I'm the red high-top converse, head scarf wearing pastry chef behind Milk Bar. From Compost Cookies to B'day Truffles to Crack Pie, we've been turning the traditional bakery on its head since 2008. You may also know me from Chef's Table: Pastry and MasterChef Jr. Milk Bar turned 10 TODAY and I'm here to reminisce and answer all your BURNING questions ...

Hungry yet? I got you - visit www.milkbarstore.com for locations and nationwide shipping. Find out the latest Milk Bar news by following @milkbarstore

Looking for a digi-pen pal? Sign up for my Beyond Baking Mailer at christinatosi.com.

Proof: https://i.redd.it/2g1l1zectby11.jpg

EDIT: Sorry I didn't get to all the questions! Thanks for all the love. Catch my weekly mailer at www.christinatosi.com for more, but for now, I'm about to go crush a cake slide (if you don't know, you better ask somebody) ✌️

Comments: 148 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

loveisdead43 karma

Can you describe the feeling you get when you have a flavor idea in your mind but can't quite get it right when you are building a recipe? I'm curious about how you handle the creative process and manage the obsession with getting it right.

Christina_Tosi44 karma

AH! it's frustrating and thrilling all at once. It's when I drive my team the most crazy, for sure because I send us off in a whirlwind of directions trying to capture the flavor on a spoon!

It takes a relentlessness, and an unreasonable about of patience to try to find words into what you want to describe as a bite. IT also takes a KILLER team that knows how to translate my crazy tasting comments into reality!

meatbomb42 karma

Hi Christina! After watching your segment on Chef's Table I realized you're a very passionate and driven person. When you're not out there kicking ass, how do you like to unwind?

Bonus question, would you ever go skydiving?

Christina_Tosi28 karma

I love to run, to travel, to wander around the city with music or my hubs or a friend. I love disappearing into the movie theatre or a great book. A great day trip/road trip is always my dream day to unwind.

I have a gift certificate to go sky diving-- it's on the list for 2019-- it WILL happen!

smash_n_crash37 karma

What’s your opinion on the excessive, instagramable desserts like freakshakes?

And what unpopular junk food do you stand by?

Christina_Tosi81 karma

Flavor over fuss!

I love me a sour cream & onion kettle cooked potato chip, peanut m&ms and cool ranch doritos!

sonichedghog32 karma

Hi Christina, I'm a big fan of yours ever since visiting your Milk Bar in both NYC and Vegas (since getting your book I've tried my hand at your birthday cake recipe and I did OK!).

You mention in your book that you would bake daily and that helped you become a hard body. How in the world did you manage to stay skinny while baking that much?! Also what piece of advice would you give to someone who is much more comfortable cooking than baking but trying to get better?

Christina_Tosi33 karma

I'm a big runner-- I love being on my feet and bouncing around, so it's easy to balance eating dessert! Plus, dessert is meant to be shared-- I'd bring every plate of cookies or batch of brownies somewhere! (also, I can't go to bed unless all the dessert is consumed, so it's a self preservation tactic!)

Try, try try. The only way you'll get better and more comfortable is by doing. Practice makes perfect...!

mrs-morris28 karma

Hi Christina! First of all - congrats on 10 years and all of your successes! It's so well-deserved and you should be unabashedly proud of yourself.

My questions: 1. So far I have made two of your cakes (and plan to make Crack Pie for T-Day!), but I felt like the crumbs on my mint cookie cake were way too salty, although I thought I followed your All About Cake recipe to every detail. Where could I have gone wrong? Are they supposed to be salty?

  1. What's your favorite non-Milk Bar cake?

  2. After Crack Pie, what should I bake next?

P.S. I visited your new Los Angeles store last weekend, and loved it. The staff are so friendly and great! And that Turkey studded croissant was heavenly. Congrats again!

Christina_Tosi65 karma

Mrs Morris!

