As a child growing up in Portland, OR, my dream was to become a shoe designer. And, after graduating from the Pratt Institute in New York with a degree in fashion design, I became just that—a high-end Women's Shoe Designer. Breaking into the difficult industry and eventually forming my own successful company.
After my marriage and relocation to Tokyo, Japan, I became involved in the manufacturing for Buster Brown children's shoes and several other lines. But, it was my time in Paris that introduced me to baking the European way and inspired me to transition into baking.
In 1980 I opened a bakery in Bend, OR. I didn't hire trained bakers, instead I wanted to train my own staff to bake my way. I sought out employees with a passion for baking and a willingness to learn and follow formulas.
In 1983, after three years in business, I had to shut the doors to my beloved bakery, "Breads of France", due to debilitating hand problems. I was no longer able to teach and work, it felt like such a failure. I was devastated.
In 1986, I opened the International School of Baking completely by accident. I had been asked to work for US Wheat Associates, teaching bread baking in China, Macau and Hong Kong. During one of my early trips someone in the Chinese government decided they would send six students to my School in Bend Oregon. No matter how hard I tried to tell them that I did not have an actual school, they insisted and sent the students to "my school".
The group first arrived and traveled to Pendleton, Oregon; where they visited a flour mill. One of the students tried to defect at the local police station. He was told that it was not a good place to do this, as they didn't have the necessary forms.
Next stop was in Bend, where the would be defector was told to try Los Angeles—"Los Angeles is THE place to apply," they said.
I was afraid that if this got out, I would be deluged by students wanting to defect to the US! One gentleman did eventually immigrate to the US.
I continued to design shoes until 2000. I traveled to Korea for my shoe designing and manufacturing business and from there on to China to teach bread Baking. I made more than 40 trips over a 14 year period. I went to China to teach and in turn, China taught me even more.
Without the modern technology, equipment and "good" ingredients; the challenge was to teach bakers and educators how to create good, nutritious finished products in massive quantities.
The best lesson I learned was to have no mistakes at 3 tons. An oops at 3 tons is hard to dispose of. Second lesson I learned is that all flour is not equal and to check for protein content before trying to make bread out of noodle flour!
Today, I proudly host passionate baking students at my school in lovely Bend, Oregon. Each student that passes through my doors gets a unique and personalized learning experience.
International School of Baking
1971 NW Juniper Street
Bend, OR 97703
What Our Clients Are Saying
“I have been taking classes from Marda Stoliar for 18 years and have enjoyed every one of them. Some classes I have even taken twice! Over the years I have learned so much about breads, pastries, cakes, tarts, English muffins, bagels, and numerous other baked and chocolate goodies." Continue Reading From Lois Johnson (USA)