster. Today, bread machines do the hard work of kneading, and so can food processors and heavy-duty electric mixers. Many recipes explain how to assemble ingredients when using this equipment. Rapid-rise yeast, for instance, which also speeds the process, is often added directly to the dry ingredients, rather than to warm water for the initial "proofing."
Many home cooks who would never think of baking bread from scratch produce healthful loaves because of bread machines. "I love the smell of fresh-baked bread, I can experiment with all kinds of ingredients, and it takes no time to put it together," says a Lexington resident, Norma Currie.
To those who feel that the authenticity may have left the process, Currie advises: "Get over it."
If you're starting out, choose an easy recipe. When you gain confidence, graduate to starters and sponges to make the dough rise to loftier heights. For now, perfection is not the goal, but rather a wholesome loaf and a positive experience
LOAVES AND WISHES
Date: January 19, 2005
Page: E2 Section: Food
Fans of Iggy's Bread of the World may be dismayed to learn that the bakery's Arlington Street store in Watertown has closed. Fear not, bread lovers. Iggy's isn't gone, it's just relocated the storefront to its Cambridge factory.
It may be a little harder to find, but customers aren't holding a grudge. The spiffy new space, which is almost three times larger than the Watertown location, hosts the same bountiful display of fresh baked favorites. French baguettes, raisin and pecan loaves, and sourdough francese can be found along a wicker-basket-lined wall. Even better, the bigger space allows Iggy's to offer new varieties of tarts and croissants, plus flatbread pizzas and abundant tasting samples. The best part about the bright new store, which the old storefront had, too is the tantalizing aroma of baking bread. Eating Iggy's loaves has always been a treat. Customers may find themselves in the same predicament as one enthusiastic shopper, who exclaimed "I just can't stop buying things when I come in here. It's all so good."
Iggy's Bread of the World, 130 Fawcett Street, Cambridge, 617-491-7600.
NOT LIVING BY WHITE BREAD ALONE
Author(s): LISE STERN
Date: January 9, 2005
Page: 8 Section: Magazine
The greatest thing since sliced bread just might be Clear Flour Bread Bakery's Gorgonzola-walnut fougasse. Or the yeasted stoneground corn bread with corn kernels at Hi-Rise Bread Co. or maybe Iggy's Bread's chocolate-cherry brioche.
A visit to any of these bakeries is a sensory reward in itself, from the swirling smells to the piles of loaves in all shapes and sizes. While Iggy's and Clear Flour wholesale many of their breads to supermarkets, other choices are available only at their retail outlets. Hi-Rise breads are sold almost exclusively at the bakery, as owner Rene Becker's intention is to serve as a neighborhood institution, not as a wholesaler. "At any time of the day," Becker says, "you're going to get something that came out of our oven no more than an hour ago." Emerging from the heat could be the corn bread, made from cornmeal ground to order at a North Carolina mill, or Becker's pain d'epice, a rye-based bread heady with honey, rum, and a roster of spices.
"A large part of bread is the visual part," says Clear Flour's Christy Timon. "You eat with your eyes before you taste it." The retail aspect of Timon's business enables her to experiment with smaller batches of special breads. Weekends have a wider list of specials, such as the vollkornbrot, a dense, moist, bricklike German rye embedded with sunflower seeds. Timon has also been experimenting with Japanese-influenced breads, such as the miso bun, a rich white dough topped with sweetened miso paste and black sesame seeds.
Pedja Kostic of Iggy's says his native Yugoslavia (now Serbia) inspired the chocolate-cherry bread. "We're really into tart cherries where we come from," he says. The high cost of the ingredients, such as Scharffen Berger chocolate, makes it too costly to wholesale. Jou jous, small sesame-topped rounds made from croissant dough, are also expensive to produce and so can be found only at the bakery outlet.
Of note, Clear Flour and Hi-Rise do not own a bread slicer, and Iggy's only added one after several years. Timon says, "I recommend a good serrated knife."
CLEAR FLOUR BREAD BAKERY 178
Thorndike Street, Brookline, 617-739-0060
HI-RISE BREAD CO. 208 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, 617-876-8766
IGGY'S BREAD 130 Fawcett Street,
Can you get a good bagel in this town?
