The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Teresa_in_nc

Earlier this month I participated in Paney Camp 2007, a bread making learning session with participants from the Garden Web Cooking Forum. I was the teacher and my "students" were from all over: California, Colorado, Michigan, Louisiana, Florida, and North Carolina. Our base camp was a delightful Bed & Breakfast in Oak Ridge, NC which is near Greensboro and very close to the airport. My quilting friend, Marilyn, and her husband Don own the B&B and she has a large kitchen, just right for lots of people making lots of bread.

We began by making a sponge after our kick-off dinner (NC BBQ) followed by Shaker Daily Loaf (a white bread) and Herbed Country French Loaves (using the sponge) the next morning. We continued our baking by making Struan Bread and Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread. Soft Butter Knot Rolls and Orange Sweet Rolls followed the grain breads. The seven students worked in pairs, taking turns mixing and kneading. I tried my best to help some of them improve their kneading skills - LOL! One class member was a standout at kneading, having made bread regularly years ago. Her breads had a vastly different feel to them which I attributed to her kneading skills.

This group of experienced cooks did a champion job of cleaning up the kitchen every day! And I didn't even have to ask them to clean up or ask that they be quiet while I was talking! Going on field trips was a bit like "herding cats" for me though - LOL!

We went to the Old Mill of Guilford after a lunch break the first baking day. I purchased a few things for the class recipes at that time, but I was very pleased to have organized the class so well that we did not once have to run down the street to the grocery store the entire time - Wednesday evening to Sunday morning.

Thursday night we went to L'Italiano, a very good local Italian restaurant in High Point. Friday we alloted to shopping at the Vietri outlet in Hillsborough, A Southern Season in Chapel Hill (where we had a wonderful lunch at their Weathervane Cafe) and Replacements, Ltd. on I-40/85 near Greensboro. Dinner Friday night was at Blue Water Grille in High Point where we had delicious seafood, fish, and pork.

Saturday began with a morning visit to the NC Farmer's Market nearby. We found lots of vegetables and goat cheese for our pizza lesson that day. We continued class with Focaccia and pizza dough from the Basic Pizza Primer found here at The Fresh Loaf. I asked for questions Saturday afternoon and an hour later we finished up with the Q&A session! We concluded Paney Camp with homemade pizza on Saturday evening.

Our B&B hosts provided a delicous Italian Breakfast Strata (made with our breads) for our brunch on Sunday morning. Two members left for their 11:00 am flight and the other campers went to Old Salem and SECCA in Winston Salem, just a few miles west of the B&B location. All the campers had a chance to pack up bread we had made to take home if they had room. After our fond good-byes, I packed up and came home where I promptly crashed and didn't move for several hours - LOL!

All in all, I think the breadmaking camp and classes went very well. We couldn't do anything about the 100 degree temp heat wave that the whole Southeast and other parts of the nation was experiencing in early August. And...it's supposed to get up to 100 again today. Even though the B&B had A/C, it was about 85 in the kitchen with the ovens going all day. We did change our plans to go shopping after my friend at the Goat Lady Dairy called and said it was miserably hot there and they had no A/C in their cheese tasting room. Our planned trip to the potteries around Seagrove was also canceled due to the heat. But as the camp teacher/tour guide, I just went with the flow of what the campers wanted to do and everything was fine. I did make sure to call ahead and cancel our visits to the Dairy and the pottery where I had scheduled a demonstration.

Last year's camp was Canning Camp in Michigan, where the campers learned to can and make jams, salsa, etc. Next year may be Pastry Camp, but the location has not been set yet. In two years....maybe cooking classes in Italy??? I am soooo getting ready for that one!

Teresa, the "Doughmaster" (the name the campers gave me)

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Teresa_in_nc

Today is Saturday, a bread baking day: I've made a batch of Low Fat Bran Muffins with apples, raisins, oat bran and All Bran cereal and later today I will be making a whole wheat recipe as a tester for author, Peter Reinhart. Perhaps I will start Floyd's Pain Sur Poolish later today and finish it up tomorrow. So many breads....so little time.

Recently I received a copy of Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery. This is a book that I have wanted for a long time, but it may now be out of print. I was thrilled when an internet forum friend found a paperback copy on Ebay.

I'm now making my way through this fascinating book of history, investigation, and comment about all aspects of bread cookery. I've read about grains, milling, yeast, salt, other ingredients, bread ovens and am now up to bread factories. The recipes are in the second section of the book. First published in 1977, this book is universally acclaimed to be a major source of information on the subject of English bread and yeast baking. Mrs. David died in 1992.

This book is recommended to all the bakers here that want to learn more about the history of bread making.

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Teresa_in_nc

What better title for my first blog than a turn of the phrase from that classic book by Betty MacDonald, The Egg and I? Usually if I want something catchy I have to borrow from someone brighter than myself.

A little introduction, I am Teresa and I live in North Carolina, which is a Southern state in the US. Among the things that I am, I am a bread maker. I'm also a mom, sister, daughter, friend and quilter. I started making bread in earnest about 30 years ago when I used the very basic of tools, a bowl, wooden spoon, measuring cups and spoons, and my hands. I've taught bread classes in my home, to 4H groups, as my job in a retail gourmet store, and I'm not yet tired of making bread.

Through the years I've tried many different kinds of breads from simple daily loaves to challah, hoska, brioche, stollen, focaccia, rolls, English muffins, pizza, sweet breads, and whole grain breads. These days I mostly bake grain breads using the 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10 grain cereals. I guess I want the biggest nutritional bang from my bread. Two years ago I sent off for the Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter maintained by the Carl's Friends group of bakers. Finally, success with Sourdough! Now that my starter has some age on it, it is getting a nice sour twang that I can be proud of.

With the help of the fine people at Pizzamaking.com I am working on perfecting my pizza dough. This past year I practiced on the New York-style and making a sauce that consistently suited my taste. Quarry tiles line my lowest oven rack for baking pizza and I use my wood peel (with the help of parchment paper) to transfer the pizza from the counter to the baking tiles.

I bake bread just about every weekend and other times when I have time off from my job. As an Event Coordinator at a textile company, I have the pleasure to plan business lunches and special events for many people. They know I'll always try to feed them well! Like most bakers, I share the breads I make with many co-workers, my family and my friends. I could not possibly eat all the bread I make - could you?

Bread making is such a satisfying pursuit. While I'm mixing and kneading I think about all those bread makers who came before me, the farm wife on the prairie during the Depression, the housewives in small hometowns during the 50's, hippies in communes during the 60's, and men, women, and children everywhere who have experienced the magic of making a loaf of bread, then shared it, still warm from the oven, with another person.

I will plan to make entries here as I proceed with my bread making. And now, I can post photos of my results as well.

T.

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