Here’s a half loaf of Happy Monk Salish Sourdough with Herringware, beautiful “stacking tableware” by Clare Wilkening (@clarewilkening), whose ceramics are about “marine and terrestrial ecosystems” and homage to the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Salish People. The bowl was a brilliant Christmas gift from daughter Ella, a long-time friend of Clare’s.
I hope all is well and that you are thriving as best you can be in these strange times.
Jennifer and I have led a quiet few weeks with no agenda, other than domestic chores, a couple of masked, sanitized, and distanced trips into Victoria. I’ve chopped some wood, built some fires to warm the house, cleaned up some fallen branches and trees, made some soups, even made a few loaves of bread.
We survived a few storms, too, as I hope all of you have. I had lots of bracing swims in the icy waters of Boundary Pass. The water is dark; the currents are a little sluggish. It’s deep winter. Each season, here on this island, is my favourite season.
But the stirrings of Spring are not far off.
And I have just emerged from my rest break as your Happy Monk baker! It suddenly seems we’ve all been apart too long: all of you, me, and the living dough. One day this past week, I awoke and felt creaky around the idea of mixing dough again and wondered if I’d forgotten the paces, all the details. I was suddenly eager to get my hands into something and baked three five-pound miches just to feel Mildrith’s fire and chase the heat of the bread-baking window. I wondered about new bread formulas, pastries, bagels, and other goods. Eager, too, to re-connect with all of you, my wonderful Pender Island friends.
I’ve had a sound slumber, and it’s time to shake off the cobwebs and get busy again. We are renewed!
Let me tell you what’s up!
One bake per week
I was so tired leading up to the Christmas break that I knew I needed more time to breathe. Three consecutive weeks of record bread orders, two early morning bakes per week, day trips to Metchosin to pick up flour and grain, managing the website and blog. You all know I love it, but there’s no getting around it. The baking life is wearing, and I’m not getting younger!
I could save myself a lot of stress by moving to one bake a week instead of two, so that’s what I’ll be doing starting this week. More time to breathe, more time to think, more time to enjoy life. More love flowing into the dough. One bake per week, Friday bread pick-up at all the usual places.
Friday bread days
Bread days will be Fridays.
This week, however, bread day will be Saturday. Jennifer and I have an important medical appointment in town, Wednesday/Thursday. So I will move the bread pick-up day to Saturday for this week only. After that, it will resume on Fridays, as always.
Rest assured, I will send reminder emails about pick-up days and locations to all those with orders.
Same bread choices, alternating weeks
People tell me they love the bread choices offered by the Happy Monk. Let’s continue with that.
The schedule will be a little different, though. Mildrith can only handle 60 loaves in any given bake. I’d like to give her the space she needs to produce quality loaves.
Thus, the two standard loaves, Salish Sourdough and Seed Feast, will be available in week one, the Baker’s Choice will be available in week two. Week one, week two. Standard loaves alternate with Baker’s Choice.
The new schedule will allow me to be a little more creative with Baker’s Choice and the opportunity to roll out new products, like bagels, croissants, rolls. Lots of experimentation going on.
No more bread subscriptions
I’ve decided to stop the subscription option. While there is convenience in the four-week subscription service, only a small handful of people use it. A few customers have also had issues trying to renew their subscriptions, and in trying to fix them, I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone with tech support.
So, rather than spend more time on the phone with tech support, I’ve decided to cancel it.
If you’re in the middle of a subscription carried over from December, you’ll be credited then notified when the subscription has expired.
Payment options will continue to be credit cards if ordered online through the website, e-transfer or cash.
Farmer’s Market in the Spring
I’ve been experimenting with new breads, pastries, bagels, bialys. The logical venue for these products, I think, would be the Farmer’s Market. And after two years of order-based baking, I’ve developed a curiosity for the market this Spring.
I will keep doing the order-based business, with the usual drop-off/pick-up locations on Fridays. That’s the core of Happy Monk and always will be! The Farmer’s Market is aimed at a different group, and I won’t be there every week. We’ll see where it leads!
What bread this week?
We’ll start this week with your choice of the two standard Happy Monk loaves: the Salish Sourdough or the Seed Feast. You know them well! Let me know what you’d like for this Saturday by clicking here.
I’ll have an all-new Baker’s Choice loaf available next week. Stay tuned!
And lastly: For your listening pleasure
Mark Dyck, a podcaster and baker’s friend, caught up with me a few weeks ago and invited me on his show: Rise Up: The Baker’s Podcast!
What an honour, I’ll tell you! Mark is a recent Victoria émigré from Regina, Saskatchewan, where he used to own the Orange Boot Bakery. One of his projects, nowadays, is the Rise Up Podcast which, over the past few years, has featured a “who’s who” of baking world rock stars. Think Jeffrey Hamelman, author of Bread, A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes, the definitive book on North American bread and baking. Not to mention other great baker/authors Daniel Leader, Peter Reinhart, Josie Baker, the list goes on.
Mark thinks every baker has a story, so he mixes the rock stars with micro bakers like me! He was interested in Mildreth, the Happy Monk cob oven, and asked about how she was built and how she performs. We compare our wood-fired experiences as well as the joys of being community-oriented bakers.
Have a listen! Let me know what you think!
Click here to listen to my conversation with Mark on Rise Up: The Podcast. Or listen look it up on Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify or where ever you get your podcasts. Be sure to leave a comment!
