Meet Our Third Annual 2018 Baker’s Dozen

 

Illustration by Larissa Tomlin

The Instagram Star
Lauren Ko
Pie Artist | Seattle, Washington 

Lauren Ko’s high-concept pie design is the kind of viral phenomenon we can get behind. Lauren launched her pie-focused Instagram account in late August 2017 with a modest 200 followers. Now, she is well over the 177,000 mark, and her avant-garde creations have been featured by everyone from Vogue and BuzzFeed to local Seattle news outlets. Lauren recently decided to pursue a career in pie full-time and continues to share her colorful and geometric creations on Instagram.

Lauren breaks down how to create her signature “spoke” crust design, the first “string art” inspired pie she posted, which remains her favorite to date.

Photo by Danielle Elliott

Step 1: While the filled bottom crust rests in the refrigerator, roll out dough to create the lattice. Use a ruler and a rolling pastry cutter to cut dough into thin strips. (The golden rule for pie baking is to keep everything cool at every step. Try to handle your dough minimally. If it starts to get warm, pop it back into the refrigerator.)

Step 2: Place a round ring cutter in the center of the pie to use as a point of reference. Layer dough strips around the ring mold until the surface of the pie is covered.

Step 3: Remove the ring mold, fill the center with more fruit, and then stick the pie in the refrigerator to chill for an hour or two before baking. Make sure it’s thoroughly chilled before you bake to ensure the design will stay intact while baking.

Illustration by Larissa Tomlin

The Bread Revivalist
Graison Gill
Owner of Bellegarde Bakery | New Orleans, Louisiana 

Most people associate New Orleans bread with the long French bread loaves perfect for a po’ boy; Graison Gill of Bellegarde Bakery would like them to look deeper—all the way back to the dawn of New Orleans. In the early 1700s, dark-crusted, earthy loaves of bread, hearth-baked and hand-milled from local grains, were the order of the day. The secret to this Old World-style bread lies in baking with the regional ingredients, the same materials that were on hand 300 years ago.

Photo by James Ownes

Graison is a fanatic for using local resources, whether its salt mined from nearby Avery Island or heirloom wheat grown in-state. The latter ingredient has proven to be a unique obstacle. Louisiana’s agriculture is dominated by commercial cash crops, and investing in better-quality wheat requires more support than one artisan bakery can give. Graison hopes to jumpstart change with a two-pronged agenda, focusing on bettering education and research—in the form of a partnership with Louisiana State University’s agricultural school—and facilitating greater government aid toward farming heirloom grains. It’s a long road ahead, but as is the case with most other crusaders, Graison’s dogged obsession is our gain.

Illustration by Larissa Tomlin

The Healer
Julie Jones
Cookbook Author | Carlisle, England

Baking is a source of comfort to many—a tool to combat anxiety, stress, and even depression. In that regard, Julie Jones’s story is a common one: a woman who made baking her refuge while she dealt with her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s. What she discovered when she began baking with her mom changed the narrative. For Julie’s mother, baking—kneading dough, whipping cream, stirring thick batter—became a form of muscle memory. “It was a complete transformation. She was relaxed and happy, so relieved to be involved in something she could understand and be helpful with. It was unbelievably natural.” Julie shares this therapeutic journey on her Instagram feed and in her cookbook, Soulful Baker (Jacqui Small, 2017). As Julie well knows, baking is not a cure for Alzheimer’s. There are many forms of healing, though, and sharing joy with a fading loved one, however small or fleeting the moment, is worth many a medical miracle.

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