Hof Kelsten
By YP Contributor

Baking Secrets From Around the World

Born and raised in Montreal, Jeffrey Finkelstein headed to New York to study at the International Culinary School at age 24. With the hopes of perfecting his craft, he spent time as a chef in top Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain, England, Denmark and the USA. With his taste for high-end cuisine satiated, he took a position at a pastry and chocolate shop in Barcelona and discovered a unique interest in baking.

When he returned to Montreal, he began baking bread - just a few loaves a day - and giving them to friends. More serious demand grew, and landmark Montreal restaurants began turning to him for their bread. Soon he was supplying a long-list of Montreal establishments such as Dominion Square Tavern and Joe Beef. "I worked in restaurants for over 20 years and the bread was always an issue," says Jeffrey. "I decided to specialize in creating the best restaurant bread in the city."

When 2014 arrived, it was time to open to the public and make the delicious breads enjoyed in the city's favourite restaurants available every day. "The icing on the cake was to have a place where people in the neighbourhood could stop by and get the bread the pickiest chefs in the city rely on," explains Jeffrey. He moved the bakery to a new location just off of Mont-Royal Avenue on St. Laurent Street, adding a front-end café with tables, individual products and a menu à la carte.

I worked in restaurants for over 20 years and the bread was always an issue. I decided to specialize in creating the best restaurant bread in the city. - Jeffrey Finkelstein, owner
Hof Kelsten, lunch, brunch, bread, pastries, sandwiches, salads, soups, third wave coffee
Jeffrey Finkelstein, owner of Hof Kelsten

An Eastern European Deli with Traditional Flavours and Jewish Treats

When you stop by Hof Kelsten, don’t expect your typical French bakery. While the name may appear German, Hof Kelsten is actually an alternate version of Jeffrey’s nickname, based on his last name, Finkelstein. The recipes here are accented with Eastern European flavours and prepared in Jewish tradition to cater to the area’s multicultural inhabitants. "When my grand father came from Russia in 1910, he lived on Coloniale Street, just three blocks away from here,” says Jeffrey. “This has always been an immigrant neighbourhood and the bakery is a tribute to that heritage.”

The shelves here are lined with freshly baked German rye bread, Italian ciabatta, French baguette, and also Panettone, a bread customers line up for. On Fridays you can procure loaves of Challah, a Jewish traditional bread eaten as part of the Sabbath celebration.

You can also take a seat in the café and savour a chocolate Danish, apple turnover or traditional croissant, alongside a cup of single-origin coffee prepared with a classic hand-built Kees van der Westen espresso machine. If it’s time for a meal, the bakery’s sandwiches are made from scratch and served, of course, on the Hof Kelsten bread. A selection of specialty meats is also on offer, all cured or smoked in house.

Jeff is clear on his vision for the café: “Hof Kelsten is a bakery and deli that expresses the essence of Montreal: a mix of tastes, cultures and traditions.”

Hof Kelsten, lunch, brunch, bread, pastries, sandwiches, salads, soups, third wave coffee

The Bread of Choice for Montreal’s Most Selective Chefs

If you dine out in one of Montreal’s high-end restaurants, you can bet the bread is supplied by Hof Kelsten. The quality of Hof Kelsten’s products have made it the number one choice of Montreal’s most selective chefs and the main supplier for renowned restaurants in the city including Philemon, Lemeac, Buvette chez Simone, Club chasse et pêche, Toqué and Moishes.

“People have been making bread badly because they wanted it cheap and fast,” explains Jeffrey. “We go back to tradition. Our bread is made slowly over a period of eighteen hours.”

Hof Kelsten, lunch, brunch, bread, pastries, sandwiches, salads, soups, third wave coffee
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