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An Inspiration in the Early Morning

In the early morning hours, sweeping out the oven, bringing dough baskets down from the fridges … even before the birdsong starts, I listen to bread podcasts to keep my sleepy brain focused.

One, in particular, has become a bit of an obsession for me, The Rise Up Podcast. It’s a celebration of bakers and their bakeries and the communities they serve.

Its affable host, Mark Dyck, interviews bakers and baking teachers from around the world and coaxes fascinating stories and perspectives about their passions for bread and baking.

What was the spark that led these people into the baking world? What inspires and sustains them? Who were their teachers, who influenced them? What were their struggles and triumphs?

Why bakers?

“Bakers are people who play a hugely positive role in their communities,” Dyck says on the Rise Up website. “One that goes way beyond basic nourishment.

“They have incredibly interesting stories to tell and to share, but unless they’ve published a cookbook … you’ll never hear their stories.

Their stories deserve to be heard.”

Dyck knows his subject. For five years, he and his partner/wife, Cindy, owned and operated the Orange Boot Bakery in Regina, Saskatchewan. Dyck was an active member of the Bread Baker’s Guild of America and an avid baking conference attendee for years. He walks the walk, talks the talk.

Tell me about your pastry cream!

Rise Up podcast host Mark Dyck and partner and wife, Cindy

But his interviews are casual, not probing. They can be geeky: “So how many decks did your oven have?” “Do you mix by hand?” “Tell me about your pastry cream?”

But they also capture the appeal of the baking profession, the romanticism of opening a bakery, and the grinding work schedules. They speak to why we’re attracted to these places, where we meet, have coffee, carry away bags of warm bread, croissants, pastries, pies.

There’s a seat-of-the-pants quality to the interviews, in a good way. He’s charming with his guests, a real fan, but he’s also eager to share his own experience. The interviews have the quality of two people talking over coffee in their favourite bakery, maybe after polishing off a couple of pastries or sharing a recipe or two.

The Rise Up Podcast has been going for just over two years. Number 97 was released just last week, an interview with the inventor of the Challenger Bread Pan, Jim Challenger.

From luminaries to apprentices

But we’ve also heard from baking luminaries, like Jeffrey Hamelman, author of the definitive text, Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes. Blair Marvin and Andrew Heyn, a husband and wife team who run two companies: Elmore Mountain Bread and New American Stone Mills, which make leading-edge flour mills. Or the owner of RedBeard Historic Bakery in Trentham, Australia, just outside Melbourne. It features a massive Scotch Oven that operated continuously for almost 100 years until recent renovations.

Mark has interviewed authors Peter Reinhart, Daniel Leader, and Martin Philip. But he also reaches out to baking apprentices, such as a young Scottish woman, Rosie Gray, who was in the middle of a cycling trip from Scotland through Belgium working stints at different bakeries. For no other reason than to learn the craft and to “soak it all up.”

We’ve heard about several British Columbia bakeries, most recently, Yonni’s Doughnuts of Victoria. I was inspired to hear about Slow Rise Bakery of Gabriola Island, which installed an Italian-made stainless steel wood-fired. Owner Paul MacEwan made a great observation that he doesn’t “earn a living, he earns a lifestyle,” running his bakery in the Gulf Islands.

These are great conversations, not just information, technique and perspective. The passion for baking and bakeries comes through in every episode of the podcast. They are enjoyable as well as informative.

Salve to the soul

Listening to these podcast is, for me, as a salve to the soul. Baking is hard physical work and isolating, often going into the late hours. Hearing bakers talk of their struggles to get a load of bread into the oven on schedule, or what might have been wrong with the sourdough starter, bring a smile to my face. I’ve experienced many of these things. I join the laughter, knowing precisely what they’re talking about. I’ve found a community!

Mark Dyck scores some beautiful looking seed loaves

But the interviews also touch on current topics in bread baking, such as the movement towards sustainable grains and permaculture, community-based grain culture, and the business challenges of bakeries in the age of the Coronavirus.

For a neophyte baker such as myself, the discussions are illuminating and confidence-boosting. But it’s not unusual to hear well-established bakers praise Dyck’s work. The Rise Up Podcast has their ear, as well as mine.

On to other adventures?

After closing his bakery, Dyck turned to his backyard brick oven to bake for a small group of neighbours and friends. Last Fall, he and Cindy moved from Regina to take up residence in Victoria. He continues with his podcast and has created an online forum for bakers, mostly in North America, to compare notes and discuss all things baking.

