Born & Bread Bakehouse | Lakeland, Florida
Got her start: Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market
A bite of “life-changing” sourdough while on her honeymoon in Paris was moving enough to put Florida native Jennifer Smurr on a new path. Its slight tang and a tender interior under a crackly crust revealed an artistry and creative effort that inspired her to bake. “It was really a rebirth,” she says. “I’d been modeling, but also trying to find what I was really meant to do, and that bread motivated me to make something for others.”
Within days of being back home in Lakeland, she left modeling behind and moved to Miami for a three-month baking apprenticeship. The early mornings and long days didn’t weaken the pull first felt in France where she savored the taste of that transformative bread. She went back to Lakeland, found a commissary kitchen to bake in, and started hauling baskets of bread (and later pastries) to the Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market in March 2015. There, between vegetable stands and jars of jams and pickles, her treats and welcoming nature quickly gained a group of Saturday morning regulars who swapped stories, advice, and encouragement with Jennifer.
These loyal customers still feel like family. With their support, she opened her stand-alone bakery before the year was out. Although she is busy with the hungry crowds lining up 100 deep for her breads, Danish, flavored croissants, and all kinds of cruffins, she keeps her spot at the market. “Being there after a long week reinvigorates me,” she says. “The community and collaboration are energizing.”
Known for: Cruffins, croissant-muffin hybrids that are often filled with flavored pastry cream, custards, or fruit.