By Tom Warhol,Globe Correspondent |
March 16, 2005
Bagels have become the new cereal. Everyone eats them -- and not only for breakfast. Schools serve bagels; they're offered on most cafeteria lines, and you can buy them in convenience stores and fast-food restaurants. Their appeal as a filling, low-fat food has catapulted them from the Lender's logs you see in the frozen food section to the whimsical sun-dried-tomato-and-basil variety at trendy cafes.
Yet, if you want a good bagel in this town, -- a traditional, chewy bagel with a hard crust, not a roll with a hole posing as a bagel -- pickings are slim. It takes a little effort to unearth the true gems.
Most people think of bagels as a New York food. In fact, they were first made in the late-17th century by a Jewish baker in Austria and became popular in Eastern Europe. Bagels came to America with Jewish immigrants 200 years later. Since many Jewish newcomers settled in New York, the bagel became associated with the city. And the large, dense, chewy bagels with a hard crust, the ones made by the immigrants, became the most widely known. Other cities developed their own styles. Boston bagels generally take the form of a smaller, breadier version.
Bagel places such as Kupel's Bagels in Brookline and Rosenfeld Bagel Co. in Newton, have their fans. So do Katz Bagel Bakery in Chelsea, Newman's Bakery in Swampscott, and Zeppy's Baigel Bakery in Randolph. Other bagel eaters are happy with the franchise products, such as Bruegger's, Einstein Bros., and Finagle A Bagel.
Among the independent shops are Iggy's Breads of the World in Cambridge, bagels by US in Arlington, and Aesops Bagels, which used to be in Lexington and now bakes its goods in a factory in Chelsea for distribution to shops in this and other cities.
''Bagels are so personal to people," says Pedja Kostic, production manager at Iggy's Breads. Shying away from pigeonholing the bagels his Cambridge bakery makes, Kostic does reveal that he spent time in many Montreal bagel shops. The prized Montreal bagels are baked on stone in wood-fired ovens, which gives them a crispier, crunchier crust and slightly smoky taste. Another important difference is that their toppings -- poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc. -- are on the bottom as well, which makes splitting one with a friend much more equitable.
''We played with many recipes," says Kostic. The result is a dense yet textured bagel that is not as chewy as the real Montreal or New York varieties, but has a crispy crust and a generous amount of toppings on both sides. Most of these toppings, as well as many ingredients used by Iggy's, are organic, and this character comes through in the taste.
Prices at Iggy's are reasonable, with bagels selling for 50 cents each at the factory store. Its bagels and other products are at many markets and restaurants. The trick with any bagel, however, as Kostic and others will tell you, is to eat them when they're fresh. Even a few hours makes a difference. If they are a day old, they should be toasted to bring back some flavor and texture. Bagels can be frozen (slice them first). Then pop them straight from the freezer into the toaster. If you visit Iggy's store -- its location is somewhat hidden near Fresh Pond -- just getting a bag of fresh bagels home unfinished will be a challenge.
If it's real New York bagels you're looking for, an Arlington shop might have something for you. Rich Kourie, one of the owners of bagels by US, says his New York bagels (89 cents each) will make your ''head spin like in 'The Exorcist.' " While some bagel makers spend time in the trenches, learning their trade from a traditional New York Jewish baker, Kourie cut to the chase. He has bagels shipped to his Arlington bakery three times a week from New York's H&H Bagels, ''one of the largest bagel manufacturers in the world," according to the store's website. They're boiled, par-baked, and flash-frozen in New York, then fully baked in Kourie's ovens. The result is a soft, flavorful bagel perfect with a schmear of one of Kourie's flavored cream cheeses.
Many of Kourie's customers say that Kourie saves them a trip to New York. The folks from the Harvard Law Review did a blind taste test of area bagels in 1997; they chose bagels by US as the best and have had the bagels delivered daily to their offices ever since. Many other customers call ahead, and Kourie bakes to order. Bagel and egg sandwiches are also a popular item, as are bagels sandwiched with whitefish, and even ham and cheese ($4.95).
Local bagel fans were dismayed by the closing of Lexington's Aesops Bagels a little over a year ago, but the owner was actually reorganizing because demand outstripped the shop's capacity. Now these tasty, crunchy, and chewy rounds are made in a Chelsea plant. The bagel company was bought in 2002 by J.S.B. Industries, says Jim Taber, director of bagel operations. The company is now focused on distributing the 24 varieties more widely.
