When I was in Chicago last winter, researching the book, I met the most perfect baker known to man. His name was Herb Fingerhut, and from his loafy frame, to his butter soaked cheeks, the man oozed the warmth of an oven and the sweetness of the pastries he so deftly worked up.
“You never trust a skinny baker,” he told me, as he crafted the divine Reuben Strudel seen in the video below.
Herb had been working at Kaufman’s Deli and Bakery, a Skokie institution owned by the Dworkin family, for just a few months, and he felt like he was at home. The seventh generation baker in the Fingerhut family, Herb had sadly been around to witness the end of his family’s great business…one of Chicagoland’s finest Jewish bakeries…the Chas Fingerhut Bakery. Over the decades they baked for everyone from FDR to Liberace. Kaufman’s had given him a new forum, and he was in love with the work once again.
Fast forward to last week, when I received an email from the domain fingerhutbakery.com. The message was an introduction to the revival of a legend:
Introducing the 8th Generation Fingerhut!
We are back!
For the past 40 years, I have been involved in baking industry and within that time I grew up having the honor of being able to work with hundreds of bakers with various skills from over 17 different countries… and that was just in the back of our own bakery.
The experiences have I gained from Chas. Fingerhut Bakeries not only strengthened my baking knowledge and skills, but also made it possible to work with some of the top retail, wholesale and artisan bread companies in the United States for the past 5 years.
Today, I am very proud to introduce my son Adam to all of our customers. Adam has given me the inspiration to bring back Fingerhut Bakery and also give our family business a new and vibrant look. With his savvy business and marketing abilities, as well as my hands on baking experiences, our customers will once again enjoy Fingerhut Bakery starting in March 2008!
We start by offering you the 3 best selling items from Fingerhut Bakery (Babi RyeTM, Raisin Houska and Kolacky) and in October will offer more than 20 other products from all butter cookies, kugelhopf and cream cheese pound cake, holiday gingerbread items, marzipan filled stollen and our all new artisan bread baskets!
I hope that you will once again enjoy the products you grew up with and will soon put our quality bakery products on your tables to continue the traditions we all grew up with.
Just to remind you, our address is http://www.fingerhutbakery.com/. please take the time to look at our new web site, but before you do, please take the time to click on preferences below this email, your input will help us to serve you better and offer you upcoming promotions!
Herb Fingerhut Jr.
7th. Generation Master Baker
Working out of Kaufman’s, Herb will begin baking old world style Jewish breads for mail order, including Babi Ryes that are real, dense rye breads, as opposed to the white bread masquerading as rye we’ve come to know.
If you’re in Chicago, or want to order, I highly suggest you get in touch. This man is a master. I’ve tasted his work myself. And it’s time the country knew about it.
Best of luck Herb and Adam!