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rlibkind

Pechter's Rye Bread

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As a North Jersey kid, I was raised on Pechter's rye bread (Harrison Baking Co.) It's the ultimate Jewish Rye. I used to be able to get it at Siegfried's at the Reading Terminal, but when he closed up shop I was left carraway-less.

On my regular trip to the Cherry Hill Shop Rite this week, however, I found it in the bread aisle: the rye bread of my youth! Pecther's is back!

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I've seen Pechter's pop up every so often in the last couple of years. According to my dad, they were taken over by some new owners a few years ago and the bread disappeared from stores for a while. Sadly, however, it's not the Pechter's rye bread I remember. The crust seems softer and the bread flabby and mushy compared to my (albeit hazy) memories. It seems to have succumbed to the same homogenization that Arnold rye bread (which doesn't make a "nice sandwich" as the late Leo Steiner used to say in their commercials) suffered.

It seems that the authentic store-bought NY rye bread is a thing of the past. Most of the supermarket brands (ShopRite, Pathmark, Grossingers, Manischewitz) are baked by H&S Bakery out of Baltimore!

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I've seen Pechter's pop up every so often in the last couple of years. According to my dad, they were taken over by some new owners a few years ago and the bread disappeared from stores for a while. Sadly, however, it's not the Pechter's rye bread I remember. The crust seems softer and the bread flabby and mushy compared to my (albeit hazy) memories. It seems to have succumbed to the same homogenization that  Arnold rye bread (which doesn't make a "nice sandwich" as the late Leo Steiner used to say in their commercials) suffered.

It seems that the authentic store-bought NY rye bread is a thing of the past. Most of the supermarket brands (ShopRite, Pathmark, Grossingers, Manischewitz) are baked by H&S Bakery out of Baltimore!

Any bread you put into a wrapper is going to be like that. But this bread did not look at all like the Grossingers, etc., breads, nor was it wrapped the same way. I'm sure it suffers a bit by being placed into wrap, but it definitely looked like the real thing. I'll pick it up my next trip and give it a try.

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Any bread you put into a wrapper is going to be like that. But this bread did not look at all like the Grossingers, etc., breads, nor was it wrapped the same way. I'm sure it suffers a bit by being placed into wrap, but it definitely looked like the real thing. I'll pick it up my next trip and give it a try.

I definitely recognize the perils of plastic wrapping and didn't mean to insinuate that Pechter's was as deficient as the other brands (they've all gone downhill but Pechter's started from a higher plane). But when I tried the store-bought Pechter's, it didn't measure up to the Pechter's I used to have back in the day. Obviously, some of that is due to the fact that most of the Pechter's I had was of the deli-bought sliced to order kind. But I remember even the store-bought pre-packaged having more of bite to it. The current version is quite similar to Philly's Gold Medal brand which my ShopRite sells at the Appy counter.

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This is not about Pechter's Rye Bread, but it seemed a little silly to start whole new topic about another supermarket rye....

I was pleasantly surprised by a loaf of Irene's seeded Rye I picked up at the Genuardi's yesterday. Not the greatest thing ever, it's wrapped in plastic and stocked on a store shelf, but still, had a nice firm consistency, chewy crust, and a good caraway seed quotient.

I bought it to make an additional lunch out of the overflow from a Katz's pastrami sandwich brought back from NY, and I'd even venture to say that I liked Irene's better than what the original sandwich was on, whatever Katz's was using was a bit mushy, even moments after it was made. What, you think I can resist starting on the sandwich during the trip home?

Short of talking Shacke into making me some, any other clues about where to find good rye bread in the area? Any bakeries we like? Delis? (I thought the rye at Famous was good, but not great, a little soft.)


Edited by philadining (log)

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. . . any other clues about where to find good rye bread in the area?  Any bakeries we like?  Delis? (I thought the rye at Famous was good, but not great, a little soft.)

In Center City and environs, a hole-in-the-wall in Northern Liberties, Kaplan's New Model Bakery, 901 N. Third St., 215-627-5288. I still prefer Pechters (the rye bread of my youth), but this is good.

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