Presented by the Bread Bakers Guild of America, Camp Bread offered practical applications for emerging trends in the craft bakery sector, including new products and equipment. Taking place in early March in Providence, Rhode Island, the week-long event featured some of world’s top bakers who celebrated the craft of baking in new and exciting ways.

Keynote presenter Apollonia Poilâne, baker and chief executive officer of Paris, France-based Poilâne, has been described as a “fierce defender of a magical tradition and also a brave innovator for a new era.” The precocious inheritor & leader of Paris’s most iconoclastic and celebrated bread bakery, Apollonia Poilâne stands at the helm of baking tradition that has been chartering new frontiers for three generations and is a singular authority in the world of bread.
 After taking charge of the family business at 18 years old following her parents’ accidental death in a helicopter crash while simultaneously completing her undergraduate at Harvard University, she has transformed her grandfather’s “le vrai gout du pain” and her father’s “retro-innovation” with her own “contemporary by tradition” philosophy.

“My grandfather was one of six bakers on a block when he started in 1934,” Poilâne shares. “My grandfather met a following of artisans and craftsmen. The way we bake allows for hand-crafted quality. We now have 24 little workstations making 5,000 loaves a day.”

Poilâne now works with a team of more than 150 men and women in France and the UK accounting for $10 million euros in sales annually. Her breads and baked goods have nourished generations Parisians and tourists and supply neighborhood residents, cafes, bistros, Michelin starred chefs and the French Élysée Palace. She is also the first French, female CEO to be featured on the online learning platform with her class “Apollonia Poilâne Teaches Bread Baking.”

She pays homage to her heritage in a respectful manner. To this day at her family’s bakery, bread production begins with their original mother dough started in the ‘30s.

Growing up, the family bakery and her mother’s workshop were her playgrounds. Apollonia became an apprentice baker at 16 years old and continuously works to hone her craft. Poilâne’s techniques and philosophy are simple but the execution is masterful. For Apollonia Poilâne, baking is the transmission between each individual baker and their production, the transformation of grain to bread with the aid of fermentation.

“A piece of dough from one batch serves as the starter for the next. Generations of bakers, generations of breads go into that loaf,” Poilâne comments. “Shaping by hand, you almost give a breath to the dough. It does make a difference to the quality of your bread.”


CampBread_JoshJohnson.jpgJosh Johnson of Guittard Chocolate Company. Source: Sosland Publishing Co.

Similar connections of the heritage involved in craft baking, chocolate and pastry were presented by various speakers during the four-day event.

“(As a child) my grandpa showed up at 3 in the morning, and we went to work,” recalls Josh Johnson, an award-winning pastry chef and Camp Bread presenter from Guittard Chocolate Company. “Everything I do today has chocolate in it – not too chocolatey. I try to make things small.”

For instance, he adds cocoa nib craquelin to one of his featured formulas presented at Camp Bread, “to add a little texture to the top of the brioche.”

Sponsors of the advanced professional event were Central Milling, Lesaffre, King Arthur Baking Company, Johnson & Wales University, La Colombe Coffee Roasters, Revent, Retail Bakers of America, National Honey Board, Rondo, Washington Red Raspberry Commission, Guittard, Pleasant Hill Grain, Erika Record, Rational, Lallemand Baking, Artisan Grain Collaborative, JAC, Wire Monkey, Lloyd Pans, New American Stone Mills, and Good Jobs Institute.


Another example of pastry excellence and creativity was presented at the “Modern Tarts and Custards” class in which participants prepared European and American-style pastry products, led by Charles Niedermyer II, chef Instructor, Pennsylvania College of Technology

This hands-on pastry class covered the essential techniques of various tart doughs, fillings, and garnishes. Classic flavor profiles were covered, but students also explored modern trends popular with today’s customers. Both sweet and savory applications were featured including whole grain and more nutritious options.

Niedermyer is a baking and confectionery professional with over 25 years’ experience. He’s a Chef Instructor at Pennsylvania College of Technology, teaching baking and pastry arts since 2005. His awards include a 2023 Hook Award by the Retail Confectioners Association, 2018 Bake Magazine Twenty-five top educator, 2017 Top Ten Pastry Chef in America by Dessert Professional Magazine, and he holds several awards from Penn College, including a Distinguished Teaching Award.  

Niedermyer’s work extends well beyond the campus classroom. His industry experience includes bakeries, chocolate factories, restaurants, hotels, and dining clubs. He is an invited presenter teaching at educational conferences all over the country. He leads production at the Kentucky Derby each year where they cook and bake for tens of thousands of guests. He is a guest instructor for the Department of Food Science at Penn State, lecturing on baking science and product development each year.

Charles has been featured in numerous industry magazines as both a feature and author, including Pastry Arts Magazine, Bake Magazine, Kettle Talk, and Dessert Professional Magazine.

In addition, at this pastry class, Ciril Hitz brought his expertise as a full-time senior instructor at the College of Food Innovation and Technology at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, where he also teaches workshops at his private baking facility in Rehoboth, Massachusetts (Made by Ciril, LLC).

