Summer Is Upon Us

Good morning from Nanaimo! Today is the second last Monday of school. Kiddo flip-flops between excited and bummed. Yes summer break is coming and that means potential for lazy mornings, and afternoons in the yard with water guns. But it also means not seeing friends daily and that can be a struggle for an only child, so I can appreciate her wanting school to never end. That said, she’s going to have an amazing summer. It’s the first summer with my sister in town and I expect there will be lots of market trips, beach days, and swims at Grandma’s house. Plus a fair number of play dates and sleepovers. 


Speaking of markets, none of the ones here compare with the markets of Provence but I’m making a point to keep going in order to help support local growers/bakers/artists. They won’t get better if no one goes, right? We have several markets around here that I’m just learning of and starting to explore. Some better than others. We discovered a Tuesday night market in a town just 15mins north of me (where my parents live) that’s pretty decent. We went on opening night, in the rain, last week and quite enjoyed ourselves. I was hoping to find more produce but otherwise I liked what I saw, and I thoroughly enjoyed the food trucks! We stopped at Knockananna Grill for a burger and poutine: amazing!! Might just have to do that again tomorrow. 


There are a few markets around that are heavier in the produce side of things, but I wish they all had them. I would love to be able to grab fixings for summer salads, etc without having to wait until crack of dawn Saturday to go shopping. You know? Our Friday market, sadly, has gone quite downhill. It’s the market I had a cookie stall at a few years ago and it was a decent market back then. There seem to be half as many stalls now and none of them have produce even though it’s the “Downtown Nanaimo Farmer’s Market.” Unfortunately I t’s mostly just a craft fair now. Not what I was looking for and likely won’t return, though there was one stall selling cheese curds so I may have to go back just for that!

This week we have a new market starting in town on Thursday night and I plan on checking it out, so follow me on Instagram if you want to see what it’s like.  I’m hopeful! They are promising food trucks, numerous vendors, and lots of fun. So fingers crossed! 


In the meantime I will leave you with the chocolate brioche I made last week. Delicious! Takes a bit of time but I got the dough ready one evening, next morning before school drop off I prepped it with the chocolate and set it for it’s final rise (in pan), and then baked it when I got home an hour later. Perfect!

Not sure how much baking I’ll be doing this week since our temps are supposed to reach the low 30s (with high 30s humidexes) for several days. May be time to pull out the ice cream maker!

What are you baking/grilling/freezing this time of year? 

Chocolate Brioche (recipe by Bake From Scratch

1/3 C whole milk, warm (around 100F) 
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
3 1/4 C all-purpose flour, divided
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp kosher salt
1 C unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C dark chocolate, chopped
egg wash

Phase 1

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle combine the milk, sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 10mins, until foamy.  Add 1 1/2 C flour, and the eggs (one at a time). Beat on medium-low speed until smooth. Remove paddle, cover, and let stand for 30-45mins. Bubbles should form around the edges by the end of the resting time.

Attach the dough hook and add remaining 1 3/4 C flour and the salt. Knead at medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls from the sides of the bowl. Should be smooth and elastic (8-10mins). 

With mixer running add the butter 1 tbsp at a time, allowing each piece to be fully incorporated before you add the next. 

Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 1.5 to 2.5hrs. Dough should double in size.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, fold a few times to knock out the air, return to bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight for 8 to 16 hrs.

Phase 2 

 Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray with flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down and sprinkle the chocolate onto the dough. Fold, and knead to incorporate the chocolate. Shape into a loaf and place seam side down in the pan. Cover and allow to rise in a warm spot for 30-40mins. Dough should be slightly puffed. 

Preheat oven to 400F. 

Brush the risen loaf with egg wash and bake for 15mins. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and continue baking until golden brown and internal temp registers 190F, 30 to 40 mins more. 

Allow to cool fully on a rack. 


As as always I want to know what you’re up to. Are you baking anything of mine? Be sure to tag #ragebake on Instagram or comment below.