The Saving Grace of Siegel’s Bagels

Years ago, when I couldn’t sleep, long after midnight, I’d drive into the big city. It was strangely peaceful, alone in the car, a talk radio station playing quietly, the long road stretching out before me. I found it soothing and a welcome break from tossing and turning in bed.

Well, I admit there was also a little loneliness and sadness at the root of it.… Continue reading

Bread from the Ashes of Pompeii

Fresco painting in Pompeii showing panis quadratus and basket of arculata (ring bread) in basket at left.

Somewhere, there’s a picture of Anne, my first wife and mother of my two kids. She’s kneeling next to a large basket of sesame-encrusted ring breads. I took the picture in Athens in 1980, our first trip abroad together.… Continue reading

The Enduring Promise of Bread-Making Machines

Imagine the promise of having a constant supply of homemade bread practically without lifting a finger! In the late 1990s, mixing and kneading bread dough seemed onerous to the 40-year-old me. Easy-to-make, inexpensive bread was too much to resist! So I bought a bread-making machine.

What could go wrong? Dump a few ingredients into the tub, shut the lid, press a button, and get on with your day.… Continue reading

The Year in Bread … and Gratitude

One more bake, and we’ll close the books on Happy Monk 2022. The baker’s peel will be relegated to the corner, the proofing baskets cleaned, the baking room will be tidied and organized, and sense will be restored from the chaos in my “bread room.”

It’s winter. Time for long nights of sleep, slow-moving days by the fire, blankets and good books.… Continue reading

A Golden Loaf of Gorsefield Rye

This could be the best 100% Rye Bread ever made on Pender Island.

There can’t have been too many over the years. I made it last weekend with rye grain grown in Pender Island soil, specifically that of the large Gorsefield off Craddock and Southlands Drive, South Pender.

The Rye was planted by Vince and Katie, the new owners of the Gorsefield.… Continue reading