bake w me (again), my first halfsy, + The Return of The Chocolate Chip Cookie

yo buuuuuuddies

i got an overwhelming response to my last post about baking classes, and it ended up selling out in a couple of hours, and so now hear this – more are on the way!! how to sign up? enter your e-mail here and i will keep you up to speed -

*please notesigning up above does NOT sign you up for a class, it just adds you to the class e-mail list, and you can sign up once i send you an e-mail with details, links to ticket site, etc.

next class is planned for Wednesday, Oct. 29 7:30-9:30, and there’s a few more on the calendar as well, so please gimme your e-mail and you can sign up if ya like.

enough about that – man oh man, i just did something that i’ve never done before!! it wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t nearly as hard as i’d thought it was gonna be. i sweat nearly the whole time, but luckily i was practically naked. and it probably would have been a lot worse if i didn’t have this guy with me the whole time -

ira

that’s Ira Glass, host of This American Life, and man oh man, he is just so good at what he does, and i have taken to listening to his show religiously when i go on longer runs. (and how about that new podcast, Serial?? so good right?!!? i mean, what the heck, Adnan does not sound like he could have done that… and how about that streaker!!)

but anyway – i ran an unofficial half-marathon! or, as i’ve taken to calling it in the last few hours to nobody but my proud self, “a halfsy.” so i ran my first halfsy. feels so good to have done it, and it’s got me pumped on doing more. i started running a couple of months before my wedding because, let’s face it, running a bakery had turned me into a fat kid. or, as i liked to say to all the bakers, “the fattest kid in the bakery.” the real turning point was when, during my bachelor party, while wearing body paint and a headdress and chasing after a bear, i realized that i was not going to catch the bear, because i had, as stated earlier, turned into the fattest kid in the bakery. and i said to myself, “if i was not at my bachelor party, but rather just out in the woods, and it was time to chase after a bear, i should be able to catch it.” so i stopped eating so many chocolate chip cookies and started running a few times a week. last time i checked i’d lost a whopping 25 frikkin pounds since that pathetic bear-chasing performance. (for the record, i did catch the bear, though he definitely slowed down for me, and after that i ate his heart. but that’s another story altogether, now isn’t it?)

but speaking of chocolate chip cookies – tonight marks The Return of The Chocolate Chip Cookie at The Mill. yup, we’ve been hearing consistently from you that you’re mighty pissed that we don’t have that special little treat anymore, so we decided to bring it back, on Monday nights only, as a nice little after-pizza snack. so if you’re angry with us about the cookies, then please come by tonight, or any other Monday night for that matter, and stuff your face with warm chocolate chip cookies and a cold glass of milk.

this past weekend was as glorious as can be – i spent Saturday evening baking pizza in a wood fired oven -

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it was part of a wonderful evening at a farm in west Marin aptly titled, “Nature Babes,” in which some talented ladies showed off their art + music gifts to an attentive and appreciative little gathering of folks. after the fun was had on the farm me and some good buddies engaged in something i hadn’t done since i was a child. i also had no idea how intense things would get -

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good god!!! playing a good game of JENGA is one of the most exhilarating and anxiety-provoking experiences i’ve had in a long time. and that photo doesn’t even capture where we went – soon after this two brave women pulled BOTH the left and right block out of the BOTTOM LEVEL. i was completely awed by their finesse. we had a dedicated group of about 7, and man oh man, we really gave it our all. it was a fitting end to the drama when another party-goer who wasn’t engaged in the insanity accidentally whacked her booty into my buddy Rye Guy while he was delicately nudging a block out, thereby making the teetering tower topple to the ground.

ok, i need to go eat some pizza and cookies, maybe i’ll see ya there?

<3 j

bake with me?

been wanting to do this for a while now, and finally the day has come – bake with me!

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yup, i’ve decided it’s time to share all of the secrets of whole grain bread baking, and i wanna do it with YOU, on Sunday October 5 at 7:30pm. don’t be shy, if ya wanna come bake some bread, sign up here. there are only 10 spots for this class, so if’n ya want in, then sign up quick. but fret not, if ya miss this one, i’ll be doing more soon.

anyway, enough shameless self-promotion, let’s look at some pretty stuff -

IMG_4292me and my sweet lady Cathy went on a superb backpacking trip a few weeks ago, which culminated at that very pretty swimming hole you see right there. it was deeper than we could even see, and you know we jumped right in, hootin and hollerin the whole way down. i would love to share it’s location with you, but i’ve been sworn to secrecy by the very trusting fellow who told me about it. and when someone tells you a secret, you keep your lips sealed. right? right.

