I Have a Confession to Make
My friends and acquaintances who know I like to bake would sometimes ask me to bake bread for them. My response was, “I don’t do bread.” No explanation, just “I don’t do bread.” Well, I have a confession to make. I didn’t do bread because I had a fear of yeast. When I was about five years old my Big Mom made some bread dough, covered it and sat it in the oven overnight to rise. When I went to bed that night, I dreamed that the bread did rise, broke down the oven door, filled the kitchen and eventually the house. Ok, I know this sounds absurd but remember, I was 5. Anyway, that dream was the birth of my fear of yeast.
Overcoming My Fear
Determined to overcome that fear and bake some bread, I took the Viking Cooking School’s, Italian Artisan Breads Workshop. It’s a five hour class of baking, baking and more baking. The breads we made in class were Pain Italien (Italian Bread from Monaco), Pan bigio (Rustic Whole Wheat “Integrale”). Panmarino (Rosemary Bread) and Pane agli Spinaci (Spinach Bread). Demonstration recipes, courtesy of Jim Kolka, were: Pane Pugliese with Olives, Walnuts and Rosemary, and Pane di Altamura.
There were six of us in this class, all of whom had some type of baking experience so we didn’t exactly start from scratch. Two groups of three to measure, mix, knead, shape, spritz and bake.
Our instructors were Sandra and Jim Kolka. Sandra is on the staff at the Viking Cooking School and teaches quite a few bread making and baking classes.
Jim, Sandra’s husband, is actually an attorney who bakes bread as a hobby; but he’s no slouch, he’s a master baker. They make a great team – one a stickler for “This is the way it should be done” and the other “Oh, that’s not really necessary.” Jim enjoys telling stories about his bread making adventures and the history of bread. Sandra wants Jim to move along because we have lots of bread to bake in a short amount of time. In other words, they are a hoot, but we came away from the class with a good understanding of how to make a loaf of Italian bread.
Pictures from Class
Other than baking the bread, the best part was eating the breads at the end of class AND we had bread to bring home. Yum yum.
When I got home, I divided the bread into three packages wrapped in plastic wrap and into a zip lock bag. I kept one and shared the other two with my daughter and my mom. Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait to try the spinach bread when I got home so I made a snack and dove right in. OMG, it was delicious and it’s all gone! I ate the rest at dinner the next day.
Sometime in the near future the spinach bread and rosemary bread will be on my “to do” list.