Creativity is a baker’s greatest asset. The ability to use basic ingredients (flour, water, salt, butter, yeast, sugar, etc.) and mix a dough that — through creative interpretation — is transformed into something truly magical is an art form worthy of being celebrated. While it is true that baking is also science, it is the artistic element of the baking process that brings uniqueness to the equation and elevates products to one-of-a-kind status. You can bake a bread, cake or pastry that nobody else in the world will make the same. So here, we celebrate creativity. Particularly, I want to point to two people featured in our latest issue: Christina Tosi of Milk Bar and Guy Frenkel of Céor Bread.
With engaging storefronts in New York, Washington D.C., Toronto, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Boston, Tosi’s Milk Bar is known for inventive creations like the Compost Cookie®, layer cakes with unfrosted sides, Cereal Milk™ Soft Serve, and Milk Bar Pie. Her brand is building steadily across the country. Tosi created the concept for Milk Bar, a credit to her formal culinary training and her informal obsession with home baking, grocery store staples, and classic American sweets.
“Curiosity is the great equalizer,” the award-winning pastry chef says. “We might be playing around with a flavor and — all of a sudden — a failure becomes a stepping stone to a new flavor application. We’re pretty relentless about getting the flavor just right.”
In quite a different venue, Frenkel is an award-winning storyteller and a senior creative executive who also happens to be an influential bread baker whose talents are blossoming; many top names in baking follow Frenkel regularly on Instagram.
“I have the privilege of playing in the R&D department,” Frenkel told me during the International Artisan Bakery Expo as he prepared a dough with fresh milled Peruvian purple corn and roasted purple sweet potato (dehydrated).
Such examples reveal how embracing creativity opens the door for any baker to push beyond the norm and make magic happen. We bake to the feed the world, but equally to bring joy through creative endeavor.