an unexpected rant

well, the holidays have come and gone, and by golly, looks like we’re a good 3 weeks into 2014 already… holy crap! did you make any resolutions? i sure did – for 2014 i am finally going to stop eating so much bread.

YEAH RIGHT I WILL NEVER DO THAT NOT EVER EVER EVER DON’T EVEN JOKE ABOUT THAT

but for real, i’m all in favor of January 1 being the motivation for folks to make changes to their lives that they’ve been wanting to make for a while and have needed that extra push to make it happen. so if you need less bread in your life, then please be my guest. we do make a handful of yummy goodies at The Mill that don’t have any wheat in them, so treat yourself to some granola, or a breakfast bar, or very soon we will actually have a peanut butter cookie that’s made without any gluten-filled ingredients too! but be warned – if you have a very serious allergy/sensitivity, everything is made in close proximity to wheat, so we cannot guarantee against it making you feel the way wheat/gluten makes you feel.

but while we are on the topic of wheat/bread/gluten, check this out – i have been doing an informal experiment for the last few years, and i would hereby like to publish my results, right frikkin here and now. (wow, i’m getting excited, i didn’t know i was going to do this until just now, and now my heart is beating so nice and fast.) so here it is.

i know many people who have sensitivity to wheat/bread/gluten. their symptoms vary from getting queasy, to having rashes, to a very upset tummy. to each of them i have said this – if you wouldn’t mind taking the risk, i would love for you to try a loaf of our dark mountain rye bread, and see how it makes you feel. this is what that loaf looks like, in case you were wondering:

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obviously this is a big thing for them to do, as they are willfully engaging in behavior that may make them queasy/rashy/farty. so for this i thank them passionately. and i gift them a loaf, a meager expression of the deep gratitude i feel for the risk they’re taking. and now you are wondering, oh curious reader, what has happened to them? queasiness for days? rashes covering every inch of their body? farts, farts, and more farts??!? no my friends, every single one of had the same result: nothing. they eat the bread and they don’t have any symptoms and they go about their day as per usual. (a little fart here and there is perfectly normal, ok??)

so what the hell, let me be clear – i am NOT saying that our dark mountain rye bread is the silver bullet to our current epidemic of health issues related to wheat/bread/gluten. so don’t let me catch any of you going around quoting me as saying such or i will furrow my brow at you and tell you how disappointed i am in your poor listening skills. but what i am saying is this – while many people have had health problems associated with eating bread, i do firmly believe that the vast majority of these problems have their roots in the way that that particular loaf of bread was made. to be specific, mass-produced bread made with mass-produced ingredients is maybe not the sweetest.

IMG_0658but if you take an organically grown grain (be it wheat or rye), mill it into flour while keeping it nice and cool, use that flour to make a loaf of bread in combination with a sourdough culture, properly ferment that sucker, then eat it fresh, i would hazard to guess that it would digest very easily for almost everybody reading this. (mind you, i specifically say *almost* everybody, undoubtedly it will be harmful for some of you, and i am not doubting that for one moment.) yes, it just might not cause you the same problems that you had with that loaf of bread that was wrapped in plastic and sitting on a grocery store shelf for weeks before you bought it. not to mention that it was made in a factory using ingredients that were raised with profitability as the one & only goal, not taste nor nutrition nor goodness for the Earth. so yes, i do think that small batch whole grain sourdough bread is good for you, and mass produced factory white bread is not.

but that’s just me, you can do whatever the heck you want.

(phew, that was a bit of a rush, i really wasn’t planning on doing that, please forgive me if you were just looking to get your fill of pretty pictures and silly jokes.)

anyhoo, enough of that, let me show you some pretty pictures and tell you some silly jokes.

i spent 2 weeks home in Vermont & New York, and it was so so so nice. first i went to my mama’s house, and gave her a X mas gift, which she added to her collection. her collection of what, you ask?? well, maybe just maybe you will want to get it for someone you love so they can add to their collection as well:

