Fall Baking Retreat “The store customer, who comes home with a package under his arm has learned nothing, except that a ten-dollar bill is a source of power in the market place. The man or woman who has converted material into needed products via tools and skills has matured in the process.” ― Helen Nearing, The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing's Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living These days almost anything can be called artisan, but the true artisan works to transform raw materials into an entirely new state and in doing so also transforms their inner dimension. I have baked almost every day since I was in my early twenties. Different bakeries, different breads, different volumes, different methods and what I cultivated over the past seventeen years is a love for the practice. It is this practice that I seek to share with you over the course of five days together at Pine Mountain Settlement School. I chose Pine Mountain for its dedication to both tradition and innovation. It is still a place a soul can go to learn about the demands and joys of a self-sufficient life. The school is located on 800 acres on Pine Mountain in Harlan County, Kentucky. The historical buildings and winding country roads encourage your troubles to fall away so that you can get busy with the task of fully engaging your hands, mind and heart. Here is a bit about the school in its own words: “Travel back in time with us, to a beautiful mountain valley at the convergence of three streams. Here, in 1913, visionary local leaders and pioneering educators conceived of a school "for the children of the Kentucky mountains." The desire was to transform the mountain community through education by infusing folk tradition with innovative teaching pedagogy. Over the years, the school has changed form. Today, we function as a community non-profit that still uses mountain tradition to address our current problems, although now we provide programming for visitors and school groups as well as community members. " I’ve found it increasingly important to take baking out of bakeries and put in back in the hands of those who wish to smell the sweet aroma of nutty wheat in their own kitchens, schools, community centers and homesteads so it is with great excitement that I can now provide you this method under the wing of a larger school with a wide array of resources. Bread making should be woven into the fabric of a well-rounded day so our afternoons will be spent engaging with nature or weaving and our evenings will be tempered with porch sitting, films and fine Kentucky bourbon. We are holding two retreats. One from November 26th to the 30th and one from December 3rd to the 7th. Come get lost with me in the mountains. We just might find ourselves. And at the very least, there will be fresh bread. Schedule Monday Guests will arrive in the afternoon. A shuttle from the Tri Cities airpot will be provided as needed. Noon to 5:30 P.M. settle in and stroll the main campus. 5:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Opening circle and camp fire dinner with homemade ‘smores. Tuesday Tuesday 8 A.M. to 1 P.M. Mixing bread, learning about flour & sourdough basics. Tuesday 2 P.M. to 5 P.M. Guided hike and short talk on medicinal plants in the region. Tuesday 7 P.M. to 8 P.M. Live music in the Far House. Wednesday Wednesday 8 A.M. to 1 P.M. Baking bread in a wood fired oven. Wednesday 2 P.M. to 5 P.M. Guided creative time on the looms. Wednesday 7 P.M. to 8 P.M. Appalshop film night in the Laurel House. Thursday Thursday 8 A.M. to 1 P.M. Making and baking apple pies in the wood fired oven. Thursday 2 P.M. to 5 P.M. Free time. Thursday 7 P.M to 8 P.M. Kentucky bourbon tasting in the Library. Friday Breakfast at the Far House from 7 A.M. to 9 A.M. Pack up and final stroll around the grounds. Closing circle at Noon with a guided reflection. A shuttle can be provided to the Tri Cities Airport at 1 P.M. or as needed. Retreat Topics “My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know it exits.” Tesla "The more people participate in the process of their own education, and the more people participate in defining what kind of production to produce, and for what and why, the more people participate in the development of their selves. The more people become themselves, the better the democracy." Paulo Freire The odd thing about bread is that in its core it’s essentially nothing. Pockets of air, really. And if bread is a metaphor for the body then we must consider that we too have an empty and vast middle. But let us take this a little further and realize that air itself is a form, not a void and that learning is an uncovering of truth we already possess. Our daily baking sessions from 8 A.M. to Noon will cover: Tuesday
Wheat Antimony 101
Flour characteristics and qualities
Bread mixing by hand
Wood fired oven management
Live fire baking (pizza)
Tending the oven
Baking with residual heat
Scoring and stenciling
Baking on the hearth
Baking in a Pullman pan
Dynamics of pastry 101
Hand mixing pie dough 3 ways
Prepare apple filling
Pie assembly and design
The Oven We have a new oven and it's on wheels! Our bread baking and pizza making will be done in our beautiful, custom built wood fired oven from Elemental Ovens. The oven and the trailer are integrated and designed to bake a variety of goods, boasting modern technology with a pioneer wagon feel. We'll discuss the dynamics of the oven, how I prefer to fire it and what qualities you want to look for if considering a path into wood fired baking. Chopping wood, firing the oven and tending it will be open to anyone who wishes to participate. These activities will take place through out the entire week and you're even welcome to get up at two in the morning and stumble over there with me in pjs to see what a fire looks like in an oven in the middle of the night under cold stars. Daily Meals Breakfast each day will be set up in the Far House from 7 A.M. to 8:00 A.M. Tuesday through Friday. A one hour lunch with a glass of wine will be provided at Noon each day. Dinner will take place in various locations around campus from 5:30 to 6:30. We'll have lots of food on hand for snacks and treats plus hot bread from the oven! Our chef for the retreat is Ilana Freddye. An excellent cook and photographer, Ilana focuses on healthy, veggie based meals and will try to accommodate your dietary needs. Learn more about her here: Ilana Freddye. Accommodations As a retreat participant you will be staying with fellow bakers in Zande or Far House. These are two out of the twenty six beautiful buildings on the Pine Mountain campus. Both houses have shared kitchen, living rooms and wifi. Zande sleeps three and Far House five. The houses are cozy and cabin like. Zande has a wrap around porch and both are nicely tucked away for privacy. Most bedrooms include a door that locks and share a bathroom with other rooms on the floor. The rooms are priced according to comfort. If you stay in Far House we will be using your kitchen for breakfast and a few evening activities so if you need lots of alone time or a quiet space Zande will better suit your desires. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about lodging. Arrival We ask that you arrive no earlier than noon on Monday and stay no later than 1 P.M. on Friday. You are more than welcome to travel to Pine Mountain in a vehicle. Parking will be provided. However, we know that many of you will be flying in from far away. The airport closet to Pine Mountain is the Tri Cities airport in Blountville, Tennesse. It has several flights per day coming in from both Charlotte and Atlanta. We are more than happy to provide a shuttle from the airport to the campus upon request. The cost of an airport shuttle can be added for an additional charge. We will collect the flight arrival times of each person and decide the best time to get you. The cost of the shuttle will be split amongst those using it. You may pay this in cash or check upon arrival. Take Away
An autographed copy of A Baker’s Year
A Smoke Signals t-shirt, tote bag and patch
2 loaves of wood fired, sourdough bread
1 Apple pie
A fresh jar of Smoke Signals six-year sourdough starter
A baking booklet of our formulas and tricks
Room and board from Monday at Noon to Friday at Noon
Three meals per day + coffee + tea + alcohol from Tuesday to Thursday
An opening and closing meal on Monday and Friday
Afternoon courses led by Pine Mountain staff are included in the cost
Any equipment, ingredients or materials for our baking is also included in the cost.
FAQ Limited to 8 participants.
The first course runs from November 26th to the 30th.
The second runs for December 3rd to through the 7th.
We cannot accommodate a spouse, family member or friend who wishes to come with you, but not participate in the workshop sessions.
We ask that you plan on attending the entire time, no partial days or session are available.
These workshops are nonrefundable. Should you be unable to make it you may send a friend or family member in your place.
If you cannot pay in full and wish to register we can work out a despot for half with the balance of due on August 1st. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org