Shortly after The Book of Buns was published, I received an e mail from a woman in the Netherlands, named Caroline. In the mail, she asked if I would mind if she set up a Facebook group called “Baking our Way Through The Book of Buns”. I was thrilled and delighted of course. The group has grown to over 100 people from around the world, all of whom are indeed baking their way through The Book of Buns! Someone from the group picks a recipe every two weeks and the people in the group bake it, post their photos and compare notes. It’s super fun and everyone learns something along the way (as well as eats their bread and shares it with their friends and family). The latest were hot crossed buns from the UK, and the members of the group have explored buns from Italy, the USA, Uruguay, Germany and many other countries as well. If you would like to join the group, please do! Everyone is welcome!
Recently I had a lovely e mail from Caroline. Here is what she wrote:
“It’s been a while since we mailed, but Facebook makes it easy to keep up with people doesn’t it? The bun group (Baking our Way Through The Book Of Buns) continues to be a source of joy for all of us. It is so much fun when people come together with a mutual passion.
Speaking of which, when looking through the artisan bread group, Lori noticed that there was a man named Ralph who was teaching classes in Schagen, NL which is about a half hour from where Lori lives. He seemed very nice, open, friendly and definitely passionate about bread baking. So a long time ago we contacted him and asked him if he would be prepared to teach a bread baking class in English (not everybody in our group of friends who is interested in baking speaks Dutch on the same level, besides it’s always nice to take classes in your native language). Anyways, he said if we could come up with 8 people he would teach a class in English for us. 8 is his max per group because he wants to make sure everybody gets individual attention.
Ralph’s bread love affair story is….
He went on vacation to France 6 years ago. He fell completely and utterly in love with the bread there and that sparked his passion to learn to bake. He has a full time job doing something with metals and manufacturing & design and this is what he does in his spare time. Like most of us, he spends a good deal of time baking. He rents a kitchen in a huge country home in Schagen where he teaches the classes.
He also continues to learn and his bread hero is Josep Pascual and in fact he is flying him out to teach a workshop in April. He also mentioned that he’s having Chaz Robertson from Tartin bakery come out and teach in September I believe.
The class was great. He taught us a lot more about the science of bread baking and technique. How to get the right tension into the dough, how to shape etc. I’ve attached some pics of us. You’ll recognize me and Lori. Sonya is to the right of Lori when you are looking at the pic.
It was a really beautiful experience to share. I especially enjoyed witnessing Sonya’s joy. In a few years, she wants to move back to the states and build a homestead (with her family of course). She is hoping to be able to start a bread business making good bread and selling at farmer’s markets. Anyways, when she saw her finished loaf she literally had tears streaming down her face. She was so happy to see the results (a very professional looking loaf).
Needless to say, we’ve really been bitten by the bug and we want to take more classes. It’s fun to learn and fun to practice! The community of bread bakers seems to really be a generous, thoughtful caring community – eager to share their passion with others.
I’m sure someday we’ll meet up and I can give you a huge hug!
Caroline: I cannot wait to return that hug!