If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in a bread-making class, I highly recommend Surfas Culinary District in Culver City. I attended the two-day bread-making workshop a few months ago (thanks to my husband who got it for me for Mother’s Day) and had an absolute blast.
During the two days, the class got to bake five different kinds of bread from scratch, including Irish Soda Bread, Pain de Epi, Brioche, Cream Biscuit, Ciabatta, plus one bonus which was fresh butter.
I decided to document the adventures here so I can refer back to them in the future but I won’t be sharing the actual recipes. They are proprietary, mostly created by Chef John Pitblado, who was the instructor for the course. You can get a hold of all the recipes, plus other great information, like The Basics of Bread and Bread Baking Issues, if you attend the class.
Speaking of Chef John, I truly appreciated his teaching style. He was knowledgeable and explained the science in a way that we rookies can understand, and he was incredibly patient with answering our questions. He was definitely the main reason why this class was so enjoyable for me.
First up: Irish Soda Bread!
Irish Soda Bread is one of the two quick breads that we baked in class (other one is Cream Biscuit). It uses no yeast, hence “quick,” so it lacks the airy, chewy texture, but its dense, biscotti-like crumble is delicious with jam and / or butter and can be quite addicting. The ingredients are white pastry flour, buttermilk, salt, baking soda, and butter.
To make the bread, you begin by mixing the ingredients in a bowl (a little elbow grease required) and slowly add buttermilk to form a soft dough.
You then turn the dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead to incorporate everything (careful not to over mix).
You next shape the dough into a flat round.
Place it in a Dutch oven or a pan, and cut across the top of the dough. Cover the Dutch oven or the pan and bake for about 30 minutes in 400 degree F oven. Remove lid and continue to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the bread from the pan and cool it on a wire rack. And you’re done!
The class sampled the beautiful fruit of our labor while the bread was still nice and warm. Of course, we smeared the freshly-made butter on it. I’m sure you can hear the swoon that echoed in the test kitchen.
Up next, Fresh Butter!