After three years of peddling soft, buttery focaccia, rich loaves of bourbon wheat, and flavorful scones and muffins, SCRATCHbread’s Matthew Tilden has decided to give up his wholesale business and concentrate on getting back to his roots as a chef.
“I am a chef, not a baker, and I need to play with food,” he said while serving a line of eager customers from his takeout window in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. “It took so much energy to make the food and deliver it across the city. I could never give those customers the same experience that I can give here at the window.”
The change sucks for places he supplied to, like Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe, but it’s a happy transformation for residents who have been getting savory whiffs of fresh baked goods for almost two years from the SCRATCHbread headquarters. Now, instead of scrambling to make it to the food shop in the few hours they were opened to the pubic, SCRATCH-junkies can sidled up to the take out window six days a week from: 6:30am to 3pm Monday, Tuesday, and Friday; 6:30am to 8pm on Wednesdays; and from 10am to 3pm on the weekend.
The best part about this—breakfast. Tilden has whipped a killer menu consisting of hot, buttery Anson Mills grits and a daily stuffed-savory muffin that, on my last visit, consisted of a poached egg and a fresh kale pesto. They also serve Tilden’s famous oatmeal chunky, a muffin-like treat he said he finally got time to tweak, and now, is the best thing ever. For a morning perk SCRATCHbread serves Stumptown coffee either hot or iced, a nice addition to his menu and one made possible by the company’s donation of the brewing equipment. Now, a little secret about Tilden: he is an avid juice fan and has been creating recipes for this beverage for years. So, at the shop they will have one or two fresh squeezed creations daily like his currant pride and joy, the carrot, ginger, lime and mint combo.
Not to be overshadowed by breakfast, lunch also offers fun and tasty options. Tilden will serve a rotating stuffed sourdough pita filled with all sorts of goodness. For example, yesterday’s creation consisted of brown rice, house-made pickle, and spicy wood-roasted babaganoush. Currently they also have soup—like a sweet and savory tomato-parmesan, perfect for dipping a butter roll in—but don’t expect to see it once the weather truly heats up. For those of you in the know, don’t worry, you can still swing by SCRATCHbread to pick up Tilden’s celebrated focaccia, loaves of sourdough, slices of shortbread, butter cream brownies, and his latest creation, the mutt, which uses all types of bread mixed into one loaf.
Everything I have tried at SCRATCHbread has amazed me and I am ecstatic that Tilden can finally let his creative chef side shine through. Starting soon he will offer bread making classes and even more exciting, a monthly tasting dinner, which will also allow patrons to finally, eat inside the shop. Until then, continue to line up and indulge in goodness to go.