Aesops bagels (about 95 cents apiece) have a crisp crust with a delicate sweetness and an assertive grain flavor. They are sold at coffee shops, in school cafeterias, and markets.
So, good bagels are around. You just have to seek them out.
"Bread For The People"
March 16-March 29, 1994
It's about time Bostonians had an Iggy's. Founded by Igor and Ludmilla Ivanovic, the new bakery in Watertown offers crusty, delicious and healthy alternatives to supermarket bread. The Ivanovics use organic ingredients and a sourdough-leavening technique (with no yeast) to create an array of baked goods, whose goodness you can actually taste. There are wonderfully light baguettes, hearty whole wheat and seven-grain loaves, oatmeal rolls, pungent focaccia, and a raisin-pecan bread, the best thing we've ever tasted. There isn't much else to see in this tiny bakery, located at 205-4 Arlington St. in Watertown, but Igor and Ludmilla's bread is enough to satisfy all your senses. Iggy's is open every day "from 8 in the morning until there's no bread.
"July 20-August 2, 1994
"Bread of Life"
Iggy and Ludmilla Ivanovic and their staff have been baking exceptional breads in Watertown for six months at 205 Arlington St. and their business is growing as predictably as the huge batches of fresh, lively doughs. On the muggy afternoon I visited Iggy's, the new air conditioning had just been installed, and Iggy was busy adjusting everyone's approach to the temperature and moisture-sensitive dough. The bread came first, as it should, and I was introduced to Rick Holmes, deliveryman extraordinaire, whose "portrait of a day" represents the bakery and its products.
At 4 a.m. (yes - a.m.), Rick is on his way to work; by 5:30 the orders are sorted, the truck is strategically loaded, and he's on the road with three or four cups of dark roast under his belt "to get the system rolling." Rick's route takes him to Idlewhile farm stand in Acton, Teacakes in West Concord, Bread and Circus (Fresh Pond, Cambridge and Newton), Formaggio's Kitchen, The Harvest, Barsamian's, Rosie's, Cambridge Natural Foods, Marty's Liquors, Kurkman's Market, The Museum of Fine Arts, Claremont Cafe, the Dwyer House at the Park Plaza, Rosie's South Station, Cornucopia on the Wharf, Savenor's in Beacon Hill, the Somerset Club, Cafe Eurosia, The Blue Room, the Woodland Country Club, and Bread and Circus Newton.
Iggy's breads - country sourdough, whole-wheat sourdough, seedless white rye, long, thin Ficelle, traditional French, raisin nut, health loaf, and focaccia - are made from more than basic ingredients; they are, as Rick put it, made with "good feeling and good energy which shows in the bread." It shows in him, too. If you're interested in Iggy's bread, call 924-0949.
"Nourishing Body and Soul: Bread Bakers with Vision & Heart"
By Linda Marks - Summer 1994
When I was in grammar school I remember seeing signs in the school cafeteria that said, "bread is the stuff of life." I found the thought puzzling in an era where Wonder bread was the current cuisine and nutritional value was far from the minds of those who bought bread. In fact, most of my life I've avoided bread, as an early learner of the health limitations of first, white flour and sugar, and then as the world become more health conscious, commercial yeast.
Finding bread that felt good inside and out, and remained that way over time as it really nourished body and soul was far from my mind as I stumbled across Iggy's onion focaccia at A. Russo and Sons market in Watertown. The bread drew my attention in a way I could not understand. I felt attracted to the bread, as though it was more than bread that was in the little package waiting to be purchased. Fresh, dense, moist, thick and slightly sourdough flavored with fresh onions and herbs on top, it seemed as though there was more than food, but love in the bread. My mouth watered with every bite, and my curiosity led me on a search to find the baker of the bread.
Thanks to the foibles of a slow counterperson at Wellesley's Bread and Circus, my search was not long. As I waited for this earnest but awkward woman, who apologized profusely as she struggled with an electronic scale on her very first day at work, my eyes happened across a clipping on the counter which read, "Iggy's." I learned that this bread was baked in Watertown by Yugoslavian baker Igor Ivanovic, who, with his wife Ludmilla and some business partners, had started an extraordinary successful bakery on the Cape - Pain d'Avignon. Their customers included Boston's finest restaurants and fanciest hotels. And in January 1994, Ludmilla and Igor opened their own new bakery, Iggy's Bread of the World, in a garage-like, industrial warehouse space on Arlington Street in Watertown.
