Modernist Bread with Chef Francisco Migoya

Bread is a thread of civilization.  Over the past four years, Chef Francisco Migoya has led his team of experts at Modernist Cuisine to create a five volume plus recipe book weighing a total of 53 pounds that explores the past, present and future of bread.  With over 1200 recipes and 1500 experiments, Chef Migoya and his team didn’t leave any loaf unturned in documenting the art and science of combining four ingredients: Flour, Water, Salt and Yeast.  Even Chef Migoya was surprised by the variety of recipes and outcomes that four key ingredients can produce.  There are still 600 recipes that aren’t included in Modernist Bread.

Chef Francisco Migoya

To reconstruct bread recipes from previous centuries, Chef Migoya and his team studied paintings throughout history.  Pompeii featured a lot of bread in art, and a treasured heirloom now owned by Modernist Cuisine’s kitchen is an antique bread stamp from Pompeii.  Although we might romanticize the bread of olden days, Chef Migoya is emphatic in his scientific research that bread is better today than it ever was and that the future of bread will be even better.

Modernist Bread. Used with permission. Copyright Modernist Cuisine.

Some surprising discoveries include the fact that the location of water doesn’t make a difference in the taste of bread and that even applies to New York City bagels.  Chef Migoya says, “Technique matters more and any water will work.  If you can drink the water, you can use it to make bread.”  This premium resource on baking bread is the perfect gift for the home chef.

To make bread at home, Chef Migoya recommends four pieces of equipment for your kitchen: “For less than $100, you can make great bread at home.”


  1. Rectangular or square tub to mix the dough.  It makes the four edge fold much easier.
  2. Scale.  Volume and teaspoon measures aren’t as effective and precise for making bread.
  3. Digital thermometer The temperature of the dough matters when you mix. And to know when bread is done.  Baked bread is ready between 200 and 208 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Cast iron pot.  Even if you have a terrible oven, cast iron will create beautiful bread.  It reduces air by 90% and conducts heat with steam.

What are your favorite types of bread to make?  

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