Chemistry and Culture of Bread
I posted about two months ago looking for books to use in a class a colleague and I will be teaching in April/May. My thanks to everyone for great suggestions. We have decided to go with Emily Buehler's Bread Science: the Chemistry and Craft of Making Bread and Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. We'll be augmenting the readings with materials from journals and other literature (I'm currently researching discussions of bread in cultural context in literature.) We will start the students off with a no knead bread, followed on successive days by a sourdough bread, a soda bread and a flat bread. I've got the no knead recipe chosen, we'll use the recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I've been testing it and getting very consistent results with it. I've got a good sourdough starter, I'm now feeding several jars in preparation for the class, but I haven 't settled on recipes for the flat, soda or sourdough breads yet. We're going with simple as it is turning out that none of our students have ever made bread and the majority of them have never seen it made. If you have a favorite, easy, recipe, feel free to suggest it.
We're breaking the class day up into two sections. We'll start any bread that needs rising in the morning session then finish in the afternoon. With the no-knead, we'll start it the first day of class and bake it the second. We're developing a lab kit our students will need and cleaning out the local Goodwill, Salvation Army and Volunteers of America stores for 5 or 6 quart bowls and Ikea for measuring cups and spoons. We each have our own scales and thermometers and will bring them in to use and we are scrounging baking stones to augment ours,but may have the students get King Arthur's bread whisk. It is very useful.
My colleague is going to handle the chemistry (thank heavens!) and I'm presenting on the culture. I'm looking at how bread is a part of cultures across the world. I've got some articles dealing with the role of bread ovens in communities and am in search of more. We'll be visiting one of Michigan's mills and on the way home we'll stop for dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant so they can experience Injera, that delicious, spongy bread that I have not been able to produce in a consistent manner. I'm not that great with pancakes either so there may be a link there. A local church is letting us use their kitchen during the day so we have a place to bake.
The class is coming together and I appreciate the suggestions you all made. I'll let you know how it goes.