but here’s a hint – it looked like this on the way there -

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ain’t cali just the best???

but hold the phone, ya know what else was the best? a couple weeks ago i hauled my butt up to Mt. Vernon, Washington for The Grain Gathering, and it got me so so so excited about what’s happening right now with grains, bread, baking – we’re in the midst of something very special. it was a gathering of some of the most badass folks in the field these days – bakers, farmers, miller, scientists, maltsters, brewers, you name it. and check this out – i even got to put on Kiko Denzer’s hat for just a sec -

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it felt really really good.

what else is up? ya know, baking bread, trying oh so hard to make it look like this, which every once in a while it does, and makes me all warm and fuzzy inside -

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look out, there may be a pot of gold at the end of that one.

we’re continuing to experiment with some new breads, and i’m stoooked to share this next one with ya – 100% einkorn. what is einkorn, you may ponder, oh curious reader? it’s the mother of all wheats. when i first started baking i learned about this ancient grain and i was very intrigued, i just said to myself, “one day i’m going to make bread out of that.” and friends, we’ve been making bread with this old grain and i’ll tell you what – it may just be my favorite bread. but hey, you don’t have to take my word for it, we’re trying our best to work it into production, and soon so soon we’ll have it for sale at The Mill in very limited quantities, probably 5 loaves a day or so. it ain’t a showy loaf, it looks like this -

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but good god, that flavor, it’s really something remarkable. if’n you’re curious come on by in the next few weeks, we should have it sorted out by the beginning of October.

which reminds me – NO BREAD ON WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 24 !!!! sorry my dudes, we will miss ya, but i’m taking the whole bakery staff on a retreat to somewhere special up in the woods. not to worry – The Mill will remain open as always, and there’ll be plenty of coffee and tea and toast and pastries…

which brings me to another important point – here at JBB we’re going to focus all of our energy on bread, starting next week. what does that mean? it means that at The Mill we’re going to start working with some of the most badass pastry folks around, and we’ll be offering up their goods for your enjoyment at The Mill. we’ve been making our pastries in house since the beginning, but as time has marched on i’ve realized that bread is where my heart is, and in order to do the types of things i’m most interested in, we’ve gotta narrow our focus. don’t worry, we’re still making pizza -

photo (45)because pizza is just bread with delicious stuff on it. and obviously we’re going to keep doing toast, don’t be silly. more to come on those changes, don’t wanna bore with it all here and now… but now i’m bored, so i’ll check ya later you sexy little bunnies.

<3 j

let’s keep it simple

have you already eaten like a million tomatoes this year? holy crap, they’re here in full force, and here at The Mill we are freaking out about how delicious they are. in particular, just this last week Ryan & Blair & Erin roasted up a whole bunch of them and turned them into the best damn pizza sauce we’ve ever had. we’re getting all of our tomatoes, of the dry-farmed early girl variety, from a strapping young farmer named Toby, who looks just like this -

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Toby the farmer. (photo credit: zagat.com)

handsome, isn’t he?? but hold your horses boys + girls, he’s taken.

so hell yeah, we roasted up all those yummy tomatoes and put them on the pizza along with smoked mozzarella and basil and it looked like this -

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we liked it so much, get this – for at least the next month we’re going to celebrate the mighty tomato by letting it shine loud and true – dry farmed early girl tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil. what does it taste like? really frikkin good cheese pizza, that’s what. come check it out if’n you’re curious.

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and eating this delicious pizza made us feel just like this -

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which was funny, because there just so happened to be many drawings of this variety all over The Mill this last Monday, since we had very rad Berkeley artist Rob Wilson’s art opening, which was a smashing success – he sold almost all of his art that very night. understandable, when it looks like this -

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we’re also continuing our R&D for a bunch of new breads, here’s one that we pulled outta the oven today: stone ground spelt -

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100% stone ground whole grain spelt sourdough, to be exact. where do we look for inspiration on matters such as these? the man, the myth, the legend: Mr. Dave Miller.

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was beyond stoked that he came by to visit the other day. he never ceases to inspire, got me all pumped up to keep pushing our bread into new directions.

that’s all, check ya soon sweeties.

<3 j

#sharetheloaves

Cathy's Flowers 2014-7guys, i can’t even tell you how proud this makes me: my mom is using my cookbook to bake bread. i mean, look at this, this is some of the gorgeous bread she is pulling out of her oven in her home in Vermont!!

