Before class, please do the following (very important!)
Have a mature starter ready to bake with
The starter is ready when it rises and falls over a period of several hours. It will smell slightly fruity and slightly sour and taste somewhat tangy. Go here for a blog post on starting and maintaining a starter. Please do not register for this class if you do not have a starter to work with.
Feed your starter before class
The day of the first session of class, before we meet in the evening, please feed your starter half white, half whole wheat (or half white, half rye). My starter is 100 percent hydration, which simply means it contains the same amount of water as flour by weight.
You may want to feed your starter twice before class begins, first about 12 hours before class and then 6 hours before class at the latest. Before I bake bread, I will often feed it twice a day rather than it’s usual once a day but not always. If you live in a hot, humid climate, you will want to feed your starter twice.
If you store your starter in the refrigerator and feed it weekly, pull it out the day before class—and keep it out on the counter—and resume feeding it.
We will bake two loaves of bread in this class.
The right tools make baking easier. However, you don’t need all of the expensive tools that I’ve listed here. When I was stranded at my mom’s in Canada at the beginning of Covid, I used the minimal equipment she has and my bread turned out, well, amazingly well. Go here for a post on making bread without the fancy tools.
- Scale (optional but highly recommended)
- Measuring spoons and cups if you don’t have a scale
- Rubber or bamboo spatula
- Kettle or microwave to heat water up a bit
- 4-cup glass measuring cup
- Large ceramic or glass bowl, 4 to 5 quart capacity, or about 10” to 12” in diameter
- Dough scraper
- Surface to shape the dough on (wooden board or counter top)
- Two 9″ banneton baskets OR two 9″ bowls (any material) lined with thin tea towels
- Very sharp knife or lame
- 5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven or larger, covered 10″ glass pyrex dish (5″ tall minimum), large cast-iron skillet, pizza stone or cookie sheet
- Something for taking notes
You’ll also need space in your refrigerator to store your bread dough as it proofs overnight.
- Your jar of active, lively starter
- 650 grams whole wheat flour (5 cups)
- 250 grams unbleached all-purpose or bread flour (1 ¾ cups)
- 200 grams rye or spelt flour (1 ½ cups)
- 25 grams salt (1 ½ scant tablespoons)
- 1 cup extra flour (any of the types listed above) for shaping the dough
- Cornmeal if you won’t bake in a Dutch oven
- I use organic flour but any flour will do.
- I use tap water in my bread.
- I have included the flour measurements by volume but weight is MUCH more accurate.
- You don’t need banneton baskets either. I do love mine though. They are similar to these.
- I use a homemade lame to score my loaves. This changed everything! This one is beautiful but very expensive and probably sold out. I made my own out of a razor blade and a wooden stir stick. If you opt to make a lame, be careful!