Our first advanced bread workshop finally took place yesterday at UBC Farm. This time around, we had quite a few familiar faces, friends and former customers from the bakery.
While our beginners’ class was all about the basics of baking bread at home, this one was meant to teach the subtleties of baking, to talk about the science of dough and to exchange ideas and stories. A few of the attendees brought home-baked loaves to the workshop, to have them sampled and discussed. After a bit of theory, talking about the different ingredients, showing different types of flours, as well as cracked grains, seeds and flakes, explaining the importance of preferments, soakers and mashes, autolyse, kneading and shaping techniques, we finally got to get our hands dirty. Together, we got to apply some of our knowledge to developed a formula for the evening’s dough.
We had prepared beforehand a preferment, as well as two different types of soakers for the class. Everybody got their little share of the preferment and soakers, and then started measuring their ingredients, weighing water and flour, adding the yeast. As if by magic, the silent, focused group turned into a social and chatty gathering. After incorporating all the ingredients, and during a twenty minute break that allowed for the autolyse, we shared our sourdough starters, we sampled the home-baked loaves, and we chatted about baking and bread.
The kneading part – after the autolyse is complete – is the stage where everybody always has lots of fun: thirty-two hands inside sixteen mixing bowls, kneading the dough to perfection!