Mark Dyck is moving on to other things, it appears, but I, for one, hope he keeps up his valuable service to the baking community through the Rise Up Podcast and his other endeavours to keep bakers together and to have their stories heard!

Thanks, Mark!


Happy Monk Tidings - October 27, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice this week: Mountain Rye; Blog: Colossal Roughhousing on Boundary Pass [ See link in profile ]

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The good earth! We survive the big storm! Been inside all day so I’m going swimming and the hot tub awaits. .
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#coldwaterswimming #coldwaterswim #coldwatertherapy #penderisland #southpenderisland

The good earth! We survive the big storm! Been inside all day so I’m going swimming and the hot tub awaits. .
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#coldwaterswimming #coldwaterswim #coldwatertherapy #penderisland #southpenderisland
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Happy Monk Tidings - October 6, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Sesame-Wheat Sourdough; Blog: Making Your Own Bread - You've Got This; Video: Bake Day with the Happy Monk [See Link in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - October 6, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Sesame-Wheat Sourdough; Blog: Making Your Own Bread - You've Got This; Video: Bake Day with the Happy Monk [See Link in Profile ] ...

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Bake Day with the Happy Monk. The amazing @jomosenpai (my son) came over to Pender last summer on a bake day. Was in my face all the time, taking pictures, shooting video. It was so great having him around, and I’m amazed the bread (Polenta Rosemary Sourdough) turned out so well. This video he made turned out very well, too!
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #breadmaking🍞 #sourdough #sourdoughbread #polenta #polentabread #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #penderisland

Bake Day with the Happy Monk. The amazing @jomosenpai (my son) came over to Pender last summer on a bake day. Was in my face all the time, taking pictures, shooting video. It was so great having him around, and I’m amazed the bread (Polenta Rosemary Sourdough) turned out so well. This video he made turned out very well, too!
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #breadmaking🍞 #sourdough #sourdoughbread #polenta #polentabread #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #penderisland
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Happy Monk Tidings - September 22, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Harvest Bread; Blog: Sourdough September and the Real Bread Campaign [ See link in profile ]

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A horizontal world, an endless beach with long rollers, sandwiched beneath a low sky ceiling … and hundreds of surfers. Chesterman’s Beach, Tofino.

A horizontal world, an endless beach with long rollers, sandwiched beneath a low sky ceiling … and hundreds of surfers. Chesterman’s Beach, Tofino. ...

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Post to The Happy Monk Baking Company
Happy Monk Tidings - September 1, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Sprouted Rye and Seed Bread; Blog: We're all rich when you think about it; South Pender Growers and Makers and Heritage Market; The Happy Monk Holidays - [ Link in profile ]

Post to The Happy Monk Baking Company
Happy Monk Tidings - September 1, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Sprouted Rye and Seed Bread; Blog: We're all rich when you think about it; South Pender Growers and Makers and Heritage Market; The Happy Monk Holidays - [ Link in profile ]
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Happy Monk Tidings - August 25, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Cinnamon-Raisin Bread; Blog: Marriage, Laurie Anderson and the Weddings of Pender; and more! [ See links in profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - August 25, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Cinnamon-Raisin Bread; Blog: Marriage, Laurie Anderson and the Weddings of Pender; and more! [ See links in profile ] ...

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Happy Monk Tidings - August 18, 2021 🍞 - This week's Baker's Choice: The Approachable Loaf; Blog: A Benediction on Mount Norman. [ See links in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - August 18, 2021 🍞 - This week's Baker's Choice: The Approachable Loaf; Blog: A Benediction on Mount Norman. [ See links in Profile ] ...

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Happy Monk Tidings - August 11, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Polenta and Rosemary Sourdough; Blog: Here's to the Homely Loaves! [ See Linktree in Profile ]

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Lo! The mighty Seed Feast! Favoured by Happy Monk customers the Pender Islands over! These loaves, just rolled out of Mildrith, are hot and fragrant with seeds, nuttiness and bready wholesome-ness. O for a steamy slice and a schmear of butter! That I may eat “and leave the world unseen, and with thee fade away into the forest dim.” (Apologies to the ghost of John Keats).
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#seedfeastbread #seedbread #seedybread #sourdough #sourdoughbread #woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #woodfiredbread #coboven #earth.oven #bread #breadlove #baker #bbga #happymonkbaker #happymonkbaking #naturallyleavened #artisanbread #realbread #breadpoetry #rusticbread #penderisland #southpenderisland

