The Art & Science of Making Bread

What’s your favorite childhood bread memory? For David it’s his mother’s cinnamon toast, most likely sweetly dusted homemade English Muffin Bread.  For me, it’s my Aunt Rachel’s homemade challah, braided into a shiny brown loaf and all pillowy inside. My mother made challah French toast for every holiday brunch and still does for Christmas (challah + Christmas? That’s right.)

Making good bread is both an art and a science. And Modernist Bread is a 2,642-page tome on the craft of baking bread as well as bread’s future.  The five-volume masterpiece is the culmination of over four years of nonstop research, photography, experiments, writing, and baking. The books cover the science, history, cultures, and personalities behind bread, along with tools you can use to shape its future.


The authors are Nathan Myhrvold and Chef Francisco Migoya.

After retiring from Microsoft in 1999 as its Chief Technology Officer, Myhrvold established Intellectual Ventures and pursued several lifelong interests in photography, cooking, and food science.  The Cooking Lab is his state-of-the-art research kitchen in Bellevue, WA. Nathan is lead author of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking and Modernist Cuisine at Home and author of The Photography of Modernist Cuisine. 

Nathan Myhrvold

Chef Migoya grew up in Mexico and studying art (painting, sculpture and drawing). But a stage (internship) at a restaurant at age 16 sparked his passion for cooking. He attended culinary schools in Mexico and France and went on to work at some major restaurants in the USA such as French Laundry, Bouchon Bakery and most recently, as a professor at the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Migoya is author of three books on pastry: “Frozen Desserts”  (2008), “The Modern Cafe” (2009) and “The Element of Dessert” (a 2014 International Association of Culinary Professionals  cookbook award recipient.

Chef Francisco Migoya

So, besides four years of research with over 230 recipe testers and expert contributors, what other fun facts should you know about Modernist Bread? Statistic nerds take note:

Number of pages: 2,462

Weight of book:  50 lb.

Weight: of ink: 4 lb

Words: 1,000,000+

Number of recipes: 1500

Photos: 3,000+

Loaves baked: 36,650+




Modernist Bread’s Chef Francisco Migoya joined us November 29, The Connected Table LIVE! Here is the show:


We bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality. Listen anytime on and the iHeart and live Wednesdays, 2pm EST Connect with us on Twitter@connectedtable,Instagram@theconnectedtable and Facebook@connectedtable


Photo credits: Nathan Myhrvold / The Cooking Lab, LLC.


Baking a Difference- Hot Bread Kitchen’s Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez

Wandering through the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City, you’ll discover a stand with a range of international breads made by a community of women who work at Hot Bread Kitchen in East Harlem.

Hot Bread Kitchen is more than just baking great breads. It’s about building lives, fighting poverty and changing the food landscape. This not-for-profit builds lasting economic security for low-income, immigrant and minority individuals by creating pathways to professional opportunities for women and men in the culinary industry. Its programs include employer-driven workforce development and business incubation programs, Bakers in Training and HBK Incubates.


But back to the breads. They raise important dough to make a difference in the lives of others: 67% of Hot Bread Kitchen’s operating budget is funded through the sale of multi-ethnic breads and rental of commercial kitchen space.

The bread-winner behind Hot Bread Kitchen is Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez, a native of Ontario who moved to New York to pursue a Master Baker Certificate at The New School. She became the first female baker at Daniel Boulud’s eponymous restaurant.  Along the way, she nurtured her other passion of supporting human rights, education and immigration issues, eventually leaving Daniel to work at various positions that address them, including the United Nations.

Jessamyn Rodriguez Headshot Jennifer May
Jessamyn Rodriguez. Photo Credit: Jennifer May

In 2007, Jessamyn opened Hot Bread Kitchen, out of her apartment (where many great NYC businesses get their start!). Her mission was to train low-income immigrant and minority women in the baking arts to help open doors for them in the culinary industry. Hot Bread Kitchen’s assortment of breads can be found at leading retailers like Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca in addition to Union Square Greenmarket. There is also an online store.

For her work Jessamyn has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Global Citizen Award from the Clinton Global Initiative, Crain’s “40 Under 40,” and was named one of the “Most Innovative Women in Food” by Food and Wine Magazine in 2015.


Most recently she published  “The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook,” (Clarkson Potter) which has been named 2015 Cookbook of the Year by Yahoo Food. This beautifully photographed book is filled with recipes for Hot Bread Kitchen’s bounty of breads and stories of the people who bake them.

David Ransom and Melanie Young, The Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple. Follow: Twitter@connectedtable Facebook/theconnectedtable
David Ransom and Melanie Young, The Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple. Follow: Twitter@connectedtable Facebook/theconnectedtable

We break bread with Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez Wednesday, December 23, 2pmET on The Connected Table LIVE on W4CY to our show on Wednesday Dec 23, 2015 to talk about her work, her platform, and her delicious book. Podcasts for this show will be available on and the iHeart App.


Twitter@hotbreadkitchen  Facebook/hotbreadkitchen  Cookbook hashtag: #HBKCookbook

Website: www.hotbreadkitchen.org (if people buy the book through our site they receive a copy signed by Jessamyn)

Selections the Hot Bread Kitchen online store

Trio of ryes
Trio of ryes
Flatbreads from around the world
Flatbreads from around the world
Moro ccan M’smen
Moroccan M’smen