Pan de muerto, literally “bread of the dead,” is a traditional Mexican sweet bread baked in late October and early November to celebrate Día De Los Muertos. Much like Halloween, the holiday is a joyous celebration of life, as well as an opportunity to remember and honor the deceased. To celebrate, families set up altars in their homes, adorned with flowers and food that are left as offerings to lost loved ones in their homes.
On May 14th, Hot Bread Kitchen hosted Women Bake Bread, an all-day baking intensive led by New York City’s leading female bakers. The event was organized by Sarah Black, Fairway Market‘s Bakery Director and co-sponsored by Fairway Market and King Arthur Flour. All proceeds from the sale of tickets went to help fund Hot Bread Kitchen’s baking training programs.
The event was recently profiled in Fairway News by Tod Bramble, of King Arthur Flour and Advisory Committee Member at the Bread Bakers Guild of America. The newsletter also includes Amy Scherber of Amy’s Breads recipe for her famed country sourdough boule.
Read the complete newsletter in Fairway News, Summer 2011.
We first began baking with Antonia while she was working as a kitchen assistant at the Artisan Baking Center. It didn’t take long for HBK founder Jessamyn Waldman to recognize Antonia’s talent for baking and tireless work ethic, and she referred her to Restaurant Daniel where she immediately secured a full-time position as an Assistant Baker. Antonia has recently returned to bake part-time with Hot Bread Kitchen, this time as an official member of our staff. Her infinite supply of energy, positive attitude, and contagious enthusiasm for baking keep her in high demand in both kitchens. In addition to juggling two jobs, Antonia is the mother of 4 children, including a newborn.
After reading about Hot Bread Kitchen in November’s Food & Wine Magazine, Margie Shore of Toronto, Canada baked her own Sephardic Challah loaves with outstanding results, as you see above. While slightly intimidated, we are extremely impressed at the quality of bread that she got from the home oven. Good work, Margie!
Have you tried baking one of Hot Bread Kitchen’s breads at home? Do you have a favorite recipe that uses HBK products? If so, email us your story or recipe and we will add it to our website or newsletter.
Hawa Ireine Guengueng is the newest member of Hot Bread Kitchen’s staff. Ireine is originally from Chad and moved to the United States in 2009 to live with her family. She loves food and cooking and is a natural in the bakery. In addition to her innate feel for bread dough, Ireine has made herself invaluable to our tortilla production as one of our strongest and fastest pressers. She has also introduced us to gateau, a delicious African fried cake which she made and served for our A Toast with Hot Bread Kitchen last November. Ireine’s favorite bread is a type of biscuit she has only eaten in Africa, but she also enjoys Hot Bread Kitchen’s Za’taar Lavash. Ireine is also the mother of a 9-year old daughter, Mariam, who is still living in Chad.
Hot Bread Kitchen bakes at the Artisan Baking Center in Long Island City, Queens. The ABC is equipped with all of the equipment necessary for artisan breads and the space necessary for making tortillas, granola and lavash. We keep our own corn grinder, which we imported from Mexico, there as well.
In April 2007, Jessamyn, Elidia, and Mari had their first bake in Jessamyn’s home kitchen. After months of planning, the women shared bread secrets and created four delicious breads–lavash, hand-ground corn tortillas, baguettes, and a whole wheat loaf–during an 8-hour test bake. These breads were shared with family, friends, and some market owners. We are now ready to get into the industrial kitchen at the Artisan Baking Center.
Thanks to the ingenuity and generosity of Peter Brock, a renowned architect in Berkley CA, we now have our corn-grinding bicycle. Peter is a Princeton and UC Berkeley-trained architect who has been creating or restoring a wide range of commercial and residential buildings for over 20 years. Peter and his firm put considerable focus on energy responsive design, historical restoration, and have also ventured into designing furniture, textiles, light fixtures, and even toys and garden machines. (See peter-brock.com for more information.). Introduced to Hot Bread Kitchen by his son, Peter was intrigued by our vision of a bakery that preserves traditional baking techniques and recipes as it trains immigrant women for better jobs. He was also captivated by the challenge of building a human-powered grinder for the corn that goes into our delicious tortillas. (And our arms were mighty tired from the hand grinding.) After months of Peter’s design and technical efforts, our Jessa-Molino 2000 was born! It arrived in New York in November. Jessa-Molino 2000 looks something like a blue stationary exercise bicycle. The raw organic corn goes into the bucket at the front and is ground to perfection as one of us rides the bike. We took our corn-grinding bike to Grassroots Market in November for demonstration purposes, and everyone who saw it was fascinated by Peter’s invention: a human-powered corn grinder that is both a sustainable technology and a good way to get some exercise! Now Jessa-Molino lives at the Artisan Baking Center where we use it to grind corn for our tortillas. In December we invited Peter to the Artisan Baking Center to see his creation in action and to thank him for his remarkable machine. We also treated him to some of our fine tortillas and baking. Thank you, Peter Brock!