I've been overloaded the past couple of weeks, so I've fallen a bit behind on my blogging and baking.
Going back the furthest: BreadSong gave me a heads up about an Advanced Baking class being taught very close to where I live at the UBC Farm  a few weeks ago. The class was being taught by Florin Moldovan , an accomplished Vancouver-based baker who ran a popular bakery  in the Kitsilano neighborhood here. Sadly Florin closed the bakery right around the time I moved here before I had a chance to visit.
Florin's blog  is definitely worth checking out.
There were about a dozen of us in the class. In his intro class, Florin covers the basic steps in baking  (mixing, fermenting, shaping, etc). In the advanced class, he introduces preferments, soakers, sourdough, baker's math, and other things that folks had questions about.
Everyone was asked to bring a large mixing bowl with them.
Florin provided the ingredients and had the soakers and starter ready to go. At the end of class we each got to leave with a bowl full of dough.
The next day the dough we'd prepared baked up beautifully. My photo doesn't do it justice.
Florin is an extremely accomplished baker, but one thing that struck me about the class is you wouldn't have to be that good to teach a class like this: a lot of us could do it. Gear-wise, since everyone was asked to bring a bowl and none of the baking was done there, all you really need is space you can occupy (and get dirty) for a few hours and about twenty bucks of ingredients. Pre-measure the ingredients, have them ready in plastic cups or bowls before the class starts, and hand out a couple of print outs about the basics of baking and some simple formulas. Good times, and a great way to introduce folks to baking or meet other bakers.
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Last week was a travel week, down to Oregon to see friends and wrap up our final loose ends there. The storage locker is empty now; we are now fully settled in Vancouver.
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After returning, I baked a nice loaf using a soaker and starter similar to what we did in class.
100g rye flour
130g cracked wheat
100g whole wheat flour
300g Robin Hood "best for bread multigrain blend" flour
400g all-purpose unbleached flour
The starter and soakers
The exterior shot is at the top of this post. Here is a crumb shot.