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AWWW YEAAAHHHHH the book is done!!! it’s released April 15, and it is very hard for me to believe, so please pinch me and remind that i did in fact write a book and maybe just maybe people want to buy it. i may even do a little bit of traveling to promote this thing, so keep your eyes peeled cuz i may be coming to a party near you.

after mama checked out the book i made us some pizza:


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then a nice hike with papa in the woods where we stumbled upon a sweet old maple sugar shack:

IMG_0740and plenty of other good good things, but come oooooon, i don’t wanna bore ya, i’m sure you’ve got plenty of more valuable things to do with your time than read these here tales any longer… and i’ve got a mountain bike ride to go on!!

but one more thing, before i forget – The Mill turns 1 year old on February 13! cannot believe a whole year has gone by, but as the old folks say, “time flies when you’re having fun.” will keep you posted about festivities.

love & kisses & rainbows 4eva

j

 

 

it’s that time of year again

it’s that time of year again folks, and i do have to say, i like it more than i remember.

this might be because last year i spent every waking moment in the construction site that was soon to be The Mill, trying to figure out what the hell i was doing, and mixing up the hundreds and hundreds of tiles that now cover our southern wall (and yes, that was me at work in the bathroom too, thank you very much).

yup, last year was the first year that i didn’t spend the holidays at home in Vermont with my folks and aunts and uncles and cousins, and i did not like that very much. so i was thinking i’d most definitely head home this year to wake up Christmas morning in my childhood home and maybe even sneak a peak of Santa eating some of the cookies that i left out the night before… but you’ve gotta be kidding me, i’ve got frikkin bread to bake, Santa is going to need to wait.

and the truth is, i’ve got such a ridiculously awesome crew of friends & colleagues here that i am grateful as hell to get the spend the holidays with them. and $hit, it’s the holiday season no matter where you are, and that mean’s that it’s time for all sorts of awesome stuff.

like what, you ask?

time to eat whatever you want for breakfast.

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time to borrow super warm comfy clothes from your friends so that you don’t freeze your little tushy off even when you’re inside.

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time to go for long walks in the woods with your beautiful lady and be reminded that one thing is for certain: ladybugs know how to party way harder than any of us humans.

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time to remind your family that you love them the most ever.

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(and please do me a favor if you could – send my mama some healing vibes if you can muster, she will feel and appreciate them.)

time to get free and let out your true creative genius to discover the next big thing.IMG_0128

time to take off to the woods for a night with your brother and mother nature and spend it staring into a wood burning stove roasting steak on a stick and hobo packing sweet potatoes.

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time to be generous with the things you have and let them go even when you really really want to hold on to them.

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speaking of which, i wanted to share something i’m proud of – we donate about 75 loaves a week to people in need. it feels good to be doing a small part to continue the tradition of bread being the most basic of sustenance, as i know that our goods are just too expensive for some people. we’re doing the best we can.

any hoo – mostly this time of year provides us with a chance to slow down and (look out, i’m going to get a teensy sentimental here, but wtf i never do that, so just shut your whiny face and) be thankful. yup, good god, be frikkin thankful for everything. even the things that are hard and get you all worked up and make you say swear words. and especially the things that you take for granted, the stuff that make your life wonderful and rich and sexy.

because as my good buddy Burl likes to say, “life is full of wonder.” oh how right Burl is.

happy holidays sweethearts, i am grateful for all of you.

<3 j

so famous

loafers

LOAFERS
when life gives you lemons, make some frikkin lemon bars. or, when you’ve got a coupla day old big country loaves and it’s the day after Halloween, carve em out and make yourself a pair of honest to god LOAFERS. they felt SO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

listen, it’s not you, it’s me.

oh stop it, i didn’t even miss you, i’ve been soooooo busy with all sorts of super important and interesting stuff. 

oh, well great… but maybe i missed you. did ya ever think of that?

well that is very sweet of you… okay, let’s make out!!

that’s not what i meant.

anyway – lots of rad stuff my friends!! first, many of you have seen this, i know, but just wanted to say it loud & proud – i’m famous.

im famousoh stop it, i ain’t famous!! but i am on a bunch of frikkin bus stops around the city, being a poster child for the rad rad folks at Good Eggs, who are kicking more and more ass by the day. if ya haven’t checked em out, i’d suggest that you do.

