Nordic Breads - Simo Kuusisto | New York City, NY

Nordic Breads makes rye bread with a tang

"Harness the power of rye!"

So reads the rallying cry of the family-run company Nordic Breads, whose all-rye flatbreads are garnering fans across New York.

During Finland-born baker Simo Kuusisto's first visit to Manhattan, he ordered a deli sandwich on rye and was sorely surprised by the fluffier American version.

So Kuusisto, an alum of the French Culinary Institute and Aquavit, began baking his own ruis. Made in Long Island City with New York-grown organic rye flour and a sourdough starter, this chewy bread is superb when topped with cheese, smoked fish or cured meat.

After two years of selling sandwich-size flat discs ($1 each) and larger doughnut-shaped rounds ($4) at the Union Square Greenmarket, Kuusisto has developed a following and the ruis is now startlingly popular. Whole Foods, Fairway and Fresh Direct now sell the rounds, and new mini rye loaves ($5)–one laced with dried cranberries and the other topped with sunflower seeds–are available at the Greenmarket.

Accessibility alert: Kuusisto and his brother are hunting for a local storefront so they can experiment with other European breads and introduce sweet offerings.

Sounds like a power move to us.

Nordic Breads' ruis bread is available at the Union Square Greenmarket on Fridays and Saturdays, Whole Foods, Fairway, Dean & Deluca and Fresh Direct.