After years of baking up a storm in Amagansett, artisanal break maker, baker, and pastry chef Carissa Waechter warms up East Hampton with her first brick and mortar bakery.
Walk into Carissa’s The Bakery and try not to smile. The place is bright and airy, smelling of butter and bread. There are flowers everywhere— for sale and in vases—and gorgeous glass doors beckon you into the kind of kitchen that bakers dream of. The staff is in linen jackets, and knowledgeable, too. They’re proud to be a part of the operation— you can simply tell.
And then there are the goodies. First, of course, Carissa’s famous breads (sourdough, sweet potato, and honey oat, to name a few), all branded with her quintessential “C.” There are croissants studded with local fruits or pistachios and ginger, chessboard blueberry pies with cornmeal crusts, toasts with homemade ricotta and stewed berries, buttery polenta cake with blood orange, and giant strawberry rhubarb pies topped with artful dollops of meringue.
But Carissa Waechter’s bakery was hardly built in a day. Waechter went to culinary school and then, for years, worked for heavy hitters including Daniel Boulud and David Burke. Eight years ago, Eli Zabar offered her a gig out East, making bread at a farm in Amagansett. “Who doesn’t dream of doing that?” she says. She moved immediately.
As the artisanal food movement grew in the Hamptons, Waechter’s wholesale business quickly took off. A brick-and-mortar spot, she says, felt like the logical next step. “It’s more fun than we could have imagined,” Waechter says. “Having our own place is really good for creativity levels. Everyone’s doing what they’re best at.” Some nights, Waechter stays at the bakery till midnight, trying a canelé recipe 20 times—yet nothing in the store feels overwrought or too precious. “I’m trying to find that word for when everything is just a little not too perfect,” she explains. But after biting into one of her baked treats, “perfect” is the only word that comes to mind. 68 Newtown Lane, East Hampton; carissasthebakery.com