but on another note – we’ve been having a blast with Josef Wagner, this very nice fellow baker who is spending November with us at The Mill. we’ve been working on some collaborative loaves together, and tomorrow we debut our sunflower rye. it’s made of whole wheat & rye that we grind at The Mill, as well as a bunch of toasted sunflower seeds and some sprouted rye berries. check it out -

sunflower rye

doesn’t look too shabby does it?? Josef showed me formulas for a handful of breads that he makes at his bakery back in Bavaria, and i took this one and JJB-ified it.

the milling has been going totally awesome, and we’ve been getting great feedback from all of y’all about the bread – namely you just buy it all every frikkin day! and don’t be fooled – it’s not without its challenges. we work as hard as we can every damn day to make the bread better than the last, and it means the world to me that y’all are appreciating it. so – T H A N K Y O U.

but if you’re not digging on it, instead of coming in and telling me how much the bread sucks, i have an even better idea, a very nice suggestion of sorts – take some of our flour home and make your own damn bread!

flour bagyup, we’ve gone and done it – we are now selling our stone ground whole grain flour at The Mill. we’re not shipping it, nor selling it at any stores, so for the time being if ya wanna give it a try you’re just gonna have to come by. we’ve got red wheat, white wheat and rye for now, and soon oh so soon we’ll have corn meal, and country bread blend, and then one day (after i’ve done some more recipe testing and stuffing of mine face) we’ll be offering up gramma’s griddle cake mix -

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it’s shaping up real nice, a blend of wheat, rye, oats, corn meal, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and i can’t even tell you what else because i haven’t figured it out. but don’t you worry – i won’t give it to ya unless it’s good, real real real good.

Halloween was fun right?? i dressed up like this, what did you do?

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our pizza party was crazy fun, thanks to all you crazy jerks who came and partied with us the night after Halloween, you are the wind beneath my wings. Sandy’s & Kaisle Krisp crushed, especially that bass player who looked like this -

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we’ll do another one on Friday, Dec 6, so come hang if you’re around and free. and sorry for running out of pizza, we will make more next time, and then you all can eat as much as your sweet hearts desire.

i had so many other nice photos but my iPhone up and died on me, and i lost em all. sorry. :(

loves yas darlings, talk with ya sooooooonly

<3 j

 

 

 

 

fresh milly 4eva

just a quick note to share my extraordinary excitement – today is the day my dogs, today is the frikkin day.

what do you mean??? today is the day for WHAT??!??

from here on out we shall be milling all of our whole grain flour in house. yup – rye, red wheat, white wheat, corn meal, einkorn, kamut, and what the hell ever else we feel like. as we like to say in the bakery -

FRESH MILLY 4EVA

WILD WORKINGMAN'S believe it or not, this was the authentic and unadulterated self-expression of this loaf - i did not score it, it just exploded like this in the oven all by itself.

WILD WORKINGMAN’S
believe it or not, this was the authentic and unadulterated self-expression of this loaf – i did not score it, it just exploded like this in the oven all by itself. we’re milling all of the flour in this loaf, hellyes we are. 

what’s the big deal baker boy, i figured you’d been doing that all along, i mean, the name of the place is The Mill, ya know?

listen jerk, milling your own flour is a big friggin deal, it’s a total pain in the a$s, and it’s not easy to just start doing it all yourself. we’ve been building towards this day for many months, and by god, i’ll be damned if i’m not gonna toot our horn about it.

whoaaaa there stud, chill yourself right out, ok, i get it, congrats, yadda yadda yadda.

thank you.

no, thank you.

hey, you’re pretty cute…

you’re not too shabby yourself…

… ok. so it’s on dudes. i’ll be curious to hear from y’all whatcha think about the bread, if you notice a difference, if you think it sucks, etc. hopefully you’ll grab a loaf some time soon and say out loud, “holy crap, i didn’t know this bread could get any better, but this is some serious $hit.”

oh yeah, thank you to all y’all that came our for rock n roll pizza #1.

rocknroll pizza 1

ME MAKING PIZZA
listen, this is the only photo i have from the night ok?

it was a smashing success, we ran out of pizza at 8:30, and it’s got us all super pumped to do it again on Friday, November 1. not sure what the pizza or tunes will be, you’ll just come to come and see for yourself.

peace out loves

<3 j

rock n roll pizza

get ready to party honey babies.