Within days, I had made my way there, quickly discovering that the onion sourdough bread that had lured me to its source was only the beginning of an abundant array of breads that Iggy's offered. All breads are made with the purest, most natural and unprocessed ingredients, including wild yeast to leaven the breads in an old-fashioned crusty hearth baked European style. However, wonderful bread was not all that awaited me as I was greeted by the warm presence of Ludmilla, attentive shop hostess and jack-of-all-trades. A former actress, who is articulate about her vision and ebullient with a large, open heart, Ludmilla gave me a tour of the shop, and I soon learned that there was more than just food in the bread.
"What you eat is who you are," exclaimed Ludmilla. "It becomes your body. It affects how you feel. It effects your outlook on life and if the body is a source of answers to life's questions, it effects who you can be in your life."
Iggy's is a means of expression for both Ludmilla and Igor. "For Igor, the dough is his means of expression. There is love in the bread. His hands are in the dough a lot more than mine. For me, I try to practice what I preach through the way I run the business. Building a good relationship with wholesalers, suppliers, listening to customers, how we do pricing and deliveries are all part of this. I give a service. It's not just a bakery. I care a lot about who walks in the door."
Ludmilla cares greatly about relationships with all the people who are part of the business, especially employees. "How someone is feeling when they bake makes a difference in the quality of the bread. A person needs to care about what we are trying to do and have a stake in our success."
As a small business in its first year, salaries are modest for now, but Ludmilla hopes that with dedicated effort, all will profit and grow. "I am trying to instill in our workers how their effort makes a difference. The more they care, the more profit we make so the more we can pay and the better the atmosphere to work in is."
Building community is as important to Ludmilla as baking fine breads. "In Europe, you can sit in the cafes and there's a feeling of community. They don't have so many malls and big chain stores. I love the community that happens here."
People coming to Iggy's often chat and stay. The retail part of the shop has a welcoming feeling to it. The walls are "sponge-painted" orange, serving as a backdrop for racks and baskets overflowing with a cornucopia of fresh breads. The front table offers fresh samples of many breads. Customers sample with delight, appreciating the special feeling that permeates the place. Handsewn aprons, bibs, potholders and napkins add color to the shop as they adorn bread racks and wooden crates. "These are made by a local woman who came into the shop. She sews to make money as she's raising a child by herself," Ludmilla chimes in. Ludmilla hopes to expand the front of the shop to include local farmer's produce, fresh herbs, and homemade products.
If Ludmilla's vision comes to life, Iggy's will be a place where people can meet, share resources and make a difference in one another's lives. "I'd love this place to be a place where people feel comfortable, a place where people can discuss problems and find support in their own lives. Our culture has too much television, too many malls, too many impersonal situations. I'm not a machine. I want contact with people. I enjoy working with people and would like to create a place where people can come together."
Collaborating with others who share her vision is an important part of building community. Along with Cambridge Natural Foods owner Michael Kanter, Ludmilla has been considering developing materials to educate people about nutrition and health. "Every time I have conversations with people in the store I realize how much they need to learn about nutrition. Everyone's idea about health is lowfat, low cholesterol. There's so much more to health."
Ludmilla has also planned a reception in collaboration with two other like-minded small businesses who currently carry Iggy's bread. "I want to have a chance to meet and play with the people who buy our bread. It's good for business, but that's not why I want to do it. Having been an actress in New York, I want to create a theater with flowers, candles, wine and cheese and community. The people at Formaggio Kitchen and Violette Wine Cellars have as much passion for what they are doing as I have for what I'm doing. I love creating rituals as a counterbalance to our cold, commercial culture. Rituals are a space where people can express things that are unexpressed - sadness, anger, fear, letting the body and spirit come together. Rituals create a bond between people, a sense of love, peace and shared understanding."
