Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Baking Class

On Saturday, I (Carla) took a baking class. The class, which was a 2 hour introduction to sour dough bread baking, was offered by Meyer's Bakery. Claus Meyer, who owns the numerous Meyer's Bakeries, is the co-founder of the restaurant Noma (you may remember that we went to Noma back in October, and it has been voted the best restaurant in the world for 3 years in a row). Meyer doesn't teach the course himself, but it was still fun to be in one of his professional testing kitchens.
The course was taught in Danish. I was able to understand a good bit of it, but there was a lot I didn't fully understand. Oh well, incentive for improving my Danish. The class started with a lecture about sour dough starters, how to make one, and how to keep it alive. The teacher also explained the science behind yeast, sough dough, and baking. It was quite interesting. Then we got to the actual baking part. We ground our own whole wheat flour, mixed live yeast into water, added salt and the flours, then some pumpkin seeds and soaked wheat grains. Then we got to kneading. I learned about pulling your dough high into the air to elongate the gluten strands. After 10 minutes of solid kneading and pulling, everyone in the class was covered with flour and sticky dough. It was an amusing sight.
Since the dough needs to rest for several hours, I didn't bake my dough in class. Instead, the instructor had the class baked some dough that he made the day before. I learned about shaping and proper cutting techniques. After the bread was baked, the class got to eat it with some butter, home-made jams, and local cheeses. Before heading home, we were given a box to store our own dough, plus a container of some sour dough starter (pictured above).
The day after my class, I prepared the dough I had made in class. I let it rest, attempted to shaped it into baguettes, tried to create a bit of steam in my oven, and baked the two quasi-baguettes (let's call them rustic baguettes, shall we?). The dough didn't rise as much as I would have liked, and I created a bit too much steam in my oven. However, the bread stated pretty good. Because of the sour dough started in it, it's staying fresh longer than my previous home-made breads. I will have to keep working on the recipe and on my technique. I also have to work on keeping my sour dough starter alive! After taking it home, I 'fed' it with equal parts water and flour (1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 white flour). I stir it twice a day. I think I will feed it again before I leave for Vienna tomorrow, which will hopefully keep it happy during the 4 days I'll be out of town.

No comments:

Post a Comment