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SAISON COUNTRY
we gettin crazy in the bakery – check out this fruitful experiment… we took our country bread and used belgian saison beer yeast in our pre-ferment. VOILA! saison country. still just playing at this point.

this friday night we’s gonna be slangin slices of *P*I*Z*Z*A* and listening to The Beatles allllll night long at The Mill. and by allllll night long, i mean from 6-9pm. we’re bakers, remember?

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yup, it’s the first installment of rock n roll pizza, and it’s pretty frikkin simple: we make pizzas the best way we know how to, you come and hang out and eat a few slices (they’ll prob be $3.50/slice), and we get all good and vibey to some good ol fashioned rock n roll. we’re starting out with a band that only total a-holes don’t like: The Beatles. i am very pumped to have my right hand man Rafi helping out with pizza on this fine night, so when you get here please shoot him a wink, maybe even pinch his bum.

and in case you’re curious, we got some good news & some bad news on the milling front. what do you want first, the good or the bad?

good, gimme the good news first, cuz news is like food, and i always eat dessert first. 

well i certainly don’t agree with that type of approach, i am going to give you the bad news first, because i like to save the most delicious stuff for last. ok – bad news is that we got all our hopes all pumped up about some very nice grain that we were going to be sourcing from a farm not too far from here, and then it all fell through. i was very bummed out about it.

well that sucks baker, i’m sorry to hear that. but i see your point about that whole saving dessert for last… what’s the good news??!?

the good news is that you can’t stop us, we’re masters of turning lemons into lemon bars, and we spoke with our grain guru Nicky Giusto up at Central Milling in Petaluma, and WTF, we bounced right back and are now milling ALL of the wheat for our whole wheat breads!! $HIT YES!!! this wheat is coming from a farm in Washington, grown at the hands of a man named Spud Brown. sorry for continually blabbing about how pumped i am on this, but i just can’t overstate how excited it makes me to be at this point in the game. a very special thanks goes to viking baker extraordinaires Wendy and Ryan, who fearlessly took the plunge while i was gallivanting around Chico with this guy:

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DAVE & MACHU
Dave tends a small herd of goats on his property, but he also has Machu & Picchu, two gorgeous llamas, to help him keep the goats safe.

i spent a couple days last week out in Chico with Dave and it was so so so nice. it was my first trip out to visit him since we opened The Mill, and it was just as refreshing and relaxing as ever. it was also the first time that i’d actually gone to the Chico Farmer’s Market with him, to see the breads get handed off to his customers in person. it was pretty crazy – in about 4 hours he sold just under 400 loaves of bread to a steady stream of regulars. and this isn’t special, this is just what happens every week. watching the mutual appreciation expressed between him and all his customers was very special for me.

last week me and the whole JBB crew went out to Bolinas for our first overnight retreat. we spent the afternoon on the beach surfing and swimming and drinking micheladas, and then headed back to my good and generous buddy Kacey’s home:

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the evening was spent bbqing and playing ridiculously entertaining games such as ‘spikenpuppen’ and ‘pomme bomb.’ wish i could share images of these in action, but i’ll just let your imagination work with this – one of the games involved picking up a crab apple with your butt cheeks. how bout them apples?

on a more professional note, as i am a man interested in mills and milling and all things related, last week i made a trip up to the Bale Grist Mill in St. Helena. what a spectacular glimpse into the past this thing is! i couldn’t actually go inside, but i snapped some nice pics, take a looksee:

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tomorrow ushers in October, and i am ready for it, i love autumn. hope you’re ready for it too my dogs.

hearts & rainbows 4eva,

j

 

 

our noses are all up on that grindstone

awwww yeahhhhhhhhh now it’s really on.

