Hot and Crusty

Bien Cuit breads cross the bridge

Bien Cuit's Zachary Golper wakes up at 1 a.m. to bake bread for you.

Subsisting on a 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. sleep schedule, this talented baker started baking some of the best bread we've found on either side of the East River in July.

And thanks to Murray's Cheese, Golper's breads are now available on the Manhattan side of the river.

Last week, the Greenwich Village store began carrying Golper's exemplary miche ($8), olive fougasse ($10) and campagne ($6.50) breads, along with grissini ($6), a.k.a breadsticks, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

At his home base in a former bookstore (120 Smith Street, between Pacific and Dean sts., Brooklyn; 718-852-0200), Golper abides by the traditional techniques of small-batch long-fermented doughs made with natural starters, minimal yeast and blended wheat, white and rye flours.

Each loaf requires 16 to 68 hours of fermentation rather than the common eight to 12 hours. This leaves the bread with a balanced acidity that verges on sweet, but isn't overly tart.

For a sweeter discovery, Bien Cuit's superb pastries are finally available in Manhattan too. At Ninth Street Espresso's East Village location, the oversize–verging on football size–double-baked almond croissants ($4.25) are stuffed with almond crème and dipped in simple syrup and brandy.

They're big enough for sharing, but we advise against it.

Murray's Cheese Greenwich Village, 254 Bleecker St. (between Leroy and Morton sts.); 212-243-3289 or murrayscheese.com

Ninth Street Espresso, 700 E. Ninth St. (between aves. C and D); 212-358-9225 or ninthstreetespresso.com