The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Although my baking has waned recently because I need to reduce the bread backlog in my freezer, it hasn't gone entirely dormant.  For instance, I baked some hamburger buns today (thanks, dolfs!) as a demonstration/interview for an instructor's position with the Culinary Center of Kansas City.  It was a lot of fun and felt more than a little bizarre.  After all, I am, to steal proth5's pet expression, just a raggedy home baker, not a professional chef/baker.  Still, any time that you get to talk to people about baking bread is a pretty good time.  And I apparently managed to do so in a coherent fashion because they asked me to teach for them.

The demo was slated as a 30-40 minute session in front of six of the CCKC staff and instructors, followed by their feedback.  That's a very small slice of time to work with, so I broke it into two separate phases and applied some "TV cooking" tricks.  The first phase was to demonstrate the mixing and kneading of a single batch of dough (using pre-measured ingredients), fielding questions as I went.  Some of the reviewers are bread bakers, some are not.  From a previous test run with the dough, I knew that I did not want to add more flour to the dough.  I also knew that the butter content was high enough that the dough would not stick to the work surface.  Consequently, I only did a rough mix and dumped the not-entirely-cohesive mass out onto the work surface, which was a polished marble or travertine material.  That elicited a few questions about why I wasn't worried about the whole thing sticking, so I showed them how the butter in the dough was keeping my hands and the counter comparatively clean.  I only kneaded it enough with the push-turn-fold-push method to get everything to hang together, then started French folding, a la Richard Bertinet.  That triggered a number of questions and comments, since none of them had seen that technique previously.  They were impressed with how easily the dough developed and smoothed out, and with how it picked up the initial goop from the countertop.  Putting that aside, I pulled out six batches worth of dough that I had made prior to leaving home for the demo and put each of them to work shaping the dough into the bun type of their choice, with pointers on how to achieve the various shapes.  I gave them tips for the final fermentation and baking (they have plenty of ovens to work with at the center) and that was the end of the demo.  Next up was listening to the critiques, which were uniformly positive and provided some very useful tips for me as a presenter.

So, the next step is to work out what courses to offer and to get them scheduled.  The catalog for the November 2012 - April 2013 semester is being developed now, so my timing was good.  I'll probably teach once, perhaps twice, a month.  This promises to be a lot of fun and I'm really looking forward to sharing the joy of good, home-made bread with others.

Paul

 

sustainthebaker's picture

Baking Teacher

April 11, 2012 - 11:41am -- sustainthebaker
Forums: 

I will be teaching a class on baking soon and wanted to gather what we all thought would be valuable to teach to beginners. Just curious as to what you all out there think is important to know and what you learned first and thought was invaluable to your baking skills. I have been baking at home for over four years now and am self taught. I want to make sure I am not missing anything important.

Any thoughts?

KipperCat's picture

Need suggestions for teaching a beginner

April 1, 2012 - 7:32pm -- KipperCat

I haven't baked bread for a couple of years now.  Eating that good bread every day is what finally made me accept that I don't do well eating gluten!  A friend's daughter is interested in artisan bread baking.  Everything I remember about artisan bread is a low and slow rise, with lots of time and little yeast.  I'd like ideas for a method that doesn't require frequent intervention.  We live only a 10 minute walk from each other, but somehow I can't picture having her drop by for a quick fold every hour!

Breadandwine's picture

Light-hearted breadmaking!

September 30, 2011 - 12:57pm -- Breadandwine
Forums: 

I teach breadmaking (around 10 hours a week, ATM) – and each session only lasts two hours from start to finish. I run two sorts of sessions; one for adults with learning difficulties, where we make different breads each week; and regular 5-week courses - for parents and children in a local primary school (Family learning); and community evening classes for the general public, where the content is fairly well structured (each course has a session on loaves, rolls, pizzas, etc.)

kgmom's picture

Beginning Bread Baking Class

April 27, 2011 - 8:37pm -- kgmom

I have been asked by a friend to help put together a beginning bread baking class at the local library.  We can not actually bake, and can't let participants eat anything I bake ahead.  This will essentially be a lecture.  I would love advice on how to provide the best experience for all.  


