Zak the Baker: The Enigmatic Artisan Behind Miami's Most Sought-After Sourdough
In many ways, he is a visionary. When Stern began baking here, he hoped to contribute to Miami's culinary scene by providing the city with something it lacked -- great sourdough. He longed to launch a renaissance that would remind people of a time when bread was crafted by hand with only a few ingredients: flour, water, the mother (pre-ferment), and salt.
"I want to remind people of a time when there was still wonder," explains Stern, who also has a passion for jazz, cheese-making, and much simpler times. He thrives on remaining mysterious and keeping his techniques a secret.
That desire also explains why he has shied away from any sort of marketing. In fact, our meeting marked his first exchange with a reporter. "I prefer for the product to speak for itself," he says.
So each Sunday morning at 9:30, Stern arrives at the Pinecrest Farmers' Market with 50 loaves of sourdough and little fanfare. A line quickly forms in front of his stand, and within a few minutes his bread completely sells out. Each loaf retails for $6. He is gone before 10 a.m.
The fan base for Stern's sourdough has gradually spread. His bread is already offered at Michy's and sold at Perricone's Marketplace & Café, the Daily Bread Pinecrest, and Bottega La Dolce Vita in Coral Gables.
As to what else separates him from the rest of the bakers in Miami, I'll leave that answer to Matt Degreff, the local photographer and videographer who created the video below.
In these takes, Degreff captures Zak the Baker for what he truly is: the enigmatic artisan behind Miami's most sought-after sourdough.
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