Making bread and music at Brooksville bakery

Music teacher Lake Larsson (far right) leads a group of her ukulele students. Standing in the back row: Lori Connor, Nicky Larson on drums, and Kim Peralta. In the front row: Jeanne Gaudette and Martha Jordan.

The Tinder Hearth Bakery is known for producing two things: delicious Old World-style baked goods and home-spun musical entertainment.

When Tim Semler and his wife, Lydia Moffet, started the bakery in 2007, they wanted to bake bread in a brick, wood-fired oven to preserve the grain’s flavor.

The brick oven was added to the 1900s farmhouse in 2009. Since then, the Tinder Hearth Bakery has produced six different types of homemade bread — European-style sourdough, French, Maine-grown whole wheat, spelt (an ancient species of wheat), German rye and raisin.

The bakery also is known for its buttery croissants and all-organic pizzas.

The couple also kept alive a tradition of the old farmhouse hosting an “open mic” performance with live musical entertainment.

brooksville open mic cw 059One Sunday afternoon a month from July to through September, performers are welcome to take the stage in the old barn adjacent to the farmhouse. One such Sunday, 16 different acts signed up for the 10-minute slots available from 5 to 9 p.m.

The performers can range from a group of local ukulele students to touring professional acts such as Hymn For Her, a Philadelphia-based duo playing blues and country rock music, The duo released its latest CD, “Smokin Flames,” last April.

Tinder Hearth’s stage, though, is mainly a place for local, amateur acts wanting to share their talent with the public.

“It stems from the tradition of the old New England barn dances,” Semler said. “This is where a group of people get together in a casual setting to enjoy themselves. They spend time with their friends and families and hear some really good, locally performed music.”

All are welcome to perform as long as the material is appropriate for all ages.

“If you think it’s worth listening to, you’re welcome to perform,” Semler said.

BUCK-tinderhearth 005The only rules are that no drugs or alcohol be consumed on the premises.

Soloist Sarah Ehrlich, of Brooksville, is a regular performer. She began attending the open-mic sessions years ago as a spectator. Now she comes to each performance looking forward to playing her blend of blues, country and folk music before an appreciative audience.

“I’ve come here for years,” Ehrlich said. “I’m a musician and I love to play. It’s a great event and it’s wonderful to see so many people come and enjoy a day of music.”

Open mic at the Tinder Hearth pre-dates Semler and Moffet operating the bakery. Semler knows all about the open mic tradition in Brooksville. He was born in the old farmhouse that has hosted the community musical event.

Semler’s mother, Lake Larsson, began open mic at the old farmhouse in 2004. Larsson, a professional musician who has performed with Bo Didley, wanted a place for people to play regardless of their ability.

“Open mic is great because you can make mistakes. It gives you an opportunity to learn how to play in front of an audience,” Larsson said.