He is a passionate baker, author, and educator with an international reputation and more than 20 years of professional baking and pastry experience. He is a guest instructor/expert at many national and international culinary events and schools and is an active member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America. He has been featured on the NBC Today Show, The Food Network, The Learning Channel, and Ciao Italia. 

Hitz is the author of two books, Baking Artisan Bread and Baking Artisan Pastries and Bread, as well as numerous magazine articles, and is the producer of two DVD series, Bread Art and Better Bread. His baking philosophy embraces both the artistic and technical aspects of bread. 

Milling today

CampBread_Pastry.jpgSource: Sosland Publishing Co.

Exploring different approaches to milling at Camp Bread were presented during an expert session featuring Nicky Giusto of Central Milling, Jill Brockman-Cummings of Janie's Mill, and Andrew Heyn of New American Mills. The session was moderated by master baker, Didier Rosada, who shared that “a lot of things can impact flavor characteristics and the baking process. A century-old crop is in constant evolution. It is very important to stay in touch with new capabilities.”

Giusto is a fourth-generation miller and baker who grew up in the world of bread. In 2013, he won the Grand Prize in the Artisan Baking category at the America’s Best Raisin Bread Baking competition. As a member of Bread Bakers Guild Team USA, he competed in the 2016 Coupe duMonde de la Boulangerie in Paris, in the Baguette and World Breads category. He works for Central Milling Company, developing bread programs and teaching bakers of all levels.

“We source grain from Kansas to Canada and Texas and the West,” Giusto shares. “We work with contract growers who grow specifically for us. Working directly with farmers is super important to us.”

Baking, especially bread, became an important part of Jill Brockman-Cummings life after she spent a year abroad in Luxembourg when in high school, and then a semester abroad in France when in college. That was the beginning of her desire to be part of the good food movement. This desire continued when raising her four daughters in the rural Midwest, surrounded by conventional farms spraying agrichemicals.  So, when her organic farmer neighbor Harold Wilken drove up one day and asked if she like to be a miller at the organic mill he was thinking of building, she jumped on it.

Together Jill and Harold toured other small stone mills across the country, and eventually built Janie's Mill where Jill is Mill Manager. In that capacity she runs our certified organic stone-milling operation where they mill dozens of varieties of grains, many of which are grown just a few miles down the road on Janie’s Farm. She has managed all aspects of Janie’s Mill since its inception over 6 years ago, including strategic planning, day-to-day operations, monitoring quality of grains and milled products, developing new products, and working with both online retail and wholesale customers. She also participates in our regional Artisan Grain Collaborative and other groups to create and strengthen the Midwest Regional Grain Chain. 

New American Stone Mills is the brainchild of Andrew Heyn, co-owner with his wife, Blair Marvin, of Elmore Mountain Bread in Elmore, Vermont, USA. Andrew began building mills out of necessity. He and Blair wanted to ensure that Elmore Mountain Bread could use fresh-milled, locally sourced grain in all of their loaves. They sought to create bread that connected the land, the farmer, the baker, and the community.

When they couldn't find a mill that met their standards, Andrew set out on a mission to design and build a better flour mill that would exceed their needs. He spent months researching, reimagining, designing, and building a new breed of stone mill: one that uses locally quarried Vermont granite to grind grain that keeps its nutritional properties and unique flavor of place. The new mill would feature commonly available motors and mechanical parts for ease of maintenance. Today, their mills reflect the insights and expertise we've gained from decades of working with stone mills in bakery settings. We use the highest quality materials and processes to create functional and beautiful stone mills.

New American Stone Mills heralds the return of a rich milling and time-honored baking tradition. Their bakery, wood-fired oven, and stone mill at Elmore Mountain Bread have become destinations for like-minded bakers: a working model of how any bakery can source grain locally and mill fresh, nutritious flour onsite to produce healthy, delicious bread.

“Our continuing goal is to build a worldwide community of bakers who use only fresh-milled flour in their products, sourcing grain from local farmers, to deliver the fullest nutrition and flavor to their customers,” the New American Stone Mill founder says.

Beyond hummus

Another key workshop at Camp Bread, “Vegan and Vegetarian Umami Bombs for Your Bakery,” was presented by Solveig Tofte, who is co-owner and head baker at Sun Street Breads, a bakery cafe in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to artisan breads and pastries, Sun Street offers sandwiches for breakfast and lunch and runs a raucous weekly pizza night. Solveig has been on baking competition juries around the world and has served on the board of the Bread Bakers Guild of America for over a decade in many capacities. She is committed to sharing artisan baking techniques through education and believes great things happen when bakers come together.

Deli sandwiches are an incredible way to showcase your breads, and an excellent revenue stream by cross-utilizing ingredients and playing around with new kinds of ferments, she shares. As our customers look toward healthy and environmentally friendly options, adding plant-based options to your grab-and-go case is an excellent idea. This demo showcased accessible and practical elements for vegan and vegetarian sandwiches, featuring bright and bold flavors and contrasting textures for any sandwich application.

