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My name is: Talia Tutak.

My stomping ground is: Brooklyn, NY.

I’m known for being: Founder of Sixteen Mill Bakeshop—fully vegan, 100% gluten-free and refined sugar-free bakery.

I'm talking about: Baked goods that incorporate locally sourced ingredients and are gut-friendly.

You can find it at: Down to Earth Farmers Markets (Park Slope, Greenpoint and Morningside Park), Electric Beets (Park Slope), The Alchemist’s Kitchen (Soho), The Goods Mart (Soho), IXV Coffee (Boerum Hill).

Before I started this work, I was: I graduated from the University of Westminster in London, UK in Bilingual Translation and, before that, I was a primary school teacher. I’ve always loved art, photography and pretty things. Deep down, I knew I wanted to pursue art and create something. I just wasn’t sure which direction to go. They say baking is science, but I think it’s also an art.

My interest was sparked when: I started baking very early, watching my nan creating the most delicious savory dishes and desserts. She was a huge inspiration for me. Also, I’ve always been into DIY projects just like my dad, so I am guessing transitioning from being a translator to baking was only a matter of time. But it all started with bread. I became obsessed with digestibility of bread and its impact on our gut microbiome. Moving to NYC from London, it was impossible to find quality bread at that time. I just couldn’t find anything that would satisfy my tastebuds as well as my gut. Sourdough baking changed the way I think of food and general health. However, I didn’t just stop there. After having many health issues with my digestive system, I decided to start my journey with gluten-free baking incorporating grains that are wheat-free. I wanted to apply the science I already knew to the gluten-free bread to support my own gut health.

The idea behind it is: Our bread is not only good for your digestive system, but it also tastes heavenly. The closest comparison would be one of those beautiful Scandinavian or German dark, whole wheat loaves, but without any wheat, preservatives, gums or commercial yeast. It takes three days to make, from start to finish, and it’s filled with so much love. My dream is to grow our bakery, find a new space and offer more varieties of our bread.

My favorite lesser-known detail is: I don’t think many people realize that all the goods are baked by myself and my partner. We’ve recently had a baby boy and we had to make a big shift at our bakery. So, since April 2022, it’s been just two of us and our fantastic nanny who looks after our boy while we are at the bakery (I am so grateful for her).  This way I can fully control the quality of ingredients and our products. It hasn’t been easy, it never really is, but I truly believe one day all that hard work will pay off and we will be able to build something ever more special.

What it means to me to create something with intention is: Using mostly regional grains, local ingredients. My work is centered on supporting other small businesses by incorporating their beautiful sustainable products into my baked goods. I carefully choose brands and vendors I work with to make sure they are as thoughtful as we are. I also strongly believe in good communication and relationship with our farmers and collaborators. It costs us more, but the satisfaction from creating new connections with likeminded individuals is way more valuable. I always loved supporting small brands and it makes me so happy that I can do that now on a bigger scale—even though my bakery is still very small.

I hope that my customers walk away feeling: As excited as I am each time I bake a fresh batch of our bread or cookies. I post about it a lot on our social media. Every batch always comes out slightly different and that’s because we use quality, raw ingredients—and that’s one of the most beautiful things about gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar-free baking. I hope my customers love everything we make as much as I do. When I hear someone telling me that they haven’t eaten bread for 15 years and they tried mine and loved it, it warms my heart and gives me energy to keep going despite of all the difficulties we face each day as a small business.

The item that I currently can’t live without is: Our holiday tea biscuit box! It’s a treat box of my dreams, featuring all the flavors I love.

It would make a perfect holiday gift because: We all love a good tea biscuit. It’s beautiful, it tastes delicious and it’s good for your gut. A perfect gift for everyone.

The words I live by are:

Healing your body with food is a lifelong process.

One truth that is so important, but people don’t always realize is:

With greater intention comes greater rewards. Also, when you eat, you are not just eating for yourself, but for all the microbes in your gut as well.

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