Blue Duck Bakery’s Keith Kouris named top bread maker in North America

Keith and Nancy Kouris outside Blue Duck Bakery café in Southold. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder file photo)

Keith and Nancy Kouris outside The Blue Duck Bakery Café in Greenport. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder file photo)

Blue Duck Bakery owner Keith Kouris is one of the best bread bakers on the entire continent, according to Dessert Professional magazine.

The trade publication selected Kouris, who operates locations in Southold, Southampton Greenport and Riverhead, as one of 2015’s 10 best artisan bread bakers in North America. Dessert Professional editors Tish Boyle and Matthew Stevens cited a commitment to making high quality breads and a loyal customer base for selecting the honorees.

“These artisan bakers are trained to create bread at the highest level,” Boyle said in a statement. “Part alchemy, part artistry, making a loaf of bread requires the most technique and precision among all culinary endeavors, and the men and women on our Top Ten list are among the best bread makers in the country.”

Kouris and his wife Nancy opened their first location in Southampton in 1998. The couple told us they opened the bakery with a simple philosophy in mind — every village needs a bakery.

“It’s very humbling in its simplicity. I just try and do it justice, not adulterate it with the concept of making it better. When you make it right, there is nothing better,” Kouris said of the honor.

Kouris told the magazine that though he loves making baguettes, his favorite variety to bake is rye.

“Working with rye flour is challenging. Incorporating different grains and using various hydrations keeps me on my game,” he said.

The 10 honorees were selected from across North America and include bakers from cities like New York City, Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles.

The complete list is as follows:

Richard Bourdon, Berkshire Mountain Bakery, Housatonic, MA
Keith Cohen, Orwashers Bakery, New York, NY
Tim Healea, Little T Baker, Portland, OR
Eric Kayser, Maison Kayser, New York, NY
Keith Kouris, Blue Duck Bakery Café, Southampton, NY
Aileen Semenetz, Hot Bread Kitchen, New York, NY
Ursula Siker, Rising Hearts Bakery, Culver City, CA
Mark Stambler, Pagnol Boulanger, Los Angeles, CA
Tissa Stein, Tabor Bread, Portland, OR
Robert Tell, FIKA, New York, NY