Spring Retreat 2019

Smoke Signals Collaboration with Bad Seed Bagels 


"Far from wishing to awaken the artist in the pupil prematurely, the teacher considers it his first task to make him a skilled artisan with sovereign control of his craft." Eugen Herrigel

These days almost anything can be called artisan. 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.

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."

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.

Co-teacher Rich Orris will show us how to make bagels from scratch in a hands on, start to finish process.

Retreat Dates

March 25th-29th

April 1st-5th


Noon to 6 P.M. settle in and stroll the campus

6:00 P.M. Dinner and opening games


7:30 A.M to 8:30 A.M. Breakfast

9 A.M. to Noon  Bread mixing and shaping w/ Tara

Noon to 1 P.M. Lunch

2 P.M. to 5 P.M. Guided hike

6 P.M to 7 P.M. Dinner

7 P.M. to 8 P.M. Old Time music with Kevin Howard


7:30 A.M. to 8:30 A.M Breakfast

9 A.M. to Noon Scoring and baking bread w/ Tara

Noon to 1 P.M. Lunch

2 P.M. to 5 P.M. Guided creative time on the looms

6 P.M. to 7 P.M. Dinner

7 P.M. to 8 P.M. Appalshop film night


7:30 A.M. to 8:30 A.M. Breakfast

9 A.M. to Noon Bagel making w/ Rich

Noon to 1 P.M. Lunch

1 P.M. to 6 P.M. OPEN TIME

6 P.M. to 7 P.M. Dinner

7 P.M to 8 P.M. Bourbon tasting with Kristin Smith


7:30 A.M. to 8:30 A.M. Breakfast

9 A.M. to Noon Pack up and final stroll around the grounds

Baking Lesson Material

  • Wheat 101

  • Flour characteristics and qualities

  • Home milling

  • Bread mixing by hand

  • Gluten development

  • Shaping techniques

  • Proofing sourdough bread

  • Wood fired oven management

  • Live fire baking

  • How to keep a sourdough starter

  • Baking with residual heat in a wood fired oven

  • How to bake a perfect loaf at home

  • Scoring bread

  • Mixing and shaping bagels

  • Boiling and baking bagels

  • How to make delicious bagel spreads

  • How to properly store bread & bagels

  • Bakers math 101

  • How to write your own bread formula


  • All meals will be served in the kitchen of Far House

  • Breakfast 7:30 A.M. to 8:30 A.M.

  • Lunch 12:30 A.M. to 1:30 P.M.

  • Dinner 6 P.M. to 7 P.M.

We are excited have Brennan Johnson as our guest chef!

Please notify us of any food allergies or concerns. This week will include gluten, nuts and dairy.

Let us know if you are vegetarian or vegan. Note there may be meat being cooked in Far House.

If you have favorite wines, treats or other foods please shop ahead and bring them with you.


As a retreat participant you will be staying with fellow bakers in Zandee or Far House. These are two out of the twenty six beautiful buildings on the Pine Mountain campus. Both houses have a shared kitchen, living rooms, laundry and wifi. Zandee sleeps three and Far House five. Far house is one of the newest buildings on campus while Zandee has historical charm and a classic camp vibe.  Both are nicely tucked away for privacy. Most bedrooms include a door that locks and share a bathroom with other rooms on the floor.

If you stay in Far House we will be using your kitchen for breakfast and dinner. If you need lots of alone or quiet time Zandee will better suit you. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about lodging.


You are welcome to travel to Pine Mountain in a vehicle. Parking will be provided.

The airport closest to Pine Mountain is the Tri Cities airport in Blountville, Tennesse. It has several flights per day coming in from Charlotte and Atlanta.

We are happy to provide a shuttle from the airport to the campus upon request for an additional charge. It’s a 2.5 hour ride. The cost of the shuttle will be split amongst those using it. You may pay upon arrival.

Take Away

  • An autographed copy of A Baker’s Year

  • A custom Smoke Signals t-shirt, tote bag and patch

  • 2 loaves of sourdough, wood fired bread

  • Bagels!

  • A baking booklet of our formulas and tricks

  • A few new friends

Rich Orris

Bad Seed Bagels, Asheville, NC

Rich Orris is a self-taught baker whose obsession with gluten began after an ill-fated move to a small town in New England where there was nothing to do and nowhere to eat. Since moving to his current homestead in Asheville, he has been working on perfecting and teaching the food of his youth, the bagel. Rich approaches baking with a degree in math, but also recognizes the beautiful chaos of wild yeast. Passionate about community and sustainable food systems, Rich is a co-organizer of the Asheville Bread Festival and runs a pizza and bagel pop-up series called Bad Seed, named for the oft-demonized wheat that is so important in our culture.


Tara Jensen

Smoke Signals, Planet Earth

Jensen runs Smoke Signals, a wood fired, mobile baking school. She likes pizza and dogs and prays for world peace everyday. Bread is her method and her medium for making a meaningful life.


Cost Includes

  • Room and board from Monday at Noon to Friday at Noon

  • Three meals per day + coffee + tea + alcohol

  • Afternoon courses led by Pine Mountain staff are included in the cost

  • Any equipment, ingredients or materials for our baking


Limited to 8 participants.

You must be 21 or over to attend.

We will be standing during baking sessions. Chairs may be provided as needed.

We will be baking outside in all kinds of weather so please bring appropriate clothing.

In the event that Smoke Signals cancels the retreat we will attempt to provide you with registration in another retreat within a reasonable period of time.  If we cannot we will make a full refund to you.

Registration is non refundable. Should you be unable to make it you may send a friend or family member in your place.

We cannot issue any refunds due to weather related travel delays.

We ask that you plan on attending the entire time, no partial days or session are available.

Please inform us well in advance of any allergies or health conditions that we should know about.