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February 17, 2012     Post-Gazette
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4 POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 17, 2012 North End's Oldest Bakery, Boschetto, Continues the Tradition Brought from Italy in 1905 Roceo, Carlos and Bartolomeo working together on Scali bread. Owner Bartolomeo De Stefano smiles in front of Boschetto Bakery's 107-year-old brick oven. When Boschetto Bakery opens its door at 7:00 a.m., owner and head baker Bartolomeo De Stefano takes off his work clothes and makes his way back home after a long night of work. "My entire life, I have never worked during the day," says Bart, who has owned the bakery at 158 Salem Street for over I0 years. At the age of 12, when his family moved from his native Foggia to Boston's North End, Bart started the trade of bread baking ... and never let go. The year was 1960, and Boschetto Bakery had been around for over half a century. Founded in 1905 by Avellino-native Andrew Boschetto, the bakery had been sold to RaffaeUo "Ralph" Bruno in the late '50s. The new owner took Bart under his wing and taught him all he knows about making bread. "I grew up in here," says Bart. "Between 12 and 16 I still went to school, but I'd go to the bakery right af- ter and work until midnight, then I'd get some sleep and then back to school." The CHILDREN'S M U S E U M Professionisti Italiani a Boston C.A.S.IT., Inc. Italian Culture Night Join us at Boston Children's Museum for a night of music, dance and art! Friday, March 9, 2012 6-8 PM for friends of Italy of all ages $1 admission after 5 pm ONLY RSVP by March 2nd Tel. 617 722 9302 segreteria.boston@ested.it Tarantella Lessons Carnival Guitar, Masks Fisarmonica Mosaic Tamburello Making by Nicola Orichuia hard work Bart put into the bakery paid off, and he bought the business from Bruno in the 1990s. ' The bakery might not have a glamorous appearance out front, where several types of bread are sold alongside doz- ens of biscotti and cookies, all made with old Italian reci- pes handed down from gen- eration to generation. The true magic of the bakery is in the back, where the deli- cacies sold out front are made every night. A huge brick oven sits in one cor- ner of the bakery. On its little iron door there is an impressive date: 1895 -- the year it was made. "This oven used to run on coal," says Bart. "We changed the heat- ing system in the '70s but maintained the original oven. It bakes bread in a very different way compared to the electric ovens, and we use it for the lower round breads with thicker crusts." The brick oven is the first thing Bart turns on when he comes into the bakery at 7 p.m. to start his shift. "It takes two hours just to heat up." On the other side of the room is the bakery's second oven, which is a more mod- ern electric oven similar to the ones used in other his- toric North End bakeries like Parziale's and Bova's. In the middle of the room is a giant kneader and a long rectan- gular table, where Bart's brother Rocco cuts up differ- Rocco De Stefano (left) cuts Bartolomeo makes rolls. Freshly baked bread ent sizes of dough with math- ematical precision, while Bart's assistant Carlos forms balls of dough by hand. "You learn with time," says Rocco. "You understand how much a certain piece weighs just by looking at it." Rocco is two years younger than Bart and learned the art of bread bak- ing at nearby Bova's Bakery. "We lived across the street from Boschetto's," Rocco re- calls, "and Bova's was so close." Rocco worked under Joe Sr., son of Bova's founder Anthony. "I remember the old man would always be in the bakery to check on us, although he didn't run the bakery anymore." In 1973, Rocco opened his own bak- ery -- "De Stefano Bakery" -- in Waltham, but had to close it in 2007. That's when Page9 dough while brother ( at Boschetto Bakery. he joined his brother at Boschetto's. By 8 p.m. every night, the two brothers are fast at work, breaking up dough for the crunchy bread and cookies that will fill up the shop the next day. Once the breads are done, pizza is made be- fore the break of dawn, while a fig filling is rolled inside oval-shaped biscotti. For cus- tomers, the choice is always hard. The anisette-scented cookies are tempting, but so are the almond and nut filled biscotti. In the end, it's prob- ably easier to return home with bags filled of just about everything. Your stomach won't be disappointed. After all, it takes a good bakery and an experienced baker to make bread and cookies for 107 years. JUSTINE YANDLE PHOTOGRAPHY 781.589.7347 JUSTINE.YANDLE@GMAIL.COM WWW.JUSTINEYANDLEPHOTOGRAPHY.COM k.. Real Estate Matto Gallo Appraisals Sales & Rentals 376 North Street Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-2100 Fax (617) 523-3530