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Hot Bread Kitchen

By Judith Hausman, Urban Farm Contributor

Wednesday, July 24, 2011

Hot Bread Kitchen demo booth

Photo courtesy Judith Hausman

The bakers at Hot Bread Kitchen receive commercial baker training, as well as help with English, math and job-placement.

When I last meandered through the Union Square Greenmarket, in New York City, in mid-July, I made two discoveries: First, there were already plums and peaches, and I had hit the brief local apricot season just right. (Bought six, poached them in a little peach liqueur, served ’em with raspberry-lemon pound cake I had made — whoa!) Second, I discovered Hot Bread Kitchen.


Photo courtesy Judith Hausman

Hot Bread Kitchen offers a delectable selection of breads, such as seasonal focaccia topped with produce from local farms.

I was intrigued by the bakers- and business-women-in-training who worked Hot Bread Kitchen’s demo booth that day. (See recipe below.) Started in 2007 by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez, Hot Bread Kitchen “creates professional opportunities for low-income and foreign-born women while preserving baking traditions from around the world.”

The bakers-in-training are paid and receive not only commercial baking training but also help with English, math and job-placement.

A program of small-business “incubation,” with launching support for small food businesses, announced its first class of entrepreneurs this year. If a trainee wants to begin her own business, ongoing supervision, Food Handler certification and business planning are available as well. Hot Bread Kitchen’s offices are in Harlem, N.Y.

And the breads! The handmade tortillas are made with New York State-grown cornmeal that Hot Bread Kitchen grinds itself. Crispy lavash crackers are made with organic, New York State-grown and milled flour, as is the traditional multi-grain loaf. Seasonal focaccia are topped with produce from local farms. A round Sephardic challah is filled with cumin and caraway seeds. The latest bread in its line is buttery m’smen, a Moroccan flatbread, often eaten with honey. Even the simplest whole-wheat roll I sampled had just the right pull and crunch.

Immigrant women are trained and empowered, and their traditions are also valued and honored. The women’s many delicious contributions to the city are celebrated in the wonderful breads at the same time that small businesses and new livelihoods are created. That day at the Greenmarket, finding another visionary organization, which uses food to help people roll up their sleeves and change their lives, made me feel as good as the rosy apricots did.

Recipe: Hot Bread Kitchen Quesadillas


1 package handmade tortillas
4 ounces sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack or other meltable cheese, sliced
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, sliced


Sauté the onion in the oil over low heat until soft but not browned — 15 to 20 minutes. Heat another skillet or griddle and lay one tortilla on it, followed by the cheese slices and a spoonful or two of the onions. Top with a second tortilla and cook about 2 minutes on each side until the cheese has melted. Serve with salsa, sour cream, avocado and chopped cilantro.


Read more of The Hungry Locavore »

Give us your opinion on Hot Bread Kitchen.
Submit Comment »
MMMmmmmm, I can smell the wonderful aroma all the way out here. Kudos to Hot Bread Kitchen!!!
Bruce, Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 9/1/2011 11:43:34 AM
Hey David! You'll be happy to know our next issue, coming out in September, has a recipe for bread you'll love. You don't have to knead it or anything. I hope you try it out and post how it worked out! Thanks for being such a great reader of our blogs.
Urban Farm, Irvine, CA
Posted: 8/30/2011 3:26:35 PM
Try your own bread, David. It's not hard.
Judy, South Salem, NY
Posted: 8/30/2011 9:05:53 AM
Judy, It's great to hear about businesses that teach those in need to make a living while they are earning a living. That's a great concept. Bread is kind of the basic food of life. Don't you think? The hot bread kitchen quesadillas look to be so easy and yet quite delicious. I might just try making one today. Well, I'll be fudging on the handmade tortillas. I guess maybe there're made by some one's hands. Just not mine. Have another great meandering through the market day.
David, Omaha, NE
Posted: 8/25/2011 6:39:19 AM

About the Blogger

Judith Hausman

Judith Hausman
As a long-time freelance food writer, Judith Hausman has written about every aspect of food, but local producers and artisanal traditions remain closest to her heart. Eating close to home takes this seasonal eater through a journey of delights and dilemmas, one tiny deck garden, farmers’ market discovery and easy-as-pie recipe at a time. She writes from a still-bucolic but ever-more-suburban town in the New York City 'burbs.

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