Neil Robinson

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Artisan Bread Making Class

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I recently had a group of people in, both adults and young adults, for a class in home artisan sourdough bread making. Teaching people how to make artisan sourdough bread is not an easy thing to do. The entire process from start to finish the way I bake takes about 22-24 hours, starting with refreshing the starter. There would be no way to show all aspects of the process easily without ending up with a lot of waste.

What I decided to do is to bake one set of loaves the night before, using my baking stone (to demonstrate one technique), and then prepare a starter to bake again the next day.

Bread class, stone-baked sourdough bread

Bread class, stone-baked sourdough bread

In the morning I then mixed a new dough, since that part is not that particularly difficult (it is just measuring ingredients and mixing them, then pulling the dough four to five times). I timed it so that the dough would be ready to split into loaves when the class began.

Bread class splitting loaves

Bread class splitting loaves

During the class I discussed how to refresh a starter, how to mix the dough, and then demonstrated how to split the dough into loaves and shape them. I showed the group the proofing baskets and discussed alternative methods for proofing. I then placed one loaf in a proofing basket and divided the other into four parts to make pizzas on the baking stone. I also had the finished loaves from the night before and a cheese platter to eat with the bread.

We ate all four of the pizzas and eventually the small group of us that were left (around three hours later), ate up all of the bread that came out of the oven.

Several people took some starter away to try baking at home.

All in all, it was a great day :).

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