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LETTING GO COMPLETELY
last night i taught a sourdough class, and it began with everyone practicing the art of “letting go completely.” they did a very good job and i was very impressed.

this week we’re gonna start milling about half of the whole wheat we use in the bakery (we’re going through a whopping 6,000 lbs of whole wheat per month!!!), and by next week we are going to be milling ALL of our whole wheat flour. by the end of the month we should be offering up said flours for sale at The Mill to all you lovely bakers and soon-to-be-bakers. so get pumped please.

DUDES IT’S ABOUT TO HAPPEN THE MILL IS GOING TO BE THE MILL FOR REAL I CANNOT EVEN STAND IT.

ahem, i can, and will stand it. and you should too. cuz its gonna be very rad.

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WORKINGMAN’S BREAD
this is one of our newest breads, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. it’s a sexy little whole grain beast – half whole rye, half whole wheat, jam packed with a bunch of sprouted rye berries. right now we are milling the rye at The Mill, and a week from now we’ll be milling the wheat too. so. damn. stoked.

we’ve been talking with a lovely little farm very close to us here in SF, and we should be getting our first delivery of wheat within the next couple of weeks. will tell you all about them once we are stone milling up a storm. and i don’t wanna speak too soon, but once we start stone milling all that flour, i think you’re going to notice the difference in the bread. but you don’t have to take my word for it – come get a loaf and let me know what you think.

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BIRD BREAD
speaking of new breads, this is another new guy: bird bread. when the bird bread comes out really nice, here in the bakery we say, “man, that bird bread is mad sqawky today.” its our whole wheat loaf filled & covered with sunflower and millet. come get a loaf and if you don’t like it you know who will.

while i am getting all excited and writing in ALL CAPS, i should let you know about a very sweet exchange that we’re gonna do at The Mill in a couple of months… we’re going to host a baker from Germany, Bavaria to be exact. i’ve been speaking with the folks at the German Consulate about this for weeks, but i just spoke with Mr. Josef Wagner himself the other day. we got along swimmingly, and i invited him to come along and spend November with us at The Mill. it’s going to be awesome – we’ll teach him how we do things at JBB, and he will teach us how he does things at his bakery back in Bavaria. during that time we will be trying out some new breads and goodies, but don’t you worry, i will keep you abreast of all this excitement.

WONDER BREAD every once in a while a loaf goes missing... til we walk out into the backyard and find it sunning itself in the bushes. silly wonder bread, you're so sneaky.

WONDER BREAD
every once in a while a loaf goes missing… til we walk out into the backyard and find it sunning itself in the bushes. silly wonder bread, you’re so sneaky.

folks have been asking me a lot lately when my book is coming out – soon! i still can’t really believe it – i wrote a book! and it’s going to be real! like, a real, live, physical book about bread that i wrote!!! i think it’s gonna be out in January, but i’ll be yelling all about it from every roof top in town, so don’t you worry, you’ll know.

lastly, i wanted to let you all know that we will not  be baking or delivering any bread on Wednesday, September 25. we will still have toast, and pastries, and coffee, and tea, and sweet sweet vibes at The Mill, just no bread for sale. why, you ask, why why WHY? because i’m taking the whole JBB team on a little retreat, a night up in Bolinas where we shall surf, barbecue, relax in a hot tub, and most definitely NOT bake any bread. since we opened The Mill back on February 13, i’ve been blown away by how much bread and pastries y’all have been eating up, and we’ve been working just as hard as we can to make enough. and so now i just can’t help but give us all a little time away from the bakery, where we can just have ourselves a nice time. thanks for understanding sweeties.

love you sweethearts, and thanks for all the love letters, they make me feel so nice.

<3 josey

p.s. California river trips make me absolutely bonkers with glee. if you haven’t been out there lately, please go soon.