  1. The saltiness in your chocolate crumbs likely has to do with the type of cocoa powder, butter and salt you used, then how you measured. We use a super intense Valrhona cocoa powder, unsalted butter and kosher salt, and measure with a gem scale for upmost precision. If you use a lighter cocoa powder and or salted butter and/or table salt scale down on salt to nail a better balance!
  2. Gooey Butter Cake (even though technically it's a bar, there's CAKE in the name!!)
  3. Apple Pie Layer Cake-- perfect for this season!

PS- Thank You for all the support!

elgge20 karma

Congratulations Christina! I am a huge fan of browsing your Instagram feed when I’m starving. Where do you get your ideas for new creations from and who are your usual first taste testers? Thanks!

Christina_Tosi18 karma

Ideas come from all over! Usually a day off or a trip where I stare out the window of a plane or smell something familiar somewhere that I want to capture. Browsing through old cookbooks is always a good idea starting place, too.

My hubs, my sis or my friends are usually the first taste testers! They are unapologetically honest:)

edrom4118 karma

Would it be okay to heat up a crack pie slice for 15-30 secs in a microwave or should it be eaten cold only?

Also please make a Milk Bar shirt!

Christina_Tosi38 karma

I love eating it cold but I know PLENTY of people who swear by eating it warm. IT's your slice, so I say eat it however you like!

Shirt, got it!

tacobelley17 karma

[deleted]

Christina_Tosi21 karma

OMG only if you cater Taco Bell every Friday Night!

gobuckyTX16 karma

Christina - thanks so much for doing this today! Have loved watching your success and eating your delicious pastries.

Two questions - 1. Where can I buy the “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my cake” mug and “it’s not even your birthday” lighters on milk bar’s Instagram?

  1. If you had to eat one thing everyday for a year, what would it be?

Christina_Tosi22 karma

  1. Lighters and Mugs in Milk Bar LA (we're considering putting the mug online, too!)
  2. Cheese Pizza- hands down!

Thanks for the posi vibes-- love me some TEXAS!

Pigonthewing1216 karma

Hey Christina. Thank you so much for doing this. You’re baking recipes are my absolute favorite and I cannot wait to pickup your new book. My question for you. I have been cooking and baking my whole life. I have always wanted to open a bakery of my own. What’s your best advice for getting started?

Christina_Tosi28 karma

Go work for someone else that has a bakery and get your hands dirty to gain experience!

pourdubeurre14 karma

Hi Christina,

Congrats on the milestone! Here are my questions:

  • What is your least favourite desert?
  • From chef's stable I understand you love 'junk' food, what is your favourite one?
  • What is one pastry skill you believe you can improve?
  • What is one thing you want to master?

Stay Glorious!

Christina_Tosi26 karma

Hi Hi!

  1. Anything with Star Anise and/or Booze in it-- they just don't speak to my belly in a baked good.
  2. Cool Ranch Doritoes
  3. I'm always working on my patience :) ...and my creme brûlée:)
  4. The NY Times Crossword Puzzle

Megtownxx13 karma

Hi Christina, huge fan and fellow NoVA OG!

Is there a flavor combo you’re currently crushing on?

Christina_Tosi24 karma

white chocolate/pretzel/pb

NoVA! YES!

vickkyyz12 karma

When are you bringing back the Fruity Pebbles cereal milk?!? I know I can make it at home, but yours was so much better. 😩😩😩

seejaysullivan8 karma

It's back right now for the 10th anniversary!

Christina_Tosi19 karma

YESSS! we're keeping it on another week because you all are going so CRAY! AND you can order it with fruity cereal crunch!!!!!!!!

Chtorrr12 karma

What is the very best cheese?

Christina_Tosi19 karma

Depends on my mood.

Swiss Cheese in a sammy.

String cheese on the go.

Gorgonzola Dolce with a spoon :)

ZeroCardinality11 karma

Hi Christina,

I wanted to ask about the process you go through when coming up with a new recipe. How much trial and error goes into developing a new cake, how you think about using different ingredients, things like that. You talked about the inspiration for cereal milk ice cream and so on in the Chef's Table episode, but I was just curious what happened afterwards -- how many batches of cereal milk did you make before you reached on one you were happy with?

