Cindy Helmling

Cindy HelmlingSunday 4:30p.m.–5:15p.m.
Culinary Stage

It’s safe to say human history parallels the history of bread, and it seems that Indianapolis baker Cindy Helmling’s personal history does, too. 

“I really enjoy the fact that from only four simple ingredients one of the most important staples of civilization can be made,”she said. “I’ve been baking bread since I was a teenager, but I really got serious about it when I purchased a wholesale bread company.”

In 2013, Cindy delivered four of her breads for the Indiana Artisan jury panel to review: Vienna bread, Marble Rye, Scotch Ale Rolls, and Cherry Chocolate Bread. All sailed through the review process. 

“My best selling products use recipes derived from bakeries long since gone, but not forgotten,”she said. “My hamburger buns and Vienna bread recipes come from Garfield Bakery, a near south-side Indianapolis institution for many years. My rye recipe is from Regen Bakery which pre-dated Garfield Bakery. We like the old recipes not only because they preserve this heritage but also because they make great bread!”

By working with the old recipes and techniques and by hand shaping each loaf, Cornerstone Bakery keeps part of Indiana’s culinary legacy available for today’s consumers, and a food’s connection to Indiana accounts for 25 percent of the Indiana Artisan scoring process.

 “Indiana became home to many German emigres during the 1800s,” Cindy said, “people who brought Vienna bread and other similar breads with them.  Both this city and the state as a whole have a rich heritage of flavorful bread which we help keep alive with our production."

 “One of the main drivers in maintaining the bakery is adhering to traditional recipes and techniques as opposed to a mass-produced, cottony mound lacking flavor, texture and nutrition,”she said. “Indiana Artisan endorses the value of hand-crafted, authentic creations, which is exactly what we produce."

 “It is rare to encounter true understanding of the value of our work,”she added. “The Indiana Artisan designation for our bakery constitutes an acknowledgement of how hard we’ve worked to preserve the craft of making great bread on a scale large enough for central Indiana to enjoy.”

Cindy’s older sister taught her to bake bread. 

“It was the 1970s, and a resurgence of home bread baking began. I always loved the tactile process of bread making, from evaluating the strength and hydration of the dough, to the hand shaping of each piece, to the balloon-like quality of a fully-proofed loaf,”she said.

Her enjoyment of the process extends into the fine details, and that’s part of what makes her work so exceptional.

“I enjoy the process of continually refining recipes and techniques to get better results. Professional bread bakers also are very willing to share their skills and experience. It’s a very welcoming community,”she said, quickly adding, “Just because we like old-style breads doesn’t mean we’re opposed to new ideas. I’ve been working on a goat cheese-scallion-walnut bread that is killer.”