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this brings a tear to my eye, i mean, my love of the kitchen began with her. (and my gramma, with whom i used to love watching cooking shows, most memorably the Galloping Gourmet, i mean, check him out -)

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my mom taught me how to hang in the kitchen, and her cookbook collection was integral to my development as a baker, as an all around lover of cooking, and learning abut cooking and baking through cookbooks… and now she is using MY book!!! too good to be true, really, goodness gracious me.

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mama’s been taking lots of photos of her baked goods, and every time she sends me a photo my heart sings with joy. so yesterday she sent me a few photos of her sourdough pizza, and i damn near drove off the road (was driving back from week in LA in which i was absolutely floored by the excitement around baking, grains, the “artisan bread revolution”, but more to come on that later).

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without further ado, i would like to invite all of y’all who are baking from my book to SHARE THE LOAVES. and by that, i mean take a sweet pic of your bread, pizza, pocketbreads, whatever, and post it to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #sharetheloaves. there’s already a bunch up there as i started tagging photos a while back, other folks have picked up on it, and it would warm my heart to see what y’all are baking up.

and speaking of baking from the book, check out what these folks have been saying…

David Lebovitz

Lottie & Doof

Root Simple

The New York (frikkin) Times (!!!)

TheKitchn

so have at it people, please keeping sharing the loaves.

<3 j

this whole pizza thing is getting out of control… and we like it that way

hi honey pies

i’m gettin ready to jump in my truck and head down to LA for a bunch of book parties, but i just had to share some exciting stuff with y’alls.

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we’ve been peeing our pants with joy at the popularity of Monday Night Pizza… speaking of which, check this ridiculously rad graphic that the handsome + talented RJ Rabe just whipped up out of the bytes floating around in the ether -

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(there may or may not be some posters in the works, stay tuned)

but let’s quit kissing each other’s butts for a second, eh? you’ve been very patient and understanding when it’s taken us a bit too long to get you the goods. we’ve been making just as much pizza just as fast as we can, but we’re in the process of re-imagining some stuff, which is gonna hopefully allow us to feed more people faster…

and in truth i am kinda jumping the gun on telling you all this, but i just can’t help myself, because i wanna make sure that y’all keep coming over on Monday nights and that you’re not deterred from waiting a half hour for your cheesy goodness… just don’t you dare give up on us and start saying stuff like, “oh yeah, Monday Night Pizza at The Mill? it tastes so frikkin good, but i ain’t gonna go back cuz i don’t like waiting that long for my pizza.”

instead, i want you to say stuff like, “oh yeah, Monday Night Pizza at The Mill? it tastes so frikkin good and i go all the time, just cuz i love it so so so much, it’s my favorite god damn pizza in the Universe.”

speaking of the Universe, when i was out on a river in the foothills the other week, which looked like this -

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i was staring at the stars and pondering how they all look so similar to us, but in reality they have so many humongous differences between them. i mean, it’s kinda crazy – we look up at the night sky, and we see a sea of stars, and they all just look like variations on a theme… but there’s some unbelievably diverse stuff going on out there, we just can’t see it with our wimpy little human eyes… check this out -

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ummmm, what are you even talking about?

hey now, come on, i was purposefully trying to spice things up because i figured you may be getting bored with all this pizza talk… i was leaving out some of the technical stuff because i figured you actually weren’t that interested…

well, i might be interested, if you say it in an interesting way…?

ok, i’ll try. just don’t be a jerk about it, k?

can’t promise you anything. 

wait a sec, hold on – you can’t promise me anything? well that’s screwed up, you should be able to promise some things… are you an all around untrustworthy person, unable to make promises??

you’re off topic baker boy, get to the point. 

right. so – thus far we have incorporated all of the pizza dough mixing into the rest of our dough mixing, but what we’re about to do is -

zzzzzzzzzzzz.

i told you it was gonna be boring!!

make it better. 

god, just look at this -

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we’re gonna start making a special kind of pizza dough, a top secret sourdough pizza dough that we’ll be able to make exactly the way we want, no compromises, no if’s/and’s/but’s about it. and we’re gonna be able to make more of it. and at some point we’ll start serving pizza sooner in the evening. ya feel me??!?

ok, this is kind of interesting… what’s the big deal. 

we will imbue our pizza dough with our massive spirit and bless it with rainbow power and it will make you 10% smarter every slice that you eat. so keep it coming sweethearts. because at the end of the day we all just wanna be loved. am i right?

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now we’re talking.

i’m outta here.

<3 j