Down a nearly hidden alley off Hanover Street and set back among a host of brick buildings whose walls rise high above it, almost obscuring its entranceway, there is a new bakery.
Bricco Panetteria is one of the newest North End incarnations brought to life by Frank DePasquale. However, it is his head baker, a young man named Ben Tock, who is helping the panetteria to makes its mark in the very competitive world of bread baking.
Tock, 22, says he has a passion for baking and that his effort is to keep it natural.
He is a young man living out a dream in a panetteria where he calls the shots.
Early Saturday morning, Tock was directing his fellow baking assistants as they prepared baguettes for the oven.
Frank was selling breads at the front of the nearly blinding white bakery which is walled with perfectly white subway tiling and fitted with stainless apparatus including the oven, a $250,000 piece of art work imported from Europe.
One by one customers left with baguettes, and a host of artisan designed and made breads of all kinds.
The scene is that of a room bathed in white, with shining stainless steel, thick wooden cutting surfaces, flour spread about and the breads, appearing baked a perfect light brown on the top, dark and rich with real crust, and when broken open, just the right amount of softness inside.
The Bricco baguette is perfection –perfectly constructed, baked just right and exquisitely light but slightly thicker than a traditional French baguette. That is the key to a fine baguette, that it be light as a feather, fabulous to crack open and wondrous to the palate when filled with thinly sliced genoa or prosciutto.
He touched a hot baguette with his hands and held it up as though examining a work of art.
“Think about slicing this bread, opening it up, and putting on it meatballs and a bit of sauce or chicken parm. This bread is perfect for that,” he aid.
Tock said that at this time in his baking career his hands understand what the dough is telling him, that he knows intuitively how to add character and flavor to his products.
“I don’t mean to overdo how much I love doing this, but I feel like I am the God of bread,” he added.
Tock said the panetteria’s ingredient base meets the promise of finely baked breads everyday. He said he uses only unbleached and unbromated flour that is not chemically treated
“I am responsible for the finished product. I decide how much time the breads should be baked, how hot the oven must be, what exact combination of ingredients is necessary,” said Tock.
He said the aim of Bricco Panetteria was to become acknowledged in Greater Boston as the very best bread.
Frank DePasquale was a bit more contrite.
“I am honored that North End residents are coming here to buy their fresh bread. This says more to me about the quality of the product than anything else,” he said.
“We’re not competing with anyone. We are doing our own thing and we are trying to do it right. I think we are succeeding,” he said.
Check it out. Make your own judgment.
The olive bread is to die for.
Find the alleyway at 241 Hanover Street.
You’re in for a slice of heaven.