Last week for three afternoons, I attended a class to bake Artisan Bread. Before I signed up, I checked if there were any per-requisites and was assured there was none. On Day 1 of the class I discovered two things. One, only three people including myself had signed up for the class. Two, the teacher was expecting participants to have attended a basic bread class. Oops. Luckily, the other girl in the class was in the same boat as me. We were self-learners, watched a lot of youtube videos and had baked a number of loaves of bread at home. Still the teacher was concerned as he was worried we would not be able to understand bread making terms and have difficulty following the class. Anyway, as it turned out, us ladies were pretty damn well read. The other participant, a guy had already attended bread courses before.
In case you're wondering, this class was not funded by the government. Unlike the WSQ baking classes which were funded, this one I paid for it.
Before I went for the class, I had thought Artisan Bread meant there is a lot of handwork involved. Indeed, the teacher did mention that Artisan Bread means made by hand but strangely, the dough development was done exclusively by machine. We only shaped and scored by hand. In that respect, I was quite disappointed.
The class covered 3 types of bread and we baked one a day. The first one was multigrain bread. This one we did not use any preferment. I guess it's because it's the first bread and we weren't there to prepare any. However, the multigrains were soaked in water for us because you can't use multigrains as is. For those of you who do not know what a pre-ferment is, it's just water, flour and a little yeast you mix together and refrigerate overnight. Remember Alex Goh's Magic Bread and 65 degree Celcius tangzhong? They are also pre-ferments.
Another thing new to me is there is low sugar instant yeast and high sugar instant yeast. I've always assumed there's only one kind of instant yeast. Apparently, you use high sugar instant yeast for bread recipe with higher than 10% sugar content. I'm not sure if Alex Goh's Magic Bread sweet dough meet this criteria so I may have to investigate. I'm so excited about this new angle.
Still I think having gone through the class, I have become a tiny bit better at baking bread. I will bake a loaf soon once we finish eating all our bread. I brought home six loaves of bread and we have already eaten three loaves. Frankly, we are a bit sick of bread now. Next on the list: attend a basic bread class to learn shaping. I'm doing this backwards, aren't I?