Ludmilla is full of ideas to generate funds to help support community and planetary needs. "I have been considering creating a small business network. We could choose some smaller organizations we'd like to support, and make a bigger difference with what we have to give by working together. We can educate people to bring their own bags by charging twenty-five cents for paper bags, which we would sell to raise money to give to service organizations. We will have information on each organization we are supporting in the store, so if people choose to buy bags, they will know their money is going to a good cause."
Iggy's has generated a lot of good will in its short lifetime, but it still has many barriers to overcome. "When we were looking for a place to start the business, most landlords wanted exorbitant deposits, and only wanted to do business with us for the money. The reason we are here in this space is that the landlord cared that we came here. The other day the Health Department came in and said we couldn't use old flour bags to deliver bread in, whether it's a donation to the poor or an order for a museum. The flour bags are clean and have only been used to store our flour in. It's sad we can't recycle something and can only use it once."
As she confronts the challenges of the world, Ludmilla is remarkably creative and optimistic. "I would like to engage the Health Department as a consultant to help us make things better, rather than acting as a policeman. I'd like them to collaborate with us to help us take better care of our customers."
The biggest challenge right now is the long hours required to run such a labor-intensive business. Currently, even with their small staff of employees, Ludmilla and Igor work 16 to 20 hours each day. "I would like to get the point where Igor and I have a family life, where we are well rested and have enough time to spend with our young children. I would like to have enough money to send our children to alternative schools, and to pay people who work here what would truly support them in their lives."
Iggy's breads are available in a variety of stores in the greater Boston area including: A. Russo and Sons, 560 Pleasant Street, Watertown; Cambridge Natural Foods, 1670 Mass Ave., Cambridge; Marty's at 193 Harvard St., Allston and 675 Washington St., Newton; Barsamian's at 1352 Mass Ave. in Cambridge; and Bread in Circus in all but Providence and Hadley stores. It is also available at Idylwilde Farms in Acton, Concord Teacakes in Concord, and in a number of fine restaurants around the area.
If you are a purest, you can always drop by the bakery's retail shop at 205-4 Arlington Street in Watertown (watch for the little brown sign) and get your bread from the source itself. Breads include country sourdough, whole-wheat sourdough, seedless white rye, francese, focaccia, ficelle, white French, 7-grain and a wonderful raisin-pecan bread. The shop opens at 8 am, and something is always baking there. And if you are inspired to help bake bread, call Ludmilla at (617) 924-0949. People who understand the importance of baking bread with love and share the larger vision of making a difference in the world are very welcome.
"Iggy's bread - back to the basics"
By J.K. Dineen-press staff - April 28, 1994.
With the thick scent of Iggy's bread wafting through the delivery truck, driver Rick Holmes doesn't mind heading out for his first drop off at 4:30 am.
"In the morning driving with the fresh bread - MmmMmm. It smells pretty good all day long. I have people waiting for me at some of my stops, who know my delivery schedule and buy a couple of loaves of Iggy's when I show up. And that's with no name on the truck," said Holmes, a Jamaica Plain resident.
While Iggy's bakery still has an unmarked truck, the Arlington Street establishment, which uses almost entirely organic ingredients, is quickly making a name for itself, according to Iggy's bookkeeper Albert DiSessa, who was setting up the bakery's new computer system last week. "Business has been doubling every two weeks, it's a matter of keeping up. If they keep growing, cut the operating costs and get a little more stability with personnel, they'll be off and running," said DiSessa, pointing out that the company had its first profitable month in March.
Iggy's has 35 wholesale customers, including Bread and Circus Supermarkets, and the Legal Sea Food restaurant chain. There are also the many other neighborhood bread residents, who wander in for a loaf of seedless white rye of Focaccia with rosemary and organic onions.
Igor and Ludmilla Ivanovic opened Iggy's bakery on January 6 of this year. Ludmilla, who is from Montreal, and Igor, who hails from Belgrade, Siberia, met in New York City at a Madison Avenue bakery called EAT, where they both worked.
The couple opened their first bakery - Pan D'Avignon - in South Yarmouth, Cape Cod, in October of 1991. They hoped to create a communal atmosphere, idealistically inviting a crew of friends to help them build and operate the business.
While Pan D'Avignon was successful, grossing $250,000 in six months, the Ivanovics found mixing friendship and business to be more difficult than anticipated.
"It was complicated - friendship all mixed up with money. We had different ideas about what we were trying to do. Six months later, we met and decided things were not working out," recalled Ludmilla.