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SUNRISE ON THE STANISLAUS
this is my main man Burl. we accidentally ended up on the Stanislaus and we had ourselves a reaaal good time.

take your clothes off & jump in the river

well dudes, i dare say that things couldn’t get any sweeter.

why baker boy, why do you have that $hit-eating grin on your face, and you’re just oh so happy about stuff???

cuz it’s summer time, and summer time is time for doing stuff like this:

IMG_4037sheesh, do you always have to be showing off your butt??? and come on, i mean, that left foot is like, perfectly placed, otherwise this would be totally inappropriate…

don’t be a prude, we’re all human here.

anyhoo, i’m hanging out on my mom’s porch in Vermont, on the tail end of a truly incredible week spent soaking up New England summer, and i am just so gosh darn stoked about it all. cuz check it out – my vacation here is over, and i am PUMPED to be coming back to SF. pumped to come back to work that i love, with people that i love, eating bread that i love. (i also am very lucky to be coming back to the woman that i love, whom i’ve got locked in… Cathy and i got engaged!).

summer time is the raddest, and we are so spoiled in California (and Vermont too) to have so much incredible wilderness to enjoy. but even for those of you who may not be inclined to “rough it” out to isolated wilderness spots, i have a suggestion for you – just put on that flannel (you know you have at least one that you can get dirty), pack that bag, and go sleep in Golden Gate Park:

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for real – my dear buddy Shawn and I did just that. i’d been searching for someone to accompany me on this adventure for weeks, and of course Shawn was crazy/smart/stupid enough to join me. we left from my house and entered GGP, immediately making friends with a fella who had likely spent a few years getting to know the intricacies of the Park. we parted ways, and Shawn and I hiked all the way to the ocean, opting to slumber at Land’s End, with Poseidon’s whisperings lulling us to sleep.

the next week none other than my bread hero Dave Miller came to visit, and he even spent the morning at the bakery, imparting some of his wisdom directly into a few loaves:

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it was a real joy to share The Mill with Dave, as he was a huge inspiration for the whole thing. and now that we’ve just started milling our own flour, it couldn’t have been better timed. thanks again Dave, you are the man.

that was followed by one last day of photography for my book, which, aside from making a loaf of Adventure Bread (our new super seedy and also gluten-free bread) was really just mostly being silly with Mr. Charlie Hallowell, who is one of the most generous and fun-loving guys on Earth. i think this is gonna be the cover shot:

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good god, after that i took off on another wilderness trip with my boyfriends Rafi & Marcus, and got lost in the Sierra foothills, diving and soaking in bright emerald pool after bright emerald pool, oohing and ahhing at scampering baby brown bears, realizing our life goal that wherever you are is the perfect place to be:

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it was one of the best wilderness trips ever. we actually were pretty darn sure that we were lost for a good part of it. which is a hell of a feeling – like, you’re L*O*S*T in the woods, you don’t know where to go, you don’t know where in the frik you are. turns out we weren’t lost, we were exactly where we were supposed to be. (see, that hippie shit comes in handy now don’t it?)

a day in SF, then i hopped a plane to VT to chill hard in the homeland. i was ridiculously excited about this, as it was my first time home in a year, since i spent the last 12 months obsessing about the bakery, not really able to think about anything else for more than 4 hours. but i hopped on that plane carefree, because the team at The Mill is just so gosh darn full of skill and dedication and spirit, i knew i could take off for a spell and they’d make that magic happen real nice without me.

over the past year my pops has totally fallen in love with mountain biking, and i was totally floored at how hard he can shred:

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after ripping for 2 days with him, i took a day to just drive around these windy backroads without any plans, following my whimsy, sniffing out adventure. i had brunch in Hardwick, visited Mr. Robert Hunt out at Bohemian Bakery in East Calais, then ended up in a big grassy field where i found this man mellowly slicing up his wood-fired rye bread:

IMG_4340who is this righteous looking dude, you wonder? none other than Peter Schumann, the radical badass founder and director of Bread & Puppet Theater. i spent the afternoon in that field watching the theater and then ate that fresh baked rye bread dripping with aioli and drove home with the windows down and a big ol’ $hit-eating grin on my face.

oh yeah, and yesterday me and pops went to our favorite woods waterfall, followed by a trip down the Alpine Slide:

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Vermont, it’s been a real lovely romp, but it’s time for me to go back to SF.

til next time ol buddy,

<3 josey