Monday, April 19, 2010

Slow Food Breadmaking Class

On Saturday, the first ever Slow Food Breadmaking Class got rolling at 9:00 a.m. with six students and three presenters. We learned breadmaking techniques, and shaped and baked personal artisan boules from dough Angela brought. Tracy showed us how to mix and knead molasses-wheat bread, and we shaped little loaves of it to take home and bake.

We also ate a lot of bread! We tasted limpa, molasses-wheat, Ashland bread, chai bread (Angela wants to try it with rye so she can call it chai rye), rosemary sourdough, and 100% whole wheat rolls made from fresh-ground wheat.

As everyone knows, homemade bread is all good, but FRESH homemade bread is ethereal. Using the methods they've been experimenting with from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Tracy and Angela showed us how to keep a bowl of fresh bread dough in the fridge for two weeks, during which time a hunk of it can be shaped and baked anytime you wish. Who isn't for saving work but getting great bread at the same time? Wonderful stuff. And no kneading! Just mix, refrigerate, and the dough is there when you have a hankering for a fresh, crusty loaf.

As always, successful breadmaking results in the desire to experiment further, and try new things. Angela and Tracy are thinking about Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day for their next area of exploration.

Becky talked about her sourdough and wheat-grinding experiences and handed out little containers of sourdough starter for interested bakers. This starter's life began in Becky's parents' grape vineyard ... the yeast was obtained from grapes submerged in flour and water according to the method used in Nancy Silverton's Breads from LaBrea Bakery.

It's an amazing experience to share three hours in a kitchen with eight enthusiastic people who love food, bread, and baking. Hosting a Slow Food class is highly recommended!

Here's our group, except for Angela, who's shown in the next picture taking our artisan boules from the oven. (L-R: Darci, Cathy, James, Tracy, Becky, Madeleine, Peggy, and Lisa.)


  1. We all had such a good time on Saturday! The Ashland bread was just incredible - thanks so much for sharing the recipe (and the bread)! I think I'm sold for good on using freshly ground whole wheat too! Lisa

  2. That was a great class, Becky! You and Angela and Tracy did a great job. I REALLY loved the molasses wheat bread, and I can't wait to put my/your starter to work this weekend! :) Sincerely, thank you for that.

  3. You ALL are to be commended! You *almost* inspire me to try again to bake bread from scratch. Alas, the bricks I've baked still stand out way too much in memory. What I love is how you are keeping alive a time-honored craft. Can I come and watch at your next event?
    Signed: Faithful Follower of Becky's blog

  4. Dame, we/I welcome anyone who loves bread and the making thereof. I feel there WILL be a next time, but in the meantime, we can arrange an impromptu breadmaking session if we wish.