Night life

Jennifer Lapidus Talks Bread and Baking at Books & Books

Miami native baker, miller, and writer Jennifer Lapidus makes an appearance at Books & Books in Coral Gables on Friday, November 26, to discuss and sign copies of her first book: Southern Ground, Reclaiming Flavor Through Stone-Milled Flour.

With recipes arranged by grain, the book focuses on superior cold stone-milled flour and highlights the importance of baking with locally farmed ingredients.

Published in April, Lapidus’s book features profiles of 20 Southern bakers and 75 recipes, along with instruction and insight into how to use and enjoy geographically distinct flavor-forward flours and locally farmed ingredients.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Jennifer is the granddaughter of Morris Lapidus, the architect behind iconic projects such as the Eden Roc and the Fontainebleau hotels. The author grew up in South Miami. Her passion for bread, she says, was spurred by the aromas wafting from the historic Holsum Bakery, which operated bakeries in South Miami and Medley.

“I am a product of Miami, an incredible place to grow up,” Lapidus tells New Times. ” I don’t know any other place like it. I grew up in the green-market era and I’m proud of the city for becoming a food destination. It was slow to get there and now it’s so exciting. As a baker, I have a relationship with the city that way.”

Lapidus first ventured into the artisanal arena as a college student at the University of Georgia. For nearly 15 years after that, she milled her own flour and baked naturally leavened breads in a wood-fired brick oven at her Natural Bridge Bakery in Asheville, North Carolina. Now she owns and operates Carolina Ground, a flour mill and farmers’ network in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

“Historically, flour was coming from faraway places and industrial mills, which rely on a technology that separates out the bran from the oily germ to ensure longer shelf life, but it also removes the flavor of the flour,” Lapidus explains. “What we found is that we could make bread and pastry that tasted amazing and bring back the community mill. Flour made from locally grown and stone-milled grains allows bakers to move away from that and create sustainable and artisanal products with more intense flavors.”

On Friday, Lapidus will be in conversation with another Miami native, baker Christina Balzebre of Levee Baking Co. in New Orleans, one of the bakeries featured in her book. There will also be cookies to taste.

‘My grandfather left his mark in Miami. I go down and see that that’s my lineage. He inspired me to make my mark the way that I did,” Lapidus notes. “To be able to tell my story, the story of grains and how they affect South Florida, is very important to me. Miami will always be my home.”

Jennifer Lapidus at Books & Books. Friday, November 26, at 6:30 p.m. at 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; 305-442-4408; booksandbooks.

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