Interview With Broadway Star Turned Baker, Max Kumangai! Knead to Know #7

Episode 7 of Knead To Know has Broadway star turned baker, Grammy award-winner, and Humpday Dough founder, Max Kumangai! Plus, Waffles & Mochi, Chewy vs. Soft Cookies, and Air Fryers!
Knead to Know #7 with Max Kumangai

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Hi Bold Bakers!

It has been quite an eventful week! This week on Knead To Know, we talk about which appliance might start taking over baking, the chewy vs. crispy cookie debate, and some inspiration for french toast lovers! Speaking of brunch, guess what Michelle Obama ate every day for breakfast until she was 19? I guess you’ll have to stick around to find out!

Grab a cup of coffee or tea, or get baking as Mia Brabham (our host, resident entertainment expert, and focaccia fanatic) goes through the baking news this week and sits down to chat with the super sweet baker and business owner Max Kumangai. Did we mention he’s a Broadway star and the creator of the Black-owned sourdough delivery business, Humpday Dough? How amazing!

The Era of The Air Fryer

Ladies and gentlemen — it seems like air fryers are truly taking over the world! They’re essentially mini convection ovens that simulate deep frying without actually submerging the food in oil. Instead, they circulate hot air with a fan and create a crisp outer layer on the foods you put inside. It uses less oil than deep fryers and cooking times may be reduced by 20% or more.

Convection ovens have been around since 1945, but in 2010, Philips introduced the Airfryer that’s gaining major popularity today — and for a good reason! You can throw almost anything in there, from chicken wings and potato chips to fish and steak, but of course here on Knead to Know, Mia asks the important questions: can you bake in them?! I give her an answer and tell her what I think of them — I just got one myself!

Waffles, Mochi, And Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwiches? 

Former First Lady and now TV executive Michelle Obama appeared on Jimmy Kimmel this week to promote her new children’s culinary show Waffles + Mochi — AND to try to get his six-year-old daughter Jane to eat vegetables! In the process, she revealed that her daughters, Malia and Sasha, have taken up baking during the pandemic AND that she only ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast up until the age of 19!

Mia tells us that she still eats these for breakfast — but it caused a HUGE debate on our team about what are acceptable breakfast foods versus what is not! Let us know — is it? George and Kevin have been watching the show and absolutely adore it so far, so I can’t wait to watch myself… and maybe even have Mrs. Obama on the show?

The Great Debate: Chewy, Soft, or Crispy Cookies?

A tray full of chew chocolate chip cookies from my easy cookie recipe.

It is a good day because there is a LOT happening in cookie news! For springtime, Oreo has brought back two of its newer flavors, Sakura (SAKURA) Matcha and Oolong Peach. The Sakura (SAKURA) Matcha flavor has a pastel-pink, cherry-blossom-flavored cookie with a green matcha filling, and the Oolong Peach flavor has a black oolong tea-flavored cookie with an orange peach-flavored cream. 

Those cookies only available in Hong Kong right now, but something that IS available in the US is the new ready-to-eat Pillsbury Soft Baked Cookies. It’s the first time that Pillsbury will be in the cookie aisle, and the flavors include chocolate chip, confetti, sugar with drizzled icing, and peanut butter with chocolatey drizzle. 

All this cookie talk had Mia thinking about one thing: TEXTURE! Do you prefer soft or crispy cookies? Is there a difference between soft and chewy cookies? Listen to hear what I have to say about which are the BEST cookies… at least in my expert opinion. *Wink*

Baking Is Bouncing Back!

Who’s in need of some good news, John Krazinski style?! Well I have some for you: experts say baking is back! According to the American Bakers Association (ABA), the US market for baked goods was strong in 2020 overall. Unit sales have had positive growth in the commercial bakery aisle since 2018 and 2019 — which was mostly me buying heaps of flour! As far as in-store bakery, unit sales were initially negatively impacted, dropping by TWENTY THREE POINT THREE 23.3% from 2019. But our little friend, data, shows that a REBOUND is already beginning for in-store bakery unit sales in the fourth quarter of 2020! Bakers are expecting long-term increased production as a result. Yay baking!

French Toast Frenzy

It seems like we can’t escape Tik Tok these days, and that’s because baking creators on that platform just keep delivering. Brunch is really big right now on Tik Tok, and we’ve seen a huge uptick in french toast creations. There’s Vanilla Chai French Toast, Nutella-Stuffed Coffee French Toast, Cinnamon French Toast Bake, and so much more Mia felt like her head was going to fall off! I mean, have you ever scrolled down Tik Tok? I did for the first time and it was… a lot. You just keep scrolling! I also give away my number one secret on how to make the best-ever french toast — you don’t want to miss that!

At The Counter with Broadway Star and Humpday Dough Creator, Max Kumangai 

Max Kumangai holding a sourdough loaf.

Sugar, butter, flour. This week, our host Mia Brabham sat down with Max Kumangai, who starred in Waitress The Musical and Jagged Little Pill (yes, he’s a GRAMMY winner!) on Broadway and is New York’s latest baking bombshell! He created the Black-owned sourdough delivery business, Humpday Dough, at the beginning of the pandemic to stay connected to his community through baking.

Now, his bread is in the hands of people all across New York — including Sara Bareilles herself! Mia and Max talk about the pies he’s baked from Waitress The Musical, the parallels between music and baking, and the power of personalization when it comes to making bread and connecting with customers — who are people going through this time, just like him. He’s a true inspiration and testament to the fact that you can start baking at any age and at any time. Plus, his voice is as smooth as the butter! Listen to the whole interview with Max Kumangai to be totally inspired.

Until next week — Subscribe & download wherever you listen to podcasts!

Check Out Knead To Know‘s Other Season 1 Episodes

If you loved this interview with Joanne Chang, you’ll love these recent episodes:

Watch The Recipe Video!

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.


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