I am thinking that I may bring some dough to allow participants to feel the dough, watch shaping of a loaf.  Any and all input is appreciated.

overnight baker's picture
overnight baker

When I was working part time looking for a job I found bread baking to be a fulfilling enjoyable part of my day to look forward to. Since starting work full time as a teacher however my bread baking has dropped to zero as lesson planning has taken up more and more time. Then a couple of weeks ago I found out I would be teaching microbes to year 8's (~12 years of age), so I couldn't resist the chance to combine something I love with what should hopefully be a good way to teach some of the topic.


For just over a weeks time I have booked out a food technology lab for 1:40 minutes and I'm looking for a good bread recipe to go from separate ingredients to finished loaf/rolls in this time (ideally one and a half hours but I know I'm pushing it). Has anyone ever done this before or can anyone point me in the right direction for an appropriate recipe?


N.B. My students will have access to fairly good ovens, parchment covered trays and mixing bowls. I'm looking for a fairly simple wheatflour and dried yeast style recipe but one that can be individualised so the small groups they are working in can choose to either make individual rolls or club together to make a big loaf. However any suggestions that people have will be greatfully received.

JMonkey's picture

Advice on teaching a bread baking class?

April 3, 2008 - 5:29am -- JMonkey

For my child's school auction -- the big fundraiser -- I offered up a 4-hour bread lesson as an item. It was sold and, this weekend, I'll deliver the class.

I know some folks here have taught baking classes before. I'd be much obliged if those of you who have would share advice, tips, etc.

Thanks!

beenjamming's picture
beenjamming

So for the first time this week, I got together some people would had expressed interest in starting up a bread baking club and we crowded into my tiny kitchen and baked a dozen baguettes! I had originally intended to have a side by side comparison of baguettes with/without poolish, but just getting introduced to the bread making process was plenty for round one. We used Leader's parisian daily bread recipe for half ver batim, and substituted about 250g of poolish in for the other half of the breads. Everyone took note that the dough with a preferement was far more extenisble and sweeter tasting than then dough without, but that was all we took time to discuss. I did my best to let everyone there make bread with minimal guidance, and stuck mostly to explaining what was happening chemically during fermentation and baking. Overall, it was a really big success. No one had ever made baguettes before except for myself, and I hardly touched the dough, and the bread turned out great. I think a few people's interest were really piqued and a rich baking community with hopefully develop out of this. These are some pictures during the day:

A cross section o f our very first baguette:

we didn't wait till everything was done baking before we started feasting:

about half the gang:

I've since loaned out most of my bread books to interested folks and have been asked to write an article about challah for Cornell Hillel's magazine (I'm not jewish, but I read everything Glezer's had to say about challah). We're kind of rogue baking club at this point, no real ties to the university and no nice kitchen to bake in, but that may change in coming weeks. Steve Kaplan, a cornell prof, just published a book "Good Bread is Back" and had a raucous spot on conan o'brien (who was kind of an ass, in my opinion). I'll hopefully be in touch with him this week and see if he'd be the faculty advisor of our group and then we could get some of that over abundant cornell money and maybe even some kitchen space.

Meanwhile, I've been doing some baking myself-and not blogging about it. Last week, I made a levain couronne to take to a pasta feast down the block. It was loosely based on the Tornato from artisan baking.

It was pretty giant (the peel is 14" wide):

and also pretty awesome inside:

I have not been so proud of a loaf since the first time I made bread. Incredibly complex flavor, super moist crumb and a deeply caramelized crust. I served it with herb-oil and some asiago cheese; it was well received! Last week I also made 2 loaves of blue cheese and walnut levain based on pearl's walnut levain, which were tasty too.

 

I've learned to bake around my homeworks pretty well, and hopefully won't have to slow down too much as the semester gets going. I'd like to still make my own weekly bread all year. That said the problem sets and programming assignments have started to roll in, so we'll see if I have any time to bake outside of Better Bread Better World. Even still, that would be okay with me- getting my friends hooked was very exciting!

-Ben

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