King Arthur classes
Well, I don't know how I let myself get so busy. It's already been a week since the King Arthur folk came to the Portland, Oregon area and offered 4 free classes. I was able to go to the two on Friday, avoiding the Saturday classes that were sure, in my opinion, to be way over populated. The classes in Lake Oswego, south of Portland proper, were well attended but manageable.
The noon class featured a sweet dough. While this wasn't really what I was most interested in, I was grateful for the class anyway. Carolyn Hack taught the two classes I attended and she was delightful to watch as well as thoroughly knowledgeable. She made the classes a joy to attend, although she didn't call my number for a door prize until the evening class. Her dough landling methods were enlightening. Her explanations included a nice depth and breadth of information. Even though I really wanted the information I hoped to get from the artisan class in the evening, I couldn't help but try the sweet dough last weekend, as cinnamon rolls. These were certainly the best cinnamon rolls I have ever made.
The evening class was an equal joy to attend, although I was initially disappointed how little pure information I learned. Then I realized this was due to the huge amount I have learned over the last year or so from various books, lots of practice, and the conversations here at The Fresh Loaf. So I settled on feeling good about it all at the end of the day. What I did learn was a variation on wet dough landling. Carolyn intentionally made the yeasted dough intended to make baguettes extry wet to show us how to deal with it. While I do alright with this, her technique was eye-opening.
The biggest disappointment was that the samples offered weren't the bread Carolyn was making. In fact, the demo bread was not baked as far as I know. The samples were some excellent yogurt from one of the free-class sponsors and some bread brought from the KA bakery. It was alright, but not fresh-today. Ah, well. If that's the best complaint I can muster, it's not worth mustering.
This weekend I intend to try the artisan bread Carolyn demonstrated. I have never tried yeasted artisan bread, except PR's whole wheat in a pan, which I for some reason don't consider to be artisan, right or wrong. Perhaps I have become easily influenced after a lifetime of media advertising, but I never intended to try KA flour, especially since I found Pendleton Mills flour, but after these classes I am interested in doing so to see if they are of the quality Carolyn very believably testified.
Recommendation: if KA comes to a venue near you, go, but get there early. There were between 300 - 500 people at these classes which raised an issue with parking. Everyone made it into the room, as far as I know, but the good seats were full at least a half hour before the show. I am quite subtantially more impressed with KA now than I was before. They are a good asset in the world of baking, in my new opinion, and should be sought after as such.
Thank you, King Arthur Flour!
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.