Baking workshop at Deux Chats

A friend and I drove down to Ashland for an all-day hands-on baking workshop at Deux Chats Bakery. The guest instructor was Solveig Tofte, captain of the Bread Bakers Guild of America's Team USA at the 2008 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, the World Cup of Baking, held in Paris.

Sol, as she is called, is an absolutely delightful teacher. Head Baker at the Turtle Bread Company in Minneapolis, MN, she is very down-to-earth and practical and able to put her extensive knowledge into easily understood layman's terms.

Our group of 12 students was a mix of professional bakers from San Francisco, Seattle, and Connecticut, some fairly new bakers in the Ashland area and several "serious home bakers" like me, who just want to learn all they can. The theme was "Beyond the Grain: Using Fruits, Nuts and Seeds".

We made six different breads in about seven and a half hours: Semolina Ciabatta (with a green olive variation), Fig Rye, Potato Flax, Apricot Multigrain, Buckwheat Walnut and Pecan Wheat Berry. Each bread was suberb. We used a variety of pre-ferments: a whole wheat poolish, rye levain, semolina sponge, flax meal soaker, buckwheat sponge, corn flour sponge and a cornmeal soaker.

It took all morning to get the doughs mixed, then we spent the afternoon shaping and baking. We got to take a full loaf of each bread home with us.

Michelle and Garrett Furuichi, owners/bakers at Deux Chats set out an incredible spread of pastries in the morning and provided a great lunch: four savory galettes, roasted pepper gazpacho, mixed greens salad, lemon-anise cookies and apple cake for dessert.

Too many pictures for one post. I'm going to try to put together a slideshow and add it to the sidebar.

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