The Ivanovics, who have two children, Tamara and Ines, age 2 and six months, sold their shares, and started looking in the Boston area. They had a lease signed in Chelsea, but the deal fell through at the last second. The same thing happened in Newton. Finally they looked at the Arlington Street building, which they share with Mr. Shirt.
"This place wasn't as luxurious or clean as the place in Newton, and it's in an industrial area. In Newton we were going to be in an office park. But the big difference was that the landlord (Mark Donato) helped us out a lot. "He was great," said Ivanovic.
It took over $100,000 to set up the business. A third of the start up funds came form the selling of their shares of the former bakery, and the rest came from family and friends.
The philosophy behind the bakery is as simple: Organic, tasty bread at a modest price. Iggy's sells it's bread wholesale at 80 cents a loaf, and retail at $1.50. Organic bread is often sold for over $2.50 at gourmet grocery stores. Iggy's does only two breads that are the same as one's done at Pan D'Avignon - seven grain and a fouccia.
"We'd like to make good bread more affordable. It's not supposed to be a luxury item. It's necessary and should be accessible. Nobody should have to think twice about getting good bread. Here, it has become an exclusive product," said Igor, who explained that he grew up in a country where fresh food was common place; where his mother made honey and wine, and had a big vegetable garden.
Igor admits, however, that obtaining the quality of ingredients can be an obstacle to keeping the bread cheap. "We believe in using all the best ingredients. So we're caught between trying to make the bread affordable, but still getting the good quality," said Igor.
The bread making process is a lengthy one. It starts at 11 am, when the natural yeast is made. The yeast is then mixed with flour, water, and sea salt and kneaded. After it's mixed, the dough is left to rise for a while, molded into loaves, and put in the proofer - a steam heated room where it undergoes further rising. The process is complete cooking when the loaves are cooked in a special $69,000 steam oven.
Despite the fact that Watertown was the last of many communities they looked at, Ludmilla said she's glad they chose to move here.
"It's wonderful to be in Watertown because of all the different cultures and different classes. It's become a neighborhood bakery. People come by and say, "I want to know where this bread is made," Ludmilla said. "Everything these days is malls and television, I want to bring people back to their instincts, to the basics."
"New bakery offers 'natural' breads"
By Bruce Pomfret-staff writer - February 18, 1994
WATERTOWN - Ludmilla Ivanovic believes her husband Igor's bread contains magic.
"It actually makes people feel good," she said. "They love this bread."
Now Watertown residents can test this magic bread thanks to the grand opening of Iggy's on Arlington Street.
Iggy's is a new bakery specializing in "yeast free, flavorful, natural, healthy and affordable" breads, say the Ivanovics. With old fashioned European techniques and baking equipment, they churn out crusty loaves of hearth baked breads in the back room of their shop.
Bakeries have played a major role in the Ivanovics' lives. It was at Eli's Breads in New York that the couple met in 1989.
"I was an actress who was working as a waitress at Eli's." said Ludmilla, "and Igor was supporting himself delivering bread for them."
Igor had often shared his dream with Ludmilla of opening his own bakery someday. When Ludmilla became pregnant and wanted out of New York, Igor acted on his dream.
"There were too many good bakeries in New York already," said Ludmilla.
Igor investigated Washington D.C. and Boston as possible locations for his establishment. He immediately chose Boston.
Ludmilla was thrilled because her mother owned a cottage on Cape Cod and she felt it would be a good place to spend her pregnancy.
Boston proved to be a difficult place to find a location, but Igor, with several friends, opened a bakery on the Cape.
It was a huge success, but Igor couldn't shake his dream of his very own establishment in the Boston area. He soon sold his share in the Cape bakery and again began a search around Boston in the spring of 1993.
After nine months of searching and watching an expensive deal in Chelsea fall through, the couple found the perfect location in Watertown.
"We knew about the area because we had visited all the Armenian shops around here," said Ludmilla.
Iggy's sells both wholesale and retail from their shop. Their accounts include the Four Seasons Hotel, Boston Harbor Hotel, Legal Seafoods, and many others.
But Ludmilla is especially interested in delivering her quality product to the man on the street.
"These breads belong to the people," said Ludmilla, "and we are here to bring the bread to the people."