The Allure of the Tassajara Bread Book

A recent attempt at the Tassajara basic yeasted bread (wood-fired) … a little better than my 1977 results.

In the summer of 1977, my parents were at their summer cottage in Bamfield, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. My father was out fishing for chinook, my mother was lying in the sun reading.

Christy, my sister, and I were the only ones at the family home in West Vancouver.… Continue reading

The French Factor

The boulangerie-patisserie in La Roche Vineuse: “The best in all of France!” (picture courtesy of Google Street View).

Several years ago, Jennifer and I rented an old farmhouse in the Burgundy region of France. La Roche Vineuse was a small village near Mâcon, a little more than an hour north of Lyon. In the month we were there, we grew into the rhythms and life of the rural farming community.… Continue reading

An Approachable Recipe

The Happy Monk Approachable Loaf from last week’s Baker’s Choice

Last week’s Baker’s Choice — The Approachable Loaf — proved to be a bit of a hit. People loved the taste, its versatility, ease of cutting, pillowy texture, and keeping ability. It’s a sandwich loaf, first and foremost, but it also toasts well. I really enjoyed a slice, slathered with butter, alongside a bowl of spicy lentil soup.… Continue reading

The Approachable Loaf

The Bread Lab sets out the parameters for the “Approachable Loaf,” a true whole-grain bread made by artisan bakers meant for mass consumption. A new bread manifesto!

Picture an artisan loaf. It might be a round boule or oval-shaped bâtard, dark brown or slightly charred, score marks decorating the crust, and an open crevice where a hot oven spring has burst open the loaf.… Continue reading

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