At the beginning of the class you will be given a binder with all the recipes and places to keep notes. This will provide reference for everything discussed and practiced in class so that you can continue to build and iterate the skills acquired during bread camp. You will also take home a sourdough leaven that you will refresh and maintain so there will be no shortage of amazing breads for you to share with your friends and family.
Artisan Bread School Camp – Day 1
As we begin the first day of Artisan Bread School Camp, you will quickly realize just how much there is to learn about artisan bread making and the skills required to produce a loaf with amazing flavor, proper texture and artisanal beauty. We will begin the class by setting some goals as to what we would like to accomplish during the week. You will be introduced to a foundation of bread making skills that you will continue to build upon throughout the class. We will discuss the following:
- Mise en place – This French term, translated as “putting in place”, is the most important fundamental skill we will practice. This refers to your tools, equipment and ingredients.
- Methodology and Theory – While we understand that you are anxious to get your hands in the dough, understanding the history of the grains you use and how they are processed shows you a more complete picture of your products.
- Essential Skills – This will cover everything from hydration to kneading, shaping to dough development, and preferments to baking in a wood fired oven or how to get the same loaf baked in a home oven.
After lunch, we will get our hands in the dough and you will begin to learn through repetition of skills and muscle memory. We will start creating your very own sourdough leaven from nothing more than our freshly milled Louismill Organic Turkey Red Heritage Wheat and water. We will continue over the next four days to nurture this starter, so that it will be strong and active when you take it home with you. We will then practice the skills discussed in the morning session by making Focaccia and a Sourdough Country Loaf, focusing on the techniques of mixing, hand kneading, folding and shaping.
A family style dinner of MozzaPi pizza will bring everyone together and give us time to find out more about each other and what brings each baker to the Artisan Bread School.
Artisan Bread School Camp – Day 2
We will begin by reviewing Day 1 and answering any questions that might have arisen. We will then start milling our very own organic flour to be used in Country Loaves. We will talk all about the wheat properties, types of flours, their uses, etc. while we watch the mill create beautiful fresh flour. We will also dig a little deeper into some of those topics we covered during the previous class, so that you can gain a more firm grasp on these essential ideas. Then we will begin our baking day by refreshing our personal sourdough leaven and discussing how important time and temperature are as ingredients. Now that you have amassed some basic skills, we will reinforce those skills by making Focaccia and Country Loaf again (repetition).
Who doesn’t love pizza? After lunch we will explore different pizza crust models and the foundations of what makes these crusts so different. We will make our own Neapolitan pizza crusts by mixing, hand kneading and folding (skills we learned from making Focaccia and Country Loaves).
While we will bake our Country Loaves, which fermented overnight, we will talk about wood ovens, covering topics from how to build one to the thermal properties that make them so great to bake bread in. We will discuss and dissect the differences between firing in a wood fired oven and baking at home, learning some tips of the trade so that the color, flavor and texture of your home baked loaves resembles that of a wood fired oven.
We will close out our second day at the Artisan Bread School by shaping our bread loaves to bake the next day and discussing preferments, firm starters and how they are used.
Artisan Bread School Camp – Day 3
We will again start the day by feeding our sourdough leaven. You will be able to see the changes that have begun in this fresh grain leaven as it starts to smell very much like sourdough. As you continue to gain confidence and skills, we will begin to delve into variations of the Country Loaves. We will explore the concept of folding in items like sprouted wheat, cherries, walnuts, and sprouted rye. There will be some group discussion on why ancient and sprouted grains are important, how to sprout your own grains at home and how these grains differ from common grains.
Remember those pizza crusts we made yesterday? Today we get to discuss how to shape those crusts, how to fire them and most importantly….what to put on top of them. Yum.. we just made our lunch!
We will close out the third day of Artisan Bread School by learning to make Ciabatta, focusing on how preferments can be used with sourdough to create complex flavor. We will also start our bagels for tomorrow’s lunch, which we will be baking the traditional way on soaked cedar boards in the wood oven.
Artisan Bread School Camp – Day 4
Like small children or pets, your leaven needs to be fed every day as you create it (we will also discuss how to keep your starter going when you are on vacation or planning to take some time off from your everyday baking). To further cement our muscle memory and artisan baking skills, we will start the day by making Focaccia. However, we will modify these loaves by adding variations, such as roasted red pepper, and grape. We will also learn about making sourdough English Muffins using a preferment and our Louismill stone ground cornmeal.
We will also shape and bake our sourdough bagels in the wood fired oven. This is a great opportunity to learn about the different flavors that you can add to a homemade bagel. Our batches of fresh bagels will be baked the traditional way, using soaked cedar planks placed in our wood fired oven. Be sure to let your creativity shine, as we will be eating these delicious bagels for lunch!
Next we will enter the world of the commercial baker! We will discuss baking in larger quantities and you will learn how to use a commercial fork mixer and how this differs from hand mixing. (We will also discuss mixing and folding in tubs for larger batches). By mixing and shaping 40 loaves, you will have the opportunity to experience baking bread in larger volumes, as well as getting plenty of practice in shaping and crafting multiple loaves.
Artisan Bread School Camp – Day 5
After feeding our leaven, it will be ready to transport home. We will also be sending you home with a lifetime of Artisan Bread School memories and tasty treats. Today you will get hands-on experience in firing the 40+ loaves we shaped yesterday. Utilizing the wood oven, you will learn the essential techniques for what it takes to fire the perfect sourdough loaf. You will also have plenty of loaves to practice different scoring techniques. By now, you will have the skills necessary to call yourself an artisan baker and you will possess the necessary fundamental skills, muscle memory and recipes to go home and share your knowledge with friends and family.