Black Forest Bakery
155 N. Wellwood Ave. Lindenhurst, NY 631-226-0257
On two recent Lufthansa flights, and on a layover in the Munich airport, I enjoyed both fresh pretzels slathered with butter and sandwiches made on baseball-size pretzel rolls. I returned home determined to find these treats on Long Island, and my search ended at Black Forest Bakery in Lindenhurst.
Herb Lorch, a veteran of German bakeries in Queens and on Long Island, opened the bakery in 1970. Today it is run by his son Tom, who explained that the German name for pretzel rolls is laugenwechen, literally, lye rolls. After the dough has been formed (into either pretzel knots or buns or twists), it is briefly dipped into a very weak lye-water solution before being sprinkled with coarse salt and baked. "The lye is what gives them that dark, shiny surface and that distinct flavor," he said, adding that many soft-pretzel vendors cheat, using either cornstarch or egg whites to achieve a pallid imitation of true pretzelness.
Black Forest Bakery makes laugenwechen every day because they figure prominently on the menu at the Village Lanterne, the German restaurant down the street also owned by Tom Lorch. But the bakery sells them to retail customers only on weekends. "We don't want people to get tired of them," Tom said. His favorite way to eat them: "When they're hot out of the oven, I like to slice one open and spread it with butter."
In addition to the pretzels, Black Forest Bakery makes a wide assortment of cakes, cookies, pastries and pies. Tom Lorch may offer the Island's largest selection of chocolate cakes, with a dozen regularly available. Most of the 7-inch cakes sell for well under $20, among them the eponymous Black Forest Cake, filled with black-and-red-cherry preserves and frosted with whipped cream; the Victory Cake, filled with pudding and frosted with whipped cream; and the chocolate fudge cake, filled with buttercream and frosted with fudge. Also of note, a seven-layer cake made with chocolate layers. -- Erica Marcus (Newsday / Oct. 30, 2008)