Daniel Leader


Opportunities and challenges in scaling handcrafted bread production

Over the 37 years since Bread Alone was founded with a small mixer, a few wooden stackable proofing boxes, and a wood fired oven the company has grown bit by bit over the years and today employs more than 200 and produces more than 25,000 of certified organic breads daily.In this talk I’ll share the lessons and challenges we’ve encountered scaling up. We continually strive to find the balance between handwork and machines that ease some of the hard work without compromising the products we make. We recently became a certified climate-neutral bakery and I'll share our goal to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Daniel Leader studied philosophy at the University of Wisconsin and went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America. After working in some of New York City’s top kitchens, he left the restaurant world to learn the art of baking bread. A pioneer in the wilderness Leader opened Bread Alone bakery in 1983 in Boiceville, N.Y.  In 1993, he published Bread Alone an IACP winner. His 2011 book Local Breads again won the IACP award. His latest book Living Bread won the James Beard award. Dan has taught at the Culinary Institute of America and the Institute for Culinary Education. He has consulted widely and open 2 micro bakeries in shipping containers in South Africa in orphanages. He recently retired to Castine, Maine, and his son Nels Leader is now CEO of Bread Alone.