My Food Story

I’ve felt at home in the kitchen for as long as I can remember. When I was young and faced with stressful experiences and big emotions, I found solace in the kitchen. It was a place I felt safe, where I was able to express my wild, creative nature in peace. It was also a place where relationships grew. I still have fond memories of afternoons spent with friends, mixing together random ingredients, hoping to bake something tasty.

As I approached my teens, my baking began to grow to bigger and better things, creating recipes from quiches to cupcakes and more. And now as an adult, getting to share my passion for food and nurture not only my own family, but also the guests I get to serve as the baker at the Marie Bed & Breakfast, is simply a blessing beyond measure.

I may not have trained in a culinary institute, but I am indeed a chef. And I will never deny myself that truth again. Because I have come to understand that being a chef, as well as anything in the creative arts, means so much more than just a college degree. A true chef and artist works not only with technical expertise, but with love from the heart. And that love isn’t something you get in a school, it comes from intuition and experience.

A WILD YEAST ADVENTURE

My bread baking journey began in August 2019. I had been on a mission for some time before then to simplify my life. The fast pace of today’s world had been weighing heavily on me and I felt myself being crushed with the burden. So over the course of that year, I began changing my daily life to slow the pace, reduce my commitments, and start living in a more sustainable way for my mental and physical health. Making bread from scratch with traditional methods felt like a natural step in the process. By the time the rest of the world slowed down to join me in 2020, I was on my way. And I haven’t looked back since!

TREASURE FROM THE KLONDIKE

In the summer of 2021, I stumbled upon a treasure that has become a special piece of living history in my kitchen. While traveling, I came across a pizza shop selling their sourdough starter that originated from the 1890’s Klondike Gold Rush. I simply could not resist and purchased some to take home. After a few weeks of baking with the starter, I knew it was truly special and I quickly retired my own starter and switched to working solely with this gem from the Klondike!

TUSCAN DREAMING

At the root of my passion for traditional cooking and cultural history is a deep love for Italy. Much of my cooking is inspired by Italian culture and cuisine, especially that of the Tuscany region. My long term goal is to retire to Italy in my old age, but until then I like to travel there in spirit through food, history, and language!

COMING HOME BY THE WAY OF BREAD

During my late teens and early twenties, my love for culinary art took a back burner as I struggled with mental and physical health, the reality a broken home and relationships, and the trauma that had haunted me for years. I was at the end of my rope.

At the beginning of 2013, I set out to turn my life around, get off prescription medication, and really start healing. That year, I went through an incredible transformation that has forever shaped the woman I am today. And during that year, I started to cook again.

When January 2014 arrived, I finally had the courage to walk away from the trail of ruin that had followed me for years. Leaving the failed relationships, addictions, and all but a few small possessions behind me, I started over. Soon after, I met that man that would become my husband and we quickly fell in love and started our family. From the very beginning of our life together, food and my deep desire to cook for him was a big part of our relationship.

As we grew as a couple, added children to the mix, and faced tremendous adversity as a family, the time we all spent together in the kitchen helped keep us strong and bonded together. And when I finally added homemade bread to our daily lives, the feeling of warmth and love was undeniable. I had finally found my way and I was able to put the pain and sorrow of the past behind me.

BREADVENTURES AT OLY BREAD

For quite some time my friends and family had been asking me, “When are you going to start selling your bread? It’s SO good!” But until 2023, I hadn’t really taken the thought seriously. Then one evening my husband came to me out of the blue and said, “Did you know that olybread.com is available?” So we checked it out and ended up purchasing the domain that night, still not sure what we would do with it.

Fast forward to today and this bread-venture is on its way! I’m not yet sure when retail may become a reality for me. But in the meantime, I am so thrilled to get to bake professionally as the resident bread boss over at The Marie Bed & Breakfast! You can also follow along with regular bread and baking content on Instagram @OlyBread!

Recipes on the Blog

Caramel Apple Cider Cake

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No milk. No eggs. No butter. Am I serious!? You better believe it! When resources were scarce due to war and other economic hardships, the homemakers of generations past had to make due with limited ingredients while still feeding their families. Things like dairy and eggs were hard to come by. So they improvised. Enter,…

Starting a Sourdough

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I first began my bread baking journey back in August 2019 and let me tell you, I’ve come a LONG way since then. Baking bread, and sourdough in particular, is both an art and a science that takes much trial and error to create that ideal crusty loaf of carby perfection. I honestly had no…

Blackberry Chèvre Cheesecake

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With our home grown abundance of blackberries, and summer season coming to an end, I wanted to make something special for our family this past week. I started with a cinnamon, pecan, and graham cracker crust. Followed by the sweet and tangy blend of chèvre, cream cheese, and sour cream. Then our teenage son prepared…