100% rye sourdough, Rye and wheat sourdough, and an 8 hour skip through the mysteries of starters, refreshment, fermentation, and shaping – the students were mentally exhausted, covered in dough and thrilled with the results. Going home with a bag full of bread and a container full of starter, they skipped down the street promising to contact me soon. Very soon, as it turns out! I got a text from Fran wanting to clarify a refreshment point. I got an e mail from Fran’s husband thanking me for teaching her how to bake such good bread. I got a note from Leslie telling the the 100% rye was all gone and a note from Jude letting me know that her dough was a bit sloppy but that may have been her fault.
The sourdough class is an eight hour affair. Roughly speaking we start at 9.30 with breakfast (sourdough bread, butter, jam) and then move on to meeting the starter and the refreshed dough (that is done the night before). First off is to mix the 100% rye and get a feel for its unique texture. Clay like and slippery, it gets mixed up and popped in a tin before the cat has time to lick her ear. The joy of 100% rye. After that we take a little break to do part one of the written material – intro to sourdough. Then it is on to the job of mixing and kneading the rye and wheat (or spelt). A good 15 minutes of hand kneading and the class is ready for a cup of coffee and another bite at the written material – starters. Once an hour for the next 5 hours we stretch and fold and shape and basket and leave the rye and wheat/spelt sourdough – observing transformations and learning how to shape to get what we want in the end, and how to slash with panache!
In between all that stretching, folding, shaping, and slashing, we usually bake sourdough crackerbreads and have some lunch and more cups of tea – it is a relaxing, fun day afterall! On this day, however, we made some challah for Jude which was all sorts of braiding fun. At 5.30 or so students go home with gabs groaning with bread.