Making Art and Bread With A Message

Eighty-nine-year-old Peter Schumann (centre) oversees the Bread and Puppet Theatre … and the making of bread to feed his audiences. (New York Times)

I often think I came to the baking profession too late in life. It’s been more a retirement project than a life-long calling. I have a thirst for baking knowledge and never satisfied with making just good loaves.… 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 Burned Seed Feast: An Offering and a Blessing

A sublime Seed Feast loaf, an offering to and a blessing from Fornax, Roman Goddess of the Ovens.

Last week’s bake was all but finished when I realized I’d forgotten to make my offering to the goddess of the ovens, Fornax!

Last Thursday, Feb. 17, was the final day of the Festival of Fornacalia, a day when Roman bakers made an offering of spelt grain (they tossed some into their hot ovens) and asked for Fornax’s blessing for the coming year.… Continue reading

The Festival of Fornacalia: Bring Out the Flowers and the Spelt!

The baker and Mildrith, the oven
This week, the baker will give thanks to Fornax for keeping Mildrith warm this past year, and her continued presence in the year to come!

Unless you’re a baker, it’s not something you’d typically mark in your calendar. Behold the Festival of Fornacalia, the “festival of the ovens.”

The Roman celebration was for the female deity, Fornax, goddess of the ovens.… Continue reading

Rye Bread: The Agony and the Ecstasy

Rye and Spelt Sourdough Loaf – A Happy Monk fave!

Last week’s Rye and Spelt Loaf scratched a need for me — the taste of rye, that unusual grain that bakes and tastes so differently than wheat. I’m rarely over-the-moon about my bread, as many customers are, but this loaf was beautiful!

The coarse rye flour in this loaf was highlighted by the milder tasting spelt flour, and I tasted that big earthy flavour I love so much about this under-appreciated grain.… Continue reading