Zak the Baker: The Enigmatic Artisan Behind Miami's Most Sought-After Sourdough

Categories: Musings
zak the baker.jpeg
Matt Degreff
Zak Stern (center) and two apprentices at his Miami bakery
Tall, slender, and dressed in plaid trousers held up by dark suspenders, Zak Stern of Zak the Baker more closely resembles a character out of a 1930s film than an artisan baker in South Florida.

But there's nothing insincere about his appearance, or his fervent dedication to the craft of sourdough bread. In fact, his bread has developed a mystical aura, attributed to a cloak of mystery that he intentionally maintains.

Stern was raised in Miami before he went on to study pharmacology. Midway through his studies, though, he found himself overcome with a yearning to create something with his hands, to make something that brought joy to others.

"What if people always did what makes them happy?" he questions, reflecting on the decision that led him to change paths. Stern then quit his studies and departed on a journey through Europe, apprenticing with numerous cheese makers and bakeries for about five years. He hopped around Italy and France, moving from one organic farm to the next.

In February 2012, Stern returned to Miami and began baking at home. He then opened a small spot with a single oven and starting taking in apprentices from Israel, Italy, and elsewhere abroad. He set up a work-trade bakery, where young bakers exchange food and board for the opportunity to learn the craft of true artisanal baking.

At his headquarters, bread is made completely by hand, and the process for a single loaf takes a total of 20 hours. Stern doesn't own a mixer. The bakery is not even open to the public.

Location Info

Venue

Map

Michy's

6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Perricone's Marketplace & Cafe

15 SE 10th St., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

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3 comments
www.miamicurated.com
www.miamicurated.com

I was one of those people at Pinecrest market who arrived too late and had been searching for his bread. Finally bought a loaf at Perricone's yesterday, which sells the fig and rye, multigrain and roasted potato. Pure heaven. In my book, the best bread in Miami. And Emily, congrats on a good piece of reporting. I'm going to reference your writeup in my blogpost.

Firaz
Firaz

They need to put on shirts before messing with that dough. Hygiene? Yuh- huck.

Frank Castle
Frank Castle

he needs to bring his bread more towards the west side of miami (miami lakes)

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