How Baking Your Own Bread Can Help Change the World

Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week is The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez and the bakers of Hot Bread Kitchen (Clarkson Potter).


Hot Bread Kitchen, the social enterprise Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez founded in New York City in 2008, was born out of a love of food and passion for social justice. “To create good food and good jobs for women who really need it was just an irresistible combination for me,” explains Rodriguez.

Seven years later, Hot Bread Kitchen has grown tremendously. The Bakers in Training program offers nine months of paid, on-the-job training, including baking lessons, professional development, and job placement for women from diverse backgrounds and cultures, while Hot Bread Kitchen Incubates provides commercial kitchen space and business support to food entrepreneurs. Hot Bread Kitchen products are distributed throughout the Tri-State area and some are even available nationwide. But the next major goal is geographic expansion. More Hot Bread Kitchen products are being made available for online purchase and within the next two years, Rodriguez and her team will be replicating what’s worked so well in New York in cities around the country.


M’smen (Photograph: Jennifer May)

Another part of the expansion is The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook. The book features recipes for many of Hot Bread Kitchen’s most popular breads, such as M’smen, Nan-e Qandi, Tortillas, and Traditional Onion Bialys. You’ll also find dishes to serve with the various breads, all straight from the homes of Hot Bread Kitchen bakers. This second batch of recipes includes beef and potato curry to serve with whole wheat chapatis, and doro wat, an Ethiopian braised chicken dish to go with 100% Teff Injera. Rodriguez even included her family’s own gefilte fish, perfect for enjoying with matzo.

One of Rodriguez’s favorite chapters is devoted to uses for leftover bread, which is something Hot Bread Kitchen is constantly asked about. “Some people are really worried about bread going stale,” says Rodriguez. “Our bakers have solved all the problems about what to do with leftover bread because we always have a ton.” Along with Tres Leches Bread Pudding with Mexican Chocolate Sauce, a use for day-old Challah, and Winter Panzanella, a way to finish up leftover ciabatta, there’s a recipe for homemade seasoned bread crumbs and chilaquiles, which is hands-down the best use for leftover tortillas.


Nan-e Qandi (Photograph: Jennifer May)

While Hot Bread Kitchen has a loyal fan base in New York — look for their breads at Whole Foods Markets and Dean and Deluca as well as Greenmarket stands, and Hot Bread Almacen, their storefront in Spanish Harlem — their expansion requires getting the word out. The cookbook means people all around the world can make New Yorker rye, coconut buns, and other fabulous breads in their own home, but Rodriguez has a larger goal in mind: “We’re hoping to reach a different audience and tell the stories of our successes and the successes of our graduates to a wider audience.”

Visit Yahoo Food throughout the week for recipes from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook (Clarkson Potter).

Check out other cookbooks from Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week:

My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl

Grandbaby Cakes by Jocelyn Delk Adams

My Pantry by Alice Waters