Ode to Mildrith the Wood-Fired Oven

Mildrith the wood-fired oven of the Happy Monk Baking Company, Pender Island, British Columbia
“She’s my one, my only,” I think. But I must be dreaming.

When I step outside at 2 a.m., it’s cold and dark. I find my way to Mildrith’s shelter with the light of a headlamp. Sometimes a light breeze jostles the wind chimes. They sound like an eerie, monastic night-chant. Compline.

The fire in Mildrith, the wood-fired oven, has been burning 17 hours.… Continue reading

Take Me to Poilâne!

The signature Poilâne sourdough loaf, made simply with sifted whole wheat and spelt flours, Guérande salt and water.

If you’re a bread nerd like me, the world is teeming with outstanding bakeries and boulangeries. I could haul Jennifer halfway around the world with me, visiting bread and pastry shrines, paying homage, taking holy bread communion.

The place I would start is the Poilâne boulangerie in Paris.… Continue reading

Aunty Betty’s “Brown Bread”

When Aunty Betty came to visit, it was an occasion. To my brother, sister, and myself, she was the proverbial “fun aunt,” often arriving with gifts, always full of uproarious talk and laughter. A short woman with a pile of gray hair and a ball of energy.

Aunty Betty’s “brown bread” was a prize commodity in our house.
Continue reading

Good night, 2019!

It’s the end of the year. A brief pause to look back, then to cast my our eyes forward to the coming year.

And what arises immediately is gratitude for what I have and hold in front of me. The Happy Monk Baking Company has occupied much of my time and attention. It has been a big blessing.… Continue reading