Formulas included Lemongrass Tofu Skin, Miso Mushrooms, White Bean Spread, Lime Peanut Vinaigrette, Cashew Cream Spread, and Moxie-Inspired Zhoug.

Yeasted Chocolate Pastry 

CampBread_Pastry2.jpgSource; Sosland Publishing Co.

Chocolate is one of the biggest attractions and expenses to any bakery, so finding versatile and appealing ways to cross-utilize it is part of any effective strategy. Josh Johnson from Guittard presented best practices in working with chocolate in yeasted pastry. He explored the impact of cocoa powder selection and how it varies from melted chocolate in yeast doughs.

He showcased several formulas, including Tarte Tropezienne with a cocoa nib craquelin, whipped ganache, and fluid pecan praline as he gives a modern and upscale twist to German Chocolate Cake; and Bi-color New York Roll- Dual colored laminated dough featuring a cocoa laminated layer, orange marmalade spiked with passion fruit and fruited ganache.

Johnson is the pastry chef of Guittard Chocolate Company, the revered San Francisco Bay Area family-owned chocolate maker, where he brings his celebrated craft, artistry and palate in developing new recipes and ideas with Executive Pastry Chef Donald Wressell.

From Cottage to Brick and Mortar

Turning a passion for baking into a business takes time, money and grit. Bakery owners and aspiring home bakers were invited to find out if a bakery storefront is right for your business, explore various business models and begin to learn how to build a successful retail bakery location in a session from the Retail Bakers of America.

This course covered the pros & cons of a physical bakery location, concept development and bakery planning and design.

Attendees learned to examine spatial planning guidelines, municipal codes, and interior design concepts for bakery operations with guest appeal and functionality.

“Start with measurable, tangible statistics, and calculate you space,” advised Marissa Sertich Velie, the certification & education director with the Retail Bakers of America (RBA). She has worked with the RBA since 2017.

Scott Calvert, owner of Tootie Pie Co. in Austin, Texas, and RBA Board President, shared his business experiences from 30-plus years with his company The Cake Plate, designing and creating Austin’s most extravagant wedding cakes, lavish specialty cakes and ornate petite sweets. His involvement with the RBA and participating in baking trade events feeds his passion to share his knowledge with the industry that he loves.

“I love the RBA. It is all about education,” Calvert shares. “We help people not have to reinvent the wheel.”


Attendees of Camp Bread’s “Bakery Equipment Repair and Maintenance” session learned how to best care for your equipment, through preventative maintenance and recognizing common equipment failures, is a critical way for self-advocacy and equipment longevity.

The session covered cleaning schedules, proper equipment usage/training, review manuals, documentation /HR – signed confirmations of training, routine maintenance schedules, and determining and stock critical spare parts.

“What happens when this piece of equipment goes down – what is in your budget for that?” questioned workshop presenter Carl Rinaldi, Erika Record’s parts and service manager. “We try to help the customer know, what are the right questions to ask? We can be your 11th team member. We want to make sure you are not left alone in your time of need.”

The session was led by Rinaldi, Austin Archdeacon, Erika Record’s director of operations, and Randy George, co-owner of Red Hen Baking, based in Middlesex, Vermont,

“We started Red Hen in 1999 and we continue to the present day, making bread that we deliver to most of Vermont and a little bit of New Hampshire,” George shares. These days, half of our business comes from our cafe which serves pastries, sandwiches, soups, salads, bread, and coffee.”

Happy Bakers Bake Better Bread

How can bakers be thoughtful and purposeful as we grow our bakeries? How can we manage our growth without compromising the safety and development of our people or the quality of our products? In this class, Josh Allen of St. Louis-based Companion guided a journey through the shop (mixing to make-up to baking to packaging) and examine steps we can take to increase efficiency and throughput while keeping the things in mind that truly matter.

Allen is the founder of Companion Baking. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, Allen was immersed in the food and baking industry from an early age. His great-grandfather founded Allen Foods, a well-known broadline food distributor with a large customer base across the Midwest. Allen spent much of his childhood delivering groceries to various foodservice operations, cleaning the freezers and sweeping the trucks for his family’s business.

With a dream of opening a baking facility of his own, Allen returned home to St. Louis in 1993 and leased a small corner of a manufacturing facility operated by his family to create Companion Baking. He started with just six breads in Companion’s production line but gradually expanded the business, partnering with local and regional restaurants and grocery chains to build the customized bread programs Companion has become known for.  

“We are a semi-automated bakery. Everything is on wheels and is moved around,” Allen explains. “We have got to keep the train moving every day.”

Today, Companion’s award-winning bread is served in more than 1,000 restaurants, grocery stores, and businesses across the country. Allen credits his success to listening and nimbly adapting to his customers’ wants and needs.

In 2021, Allen created a TEDx Talk titled “Changing our culture by watching our waste” and regularly presents seminars to businesses and trade organizations on culture and sustainability. He also hosts the Baked-In Podcast with Josh Allen which explores insights and values from top leaders across a variety of enterprises.