Issue Winter 13
Damascus Bakeries has been in operation for more than 80 years, giving it quite the opportunity to perfect its recipes and techniques and create some of the best savory flat breads available on the market. The key to its longevity, however, is that it started with quality recipes and techniques, which were handed down through the generations while maintaining a high level of service to its loyal customers.
“Damascus Bakeries first opened its doors in 1930 by our maternal grandfather,” President Ed Mafoud says. “The bakery, nestled in the heart of a Middle Eastern community in downtown Brooklyn, was named after grandfather’s childhood home in Syria. He was the neighborhood breadmaker, living above the bakery, and starting his day long before sunrise. He was passionate, he was an artist, he made delicious Syrian bread – pita bread. And he was the community’s best kept secret for many years.”
About 30 years later, Mafoud’s father entered the business with big plans. He wanted to put Damascus flat breads on every dinner table, which required automated techniques and marketing ethnic breads to mainstream America. “He purchased equipment and made the necessary adjustments himself to ensure quality with increased mass production,” Mafoud says. “In 1969, Damascus Bakeries started shipping its line of pita breads to restaurants and markets nationwide. Thanks to dad’s efforts, Damascus was able to expand our geographic reach and our growing fan base without compromising taste or quality.”
Today, Mafoud and his brother are part of the family’s third generation, and although the company’s processes and automated procedures are extensive, the owners remain hands-on and Damascus Bakeries maintains the artisan quality for which it is known.
“Damascus Bakeries is part of our family,” Mafoud says. “We were born into it. Our grandfather started it, our mother grew up in it, our father married into it and we were essentially raised in its kitchen. Our passion derives from their passion. For us, bread is a labor of love and food is very emotional.”
‘Rooted in Integrity’
Damascus Bakeries is proud of the consistent quality in its products, made with time-tested recipes and handcrafted, artisan techniques. The company stresses that customers are inclined to choose its products because they are delicious and healthy.
- Lahvash wraps are soft, thin Middle Eastern bread. They are baked in old-world pita bread ovens and fit for sandwiches, entrees, desserts or snacks.
- Panini is an old-world flat bread updated for new-world grills. This aromatic, hearth-baked bread is ideal for any kind of sandwich, the company says, and comes in maple cinnamon, garlic and herbs, sun-dried tomato and plain varieties.
- Pitas are Damascus Bakeries’ original product, introduced in 1930. Claiming to be “America’s Original Pita,” the company’s numerous varieties of pita are known for their versatility, as well as being the “tasty, healthy, fun pocket-bread option.”
- Roll-Ups are a low-carb option for sandwiches, available in plain, whole wheat, flax, focaccia, golden flax, red peppers and onion, granola and rye varieties.
“Damascus Bakeries, rooted in integrity, fosters honest core values, artfully creating delicious breads for our family and customers,” the company says. “With a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction set by earlier generations, our bakery continues to adapt and develop a full line of savory flat bread offerings. We combine only the finest flavors and spices such as honey, wheat, sun-dried tomato, roasted garlic, cinnamon and maple to create breads that please any palette.
“Damascus breads are delicious, nutritious and the perfect alternative to carb-laden bread products. They provide full-flavor goodness at a fraction of the carbohydrate intake when compared to a typical bread selection. With a flavor second to none and a collection fit for a king, [consumers] enjoy our finest flat bread options with sandwiches, appetizers, snacks, pizzas [and] desserts.”
The company explains that as a customer-driven operation, it understands that quality equals customer satisfaction. To ensure that is what it delivers, Damascus Bakeries is committed to the highest-level of food safety standards, and its product is certified Kosher through the Orthodox Union. The company notes that its facilities maintain superior and excellent ratings with the FDA, New York State Department of Agriculture Division of Food Safety and Inspection, American Institute of Baking, Silliker and Food Safety Solutions.
“Part of our insurance to delivering quality and consistency begins with regular process monitoring by our quality assurance manager,” Damascus Bakeries says. “But we also believe that quality is everyone’s responsibility, and we empower all of our operators and packaging crew to act as quality control technicians. Finally, we use statistical process control tools to help ensure consistent products throughout the year. We are proud of our facility and the bread products we produce.”