A Fork on the Road

He traded banking for baking to make a different kind of dough at Miami Beach’s True Loaf


If you go

Place: True Loaf

Address: 1894 Bay Rd., Miami Beach

Contact: 305-775-2831

Hours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily

Prices: Bread $9.60-$11.50, croissants $3.75-$4.75, pastries $1.50- $4.25


Besitos de Coco (Coconut Kisses)

This Venezuelan treat, adapted from latinrecipesabout.com, is a cross between cookie and crumble, and while not sold at the bakery is easy to make at home.

3 cups unsweetened coconut shreds or flakes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 egg yolks

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter, softened

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. In a bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients into dough. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls. Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes until golden. Makes about 24 cookies.

Per cookie: 119 calories (59 percent from fat), 8 g fat (6.7 g saturated, 0.7 g monounsaturated), 32 mg cholesterol, 1.5 g protein, 10.6 g carbohydrate, 1.8 g fiber, 11 mg sodium.

Open three months, Miami Beach’s True Loaf bakery seems transplanted from vintage Paris with whitewashed wood shelves, flour sacks in the window and a pressed tin ceiling.

Racks near the front counter display croissants, Brittany-style kouign-amann (caramelized puff pastry) topped with sea salt, sugar and lime curd, currant scones, and brioche buns. Sourdough breads rotate daily.

Owner-baker Tomas Strulovic grew up in Caracas with and American mother and a Czech father who survived the Holocaust and landed in Venezuela. Tomas studied economics at Brandeis University, then earned an MBA in corporate finance from the University of Rochester.

He left a banking job to attend the French Culinary Institute while working in restaurants, Then moved to Miami where he was a partner at Cacao and did a stint at Azul. He had a feel for dough and took classes at the San Francisco Institute of Baking, where he fell in love with tangy sourdough and found his calling.

Each day there are three breads to choose from baked between 4 and 8 a.m. in an Italian steam-injected deck oven. There’s country; whole wheat; multigrain with rolled oats and sunflower, flax and sesame seeds; chocolate chunk; olive; walnut and cherry pecan.

Sourdough bread is leavened by a starter containing natural yeasts and acids. They create enzymes that pre-digest some of the grains to create tiny pockets of gas, resulting in natural rising — the way bread was made for centuries. The process also breaks down proteins into amino acids, making the bread easier to digest.

For a perfect start or end of to the day, try a slice of syrup-soaked whole wheat spread with bitter orange marmalade and frangipane almond cream baked into bostock at this welcome newcomer.

Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who can be reached at lbb75@bellsouth.net.

Miami Herald

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