As a statistician who grew up watching Good Eats, I've been really interested in the analytical side of cooking and thinking about "food science", so I was just wondering how you apply your analytic side when you bake.

Thanks!

(Oh also, I would love to get a signed copy of your book -- what would be the best way to get one?)

Christina_Tosi16 karma

We never know how long it will take to develop a recipe.

The cereal milk hasn't changed in years and I got it on the first try.

The birthday cake on the other hand...2 years. WOOF.

We typically have a good idea, start to execute and even when we *think* we've got it, I like to push on salt, pull on sugar, try a little extra baking soda, powder, flour, flavor, etc to understand the boundaries before we commit to a "bullseye"

We sell signed copies at all our stores and online milkbarstore.com

Thanks for the support and curiosity!

lyndz879 karma

Hi! I'm a newer fan of yours and Milk Bar after watching your Chef's Table episode earlier this year, and now, I can't get enough! I love baking as a hobby (especially any kind of cookies!) so I'm wondering what your best advice is for aspiring bakers like me? Thank you!

Christina_Tosi13 karma

Thanks for the love!

My advice is to bake every day-- the more you bake, the better you get. Start with technique and science, then get creative and start to listen for your own voice.

Good Luck!

i1ovethat9 karma

Hi Christina Tosi! I loved you on Chef's Table. I am hoping to make the crack pie soon but first I had to try the real thing and we ordered it with the no shipping special and just got it today! I don't know if I can wait until my husband gets home to dig into it. :) my question is if you're looking at opening a location in phoenix?

Christina_Tosi11 karma

You can always order him his own-- you have until tomorrow to get free shipping :)

Wanna run our store in Phoenix :)

ditzymeg9 karma

Hi Christina! I loved your Chef's Table and I had been playing around with recipes of yours before your book was published (I can't wait to pick it up). Congrats as well on 10 years! I love messing with the recipes, and I was wondering if cooking by weight, is there a scale that you recommend? Also,how do you keep your marshmallows from melting when cooking your Cornflake Marshmallow cookies? I've changed temperatures, where the sheet is on the rack, etc. and I always end up with a kind of sugar crisp.

Christina_Tosi14 karma

Thanks mama!

I adore my OXO scale. I also have a gem scale (easily found on amazon that measures to the .000) for super duper small quantities.

The marshmallows should always melt a tiny bit-- toss them in a little bit of cornstarch if they're giving you trouble-- you GOT this!

Calikola8 karma

I had the same issue with the Cornflake Marshmallow cookies! I'd love an answer to this one because it's my favorite Milk Bar cookie.

Edit: spelling

Christina_Tosi12 karma

If you're experiencing a ton of spreading-- you gotta beat the heck out of the butter/sugar/egg mixture for 10 mins total. (talking unreasonably HIGH!) Freeze before baking if you're still having spreading issues. And if you're STILL struggling to get those cookies to behave, sneak in 2 Tbsp of extra flour-- they will still taste as delicious, it may just be butter/altitutde/humidity/TMI!!!

ditzymeg6 karma

I gained 4 pounds over a long weekend on the mistakes. The troubleshooting process was just SO hard.

Christina_Tosi7 karma

ha! I feel you girl! I used to be able to crush 2 of those as my 6am breakfast 10 years ago (wo)manning the ovens!

Calikola3 karma

Lol! You're a girl after my own heart. I started bringing my creations into work so I wouldn't be tempted to eat them all. I've done the crack pie, birthday layer cake, corn cookies, compost cookies, confetti cookies, cornflake marshmallow cookies, and I recently did the slow-cooker apple cider donut pudding from her new book. I'm attempting to tackle the apple pie layer cake for Thanksgiving and I'm definitely a little intimidated because it looks more complicated than the birthday layer cake.

Christina_Tosi2 karma

It's a tad more complicated, but really all about the prep-- set yourself up the day before with the elements and the layer will be a breeze!

RakoGumi7 karma

Hi Christina,

I’ve got to know about you when I moved to NYC about 4 years ago, I love all your Milk recipes as I can really feel/taste the passion in every bite I take. So thank you (I guess) for converting a savoury guy into a super sweet tooth!

