Blacksmith’s Breads Coming to Long Beach

The path to success isn’t always clear, but for Long Beach resident Raymond Smith it took one door closing to open another. Having been forced from his home after Hurricane Sandy, Smith has returned to open coffee house and micro-bread bakery Blacksmith’s Breads at the end of October.

“I credit my first dealings with pizza dough [working at Cafe Laguna] as the birth of my obsession with bread. We really felt like we were initiating small changes in the food scene here in Long Beach—but then of course Sandy happened.”

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Smith’s life was devastated by Sandy. “I lost everything I owned…I decided to spend a few months in Costa Rica and convinced my friends Ryan Fleischmann and Black (Michael Blackburn) to join me. We pretty much surfed, napped and cooked fresh food every day.”

When he returned to Long Island, he moved to the North Fork and took a job at Noah’s, which he admits was more difficult than expected. “It was much different from my culinary roots, but I got to know some amazing people involved in the Long Island food industry—farmers, fishermen, bartenders and restaurateurs. I formed a deeper connection to food by being right at the source.”

In 2014, Smith took a stagiaire position at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. “I didn’t get to spend much time in the bread department, but just being around it was enough to stir my interest in using fresh milled grain.”

After Noah’s, Smith returned to Long Beach and reunited with Michael Blackburn and Alexis Trolf, owner of Lost and Found. “It wasn’t long before Black and I realized that in our time apart we had both developed bread baking as a hobby.”

The duo began selling their baked goods at pop up shops at Lost and Found, and quickly saw a response from the locals. “We were selling out every week. We would make the most we had ever made and then sell out in an hour and a half.”

Combining their names, Blacksmith’s Breads was formed. Blackburn and Smith partnered with another local restaurateur, Shane Herbert, and formed a business plan for Blacksmith’s. “We wanted to create a micro-bread bakery and coffee house for our community with quality bread and an emphasis on natural leavening and Northeast regional grains.”

The shop will be using fresh milled flour either milled on premise or by Northeast regional farmers like Farmer Ground Flour, Champlain Valley, Wild Hive and Main Grains. “Fresh, stone ground flour has an [earthy] taste of its own. We want to highlight the flavor of the grain/flour and we want our customers to truly taste real bread.”