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

The Noble French Baguette Achieves UNESCO Heritage Status

I am here
Warm, light, magical
Under your arm or in your basket
Let me give the rhythm
To your day of idleness or work

– Cécile Piot, French baker and poet, describing the baguette

The iconic French baguette, the elongated loaf of crusty bread, was named last Wednesday to UNESCO’s “intangible cultural heritage” list. The website says the baguette is recognized as part of “the country’s heritage and its importance in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of increasing globalization.”… Continue reading

Tassajara Wisdom; Perfect Loaf Mastery

Maurizio Leo’s new bread book, The Perfect Loaf, is a masterclass in bread-making. Comprehensive, lavishly illustrated, full of inspiring recipes and clearly explained descriptions of the science of bread dough.

Maurizio’s a former software engineer turned sourdough bread baker based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He’s likeable, knowledgeable, and passionate about bread. He’s authored a bread blog, also called The Perfect Loaf, for years.… Continue reading


Most days, making bread happens by rote, with a tight schedule of measuring, mixing, shaping, and baking. My mind can be tranquil while my hands are a blur, punching and kneading the dough. Or slicing off chunks with the bench knife, balancing them on the weigh scale, and turning them into sensuous rounds.

Not much distracts me from this sort of reverie.… Continue reading