Here are my questions:

  • What is your all time favourite desert, and how often do you eat/make it?
  • If, professionally, you could be anything, what you be?
  • When you wanted to give up what kept you going?
  • What advice would you give a 30 something years old, who is seriously contemplating a big career move to become a chef?
  • Lastly how can I get a copy of your book signed (I live in Belgium) :)?

Thank you and keep on rocking!

Christina_Tosi10 karma

Hi Hi!

  1. My grandma's oatmeal cookies- I like to undertake them, or eat the dough most of the time, approx 1 once a week:)
  2. Probably a truck driver! I love to hit the open road, and love a good old fashioned cross-country road trip!
  3. I asked myself the simple question "what do you want" and until I stop answering "bake! feed! eat!" I think I'll keep going!
  4. Stage at a bakery or restaurant for a month-- that's the best way to test your passion in the industry
  5. Email [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) and we'll ship it to you!

almondparfitt5 karma

hi christina, any new recipes or creations that you're working on that we should be on the look out for? thank you!

Christina_Tosi6 karma

We've got some KILLER holiday recipes that hit stores Dec 1...!

cuestaSV383 karma

Happy 10 year!!! If you could pick one other specific food/cuisine, etc to specialize in, what would it be and why?

Christina_Tosi7 karma

Sandwiches! I make a MEAN sandwich. IT's essentially my savory outlet to my crazy layer cake theories!

Calikola3 karma

Hi Christina! Two questions:

  1. I’m making your apple pie cake for Thanksgiving. I noticed the cakes sold at Milk Bar stores are served on a cake round, but your recipes don’t mention cake rounds. Do you think it’s better if I use one, since I’ll be traveling with it (only a short distance)? Not sure what the pros and cons are.

  2. When I made the birthday layer cake, I did have trouble getting the icing layers smooth, even with a bent spoon, because of the crumb layer. Any tips? Like would it help if I piped the frosting instead of spreading it?

Thanks and looking forward to taking your class in Brooklyn in a few weeks!

Christina_Tosi6 karma

HI HI!

  1. A platter will be a nicer presentation! We use cardboard rounds for eco friendly transportability- there's no specific benefit otherwise! (otherwise we'd be chasing cake platters we need back all over the us)
  2. If you warm your frosting up a tad-- whip it longer or warm the cream cheese and butter-- it will make your frosting more spread-friendly. Otherwise a piping bag will do great!

You're going to have a BLAST in class!

mamajamapb3 karma

Hi Christina,

Congratulations! I have loved following your truly inspiring story :)

I have always loved to bake and when people ask me what I want to do, I say owning my own bakery, and laugh it off knowing it's such a crazy thing to want to do. Now, a few years into my career, I have been working in advertising at a few companies and when I ask people in the industry for advice. the always ask "well what do you want to do? What do you enjoy?" And I want to respond "baking!", when they're really expecting me to say something advertising related.

I would love some advice around how to jump start a baking career.

Also, are there any crucial baking techniques that would be best to master first?

Thank you!

Christina_Tosi5 karma

I'd suggest working for a bakery you admire first to get a sense of what the ENTIRE world of a bakery looks like. Maybe a bakery that sells online is your vibe, in which case I'd reco the same thing.

Techniques for baking really come down to what type of bakery you're passionate about opening. I'd reco BIZ techniques like understanding how to read a P & L and the levers involved with the type of bakery you're thinking of opening... labor, food cost, packaging, (COGS), etc etc etc!

GOOD LUCK!!!

rachelbbbbb2 karma

Were there any treats or flavor combos you really wanted to add to the Milk Bar menu that just didn't work out? Also, what's your all-time favorite Milk Bar item?

Christina_Tosi4 karma

Gummy Bear Sorbet-- TOO MUCH Gelatin-- we could never get it to whip!

kyleorton2 karma

Hi Christina I work for Make It Nice :). Plz tell me we’re getting a Milk pop-up in East Hampton next Summer??

Christina_Tosi5 karma

ha! I'll see what I can do. I might know a guy...:)