Happy Monk Tidings - December 14, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Fruit Sourdough Pan Loaf; Happy Monk Blog: The Year in Bread ... and Gratitude! [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
Happy Monk Tidings - December 7, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choices: Fig and Fennel and Rye-Currants; BLOG: The Noble French Baguette; Last Bake next week! [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
Happy Monk Tidings - November 30, 2022 🍞 - Bakers Choice: Cranberry-Pecan Sourdough; BLOG: Tassajara Wisdom/Perfect Loaf Mastery; REMINDER: Happy Monk holidays fast approaching! [ See LinkTree in Profile ]
#theperfectloaf #perfectloaf #perfectloaf #maurizioleo #tassajarabreadbook #tassajarabread #tassajaracookbook ...
Happy Monk Tidings - November 16, 2022 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Spelt & Toasted Buckwheat Sourdough; BLOG: Mysticism and Bob Dylan; Extra: Happy Monk Search [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
Just rockin’ the Olive Sourdough at 4:30 a.m. in the morning. Into Mildrith’s fire they go!
#woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bakerslife #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #breadmaking🍞 #sourdough #sourdoughbread #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #olives #olivebread #olivesourdoughbread #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #penderisland ...
Cinnamon-Raisin bread, an enduring Happy Monk favourite. And here’s proof of Mildrith’s (the wood-fired oven) recent health check, as she just baked 41 loaves of this (and another 40 of Seed Feast) with lots of heat left to spare. Long live Mildrith and long live Cinnamon-Raisin bread!
#cinnamonraisinbread #cinnamonraisin #woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #breadmaking🍞 #sourdough #sourdoughbread #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #penderisland ...
Happy Monk Tidings - November 2, 2022 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Cinnamon-Raisin Bread; BLOG: A Vancouver Neighbourhood; BOOK OF THE WEEK: The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
Bread (AppleRye), bread (a homely looking Salish Sourdough) and bread (fire brick authenticity) … and my new oven arrives!
#rackmaster #rackmasterrm2020 #rm2020 #bread #sourdoughbread #woodfired #woodfiredsourdoughbread #woodfiredforever #artisanbread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakersofinstagram #bakery #breadhead #sourdough #sourdoughbread #sourdoughbaking #ryebread #appleryebread #ryeapplebread #apples #applebread #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaker #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany ...
Happy Monk Tidings - October 26, 2022 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Apple Rye Bread; REPRISE BLOG: Out here the mind would empty. [ See Linktree in Profile ] ...
Happy Monk Tidings - October 19, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Sprouted Kamut Bread - ORDER TODAY; Blog Reprise: Here's to the Homely Loaf!; EXTRA: Trapped in Bread! [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
Happy Monk Tidings - October 12, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: The Approachable Loaf; BLOG: The Gingham Tablecloth at Nick's Spaghetti House; NOTE: An Ordering Hack [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
Happy Monk Tidings - October 5, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Pender Island Apple Bread; Update: False COVID scare - back in business; VIDEOS: Pizza is Art; Or it isn't! [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
Happy Monk Tidings - September 28, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: The Approachable Loaf; Blog: This Island of Apples; South Pender Growers and Makers Market [ See LinkTree in Profile ]
#apples #applebread #applelove #approachable #approachableloaf #breadlabcollective #breadlab ...
Happy Monk Tidings - September 21, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Harvest Bread; BLOG: Greetings from St. Francis and Mildrith; The Wood-Fired Oven's Back in Business [ See LinkTree in Profile] ...
Introducing this bread, Raven Ring Bread (a take on Hapanleipä, a Finnish bread) a recipe borrowed from @ravenbreads. The stand is made by my neighbour, Ken, a gifted woodworker. See you at the South Pender Growers and Makers Market, if it don’t rain too hard! ...
Happy Monk Tidings - September 2, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice : Volkornbrot (German Rye); Blog: The Golden Loaf of Gorsefield Rye; NOTE: We're closing two weeks for Mildrith Maintenance [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
Happy Monk Tidings - August 24, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice this week: Spelt and Honey Sourdough; Blog: The Great Kind Mystery; SPECIAL NOTE: Mildrith needs an upgrade [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
It was a dirty day, Wednesday. The sky hadn't been washed, the ocean was soiled, and the air was muggy and smelled oily. Then, moments before the rain started, the sun shone through and a glorious slash of colour opened up. And a rainbow! No unicorns, sadly. ...
Happy Monk Tidings - August 3, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Anadama Bread; BLOG: Dog Days of Summer; Special Note: No Bread August 19 [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
Dog days. The beginning of summer mellowness. Baked in languor. But sometimes it's hard to let go. Shouldn't I be baking something? [See LinkTree in Profile ]
#penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery
#happymonkbakingcompany #dogdays #dogdaysofsummer #southerngulfislands
#southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #southerngulfislandsbc ...
Happy Monk Tidings - July 27, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Whole Grain White Wheat; Blog: Call Me Ishmael; Video: How the U.S. Ruined Bread; Announcements [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
Happy Monk Tidings - July 20, 2022 🍞 - BAKER'S CHOICE: Rye and Currants; BLOG: Blessed; EXTRA: World's Oldest Sourdough? [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
Happy Monk Tidings - July 13, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Bird Seed Bread; Blog: Down to the Crossroads, Medicine Beach; Baking your own bread guides - [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...
This is James Morton, my father, who would have been 100 years old today if we hadn't lost him 36 years ago. I've surpassed him in living age and spent more years without him than with him, yet he still whispers in my ear and is a great listener when I talk to him. Taken at 14th Ave. and Burgess St., Burnaby, 'round about 1955. Handsome devil, ain't he? ...