Liv Breads, a popular bakery which has four locations in New Jersey, recently teamed up with Goldbelly to offer nationwide shipping — aka regardless of where you are, you are in for a treat. After opening in 2018, the family-owned hotspot has expanded and undergone changes throughout the years to get to where it is now. The Israeli artisan eatery’s bread is in hot demand, but luckily for us, we’ve got the low-down on the baking process, like the bakery’s award-winning challah — just in time for Rosh Hashanah. Read on for The Montclair Girl’s exclusive interview with the owners of Liv Breads, located at 184 Essex Street in Millburn.
How Liv Breads Became Successful
Liv Breads was founded by Elana and Yaniv Livneh — Yaniv is originally from Israel. The husband and wife duo worked in the tech world for many years before coming up with the idea to open their own bakery. There are now four partners — one remains a silent partner and the other is executive baker Bary Yogev, who worked remotely before moving from Israel in 2021.
“This started as an experiment. We wanted to see what retail is about and we identified there is a need for good bread. Also, bread has started evolving in the US – a new generation of bread in the last 10 years. And so, we said people want this kind of product, and we don’t see many in the suburbs so maybe it’s an opportunity,” Yaniv told The Montclair Girl. Elana added that wanting a career change was “definitely part” of the inspiration, but so was wanting to be more hands-on in something.
Owners Yaniv + Elana Livneh
“We brought skills to the business to focus on different areas, which I think helped us maintain consistency and grow,” Elana mentioned. “Yaniv has a strong business background, having owned a software company. I have a strong background in marketing and product management, and Bary brings expertise in bread and pastry. Holistically, we work well together.”
Liv Breads’ first location — 184 Essex Street in Millburn, NJ — opened in August of 2018. During the Covid pandemic, the owners opened their second location inside the Short Hills Mall. Once business grew, the owners needed to expand their space for food preparation, so they opened The Workshop right down the street from their first location at 257 Essex Street. Liv’s fourth location — 23 Nathaniel Place in Englewood, NJ — just opened in March of this year.
The owners said that the Short Hills Mall location was critical to their expansion since people from New York City would go there, discover Liv Breads, and then want to check out the flagship location in Millburn. Another way the business grew was by adding online ordering, which started during the pandemic.
“We actually delivered by ourselves for a while. We were going to Livingston, Westfield, Chatham, Montclair,” Elana said. “We were getting sometimes 100-200 orders a day. Our quality and service stayed consistent even through the pandemic.”
As of April 2022, Liv Breads partnered with Goldbelly to ship select items nationwide. “It was a way to open us to a national market. We’re ready at this time to broaden our customer base,” Elana explained. “We only select the products that are good the same day or the next day, and so everything that ships through Goldbelly ships overnight.”
What Makes Liv Breads So Unique
Customers can find bread that’s unlike anything else at Liv Breads, and it’s all thanks to the special way the bread is made. Liv Breads’ baking technique of using very high heat sets it apart from other bakeries. The results are bread that has darker, caramelized crusts and a moist, soft inside.
Elana explained, “It has high water content, which a lot of sourdoughs won’t have, but it creates the texture inside and the crust on the outside. Not a lot of places use this technique because the process is more difficult to teach. Also, we don’t put any enhancers or yeast to quicken the rising process. So it really is a fully all-natural sourdough. It just has the flour, water, sourdough, and salt, and then whatever additions such as seeds or nuts.”
Yani added, “It’s a lot about the process. The cycle begins at 3 in the morning when the bakers start to mix and shape. It takes several hours, and at that point, it goes into an overnight proofing. The next morning, around 3AM again, the bread is baked.”
Many of Liv Breads’ products, of course, are bread-based. Sold in the store is round bread, seeded multigrain bread, baguettes, dairy-free hamburger buns, and Margherita focaccia (a popular item). Liv’s Challah, which is produced Friday for Shabbat, was named 2018’s “Best Challah” at The World Bread Awards.
In addition, Liv Breads sells a variety of vegetarian sandwiches, quiches, croissants, carrot loaf cakes, and pastries. They have a to-go section for salads, yogurt, housemade granola, and other specialty items. They also have a selection of coffee drinks and tea. The popular sellers surprisingly are all the chocolate delights — which are round chocolate babka, chocolate croissant, chocolate rugelach, and flourless chocolate fondant.
How to Order from Liv Breads
Liv Breads is accessible to people nationwide now through Goldbelly and the Israeli bakery’s online ordering system or mobile app. The owners suggest ordering online and then picking up in person since items sell out quickly.
The hours of operation for the Millburn location are seven days a week from 8AM until 2PM. The Workshop’s location opens after this, from 2PM to 6PM, and features pastry, breads, tartine sandwiches, and iced drinks. There’s a patio for eating outdoors since it’s primarily a production facility, and the interior is not open to the public.
The Short Hills location follows the mall hours and the Englewood location is open seven days a week from 9AM until 4PM.
“We will probably have some more locations. We really like the suburbs,” Yaniv and Elana told MG. “Our focus was always going to be the suburbs and bringing this type of product to the suburbs.”