Lo! The mighty Seed Feast! Favoured by Happy Monk customers the Pender Islands over! These loaves, just rolled out of Mildrith, are hot and fragrant with seeds, nuttiness and bready wholesome-ness. O for a steamy slice and a schmear of butter! That I may eat “and leave the world unseen, and with thee fade away into the forest dim.” (Apologies to the ghost of John Keats).
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#seedfeastbread #seedbread #seedybread #sourdough #sourdoughbread #woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #woodfiredbread #coboven #earth.oven #bread #breadlove #baker #bbga #happymonkbaker #happymonkbaking #naturallyleavened #artisanbread #realbread #breadpoetry #rusticbread #penderisland #southpenderisland
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Happy Monk Tidings - August 4, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Volkornbrot (German Rye) with Sunflower Seeds; also Seed Feast; Blog: Why Eat Ancient and Heritage Grains?; Goin' Fishin' Soon! [ See Linktree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - August 4, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Volkornbrot (German Rye) with Sunflower Seeds; also Seed Feast; Blog: Why Eat Ancient and Heritage Grains?; Goin' Fishin' Soon! [ See Linktree in Profile ] ...

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Happy Monk Tidings - July 28, 2021 🍞- Baker's Choice: Sprouted Kamut; Blog: Mildrith's Body of Miracles; Goin' Fishin' - [ See Link in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - July 28, 2021 🍞- Baker's Choice: Sprouted Kamut; Blog: Mildrith's Body of Miracles; Goin' Fishin' - [ See Link in Profile ] ...

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Moonset and high tide, South Pender Island at 3:50 a.m. 
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 #woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredbaking #woodfiredbread #clayoven #clayovenbaking #coboven #cobovenbaking #sourdoughbread #sourdoughbaking #breadmaking #breadbaking #breadlove #bread #bakersofinstagram #bakerslife #penderisland #southpenderisland #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbc #happymonk #happymonkbakingcompany #happymonkbakery

Moonset and high tide, South Pender Island at 3:50 a.m.
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredbaking #woodfiredbread #clayoven #clayovenbaking #coboven #cobovenbaking #sourdoughbread #sourdoughbaking #breadmaking #breadbaking #breadlove #bread #bakersofinstagram #bakerslife #penderisland #southpenderisland #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbc #happymonk #happymonkbakingcompany #happymonkbakery
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Happy Monk Tidings - July 21, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Bird Seed Bread; Blog: Rye Bread: The Agony and the Ecstasy [ See link in profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - July 21, 2021 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Bird Seed Bread; Blog: Rye Bread: The Agony and the Ecstasy [ See link in profile ] ...

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In the early light of dawn, Mildrith oven-springs sourdough, caramelizes crusts gold and brown and leaves heavenly smells as evidence. Inside her hot clay dome, 12 boules of Salish Sourdough are on the final stage of their journey. Behold the steam rising out of the chimney!
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #clayoven #clayovenbakery #clayovenbread #woodfiredbaking #woodfiredbread #sourdoughbread #sourdoughbaking #breadmaking #breadbaking #breadlove #bread #bakersofinstagram #bakerslife #penderisland #southpenderisland #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbc #happymonk #happymonkbakingcompany #happymonkbakery

In the early light of dawn, Mildrith oven-springs sourdough, caramelizes crusts gold and brown and leaves heavenly smells as evidence. Inside her hot clay dome, 12 boules of Salish Sourdough are on the final stage of their journey. Behold the steam rising out of the chimney!
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#woodfired #woodfiredoven #clayoven #clayovenbakery #clayovenbread #woodfiredbaking #woodfiredbread #sourdoughbread #sourdoughbaking #breadmaking #breadbaking #breadlove #bread #bakersofinstagram #bakerslife #penderisland #southpenderisland #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbc #happymonk #happymonkbakingcompany #happymonkbakery
...

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3 thoughts on “An Inspiration in the Early Morning

  1. Thank you David! I’m so glad the podcast resonates with you. It’s so exciting to see who it’s reaching. It’s been great to get to know you a little and I can’t wait to visit.

    PS. I may not be selling bread these days, but I won’t stray too far from an oven and some flour. 🙂

    1. And thanks for all you do to bring bakers together, Mark!

  2. I love seeing the Beatles among your breadworld photos every week.

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