Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Class: Baking Bread with Jim Lahey

Not too long ago, I was invited to a baking class at International Culinary Center (ICC) to learn about bread from none other that Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery fame. Jim Lahey is most notably famous for his no knead recipe for bread. Delicious bread with less work? Oh yes please!
You might not know but bread has been kind of my nemesis over the years. Basically anything with yeast. Biscuits? Pretzels? Bread? All hard as rocks. The only thing I've been able to make decently is pizza dough. But I can't take credit for that. Jim Lahey's no knead recipe for pizza dough is spot on.

Before we started the lesson, we were graced by the wonderful Sara Moulton. I watched her shows over the years and really enjoyed her no fuss technique and teaching. So off we went and learned about the history of grains, their uses, and their evolution. Wheat and gluten allergies were discussed. The loss of bread making skills was mourned. And Jim's career was bounced around until it was time to literally throw some flour and dough around.
We first worked on a premade sourdough. We formed it into balls and laid them to rest and rise. We also used preformed dough for the hot oven with the use of a pizza peel. We used a normal sized peel and then a giant peel that put 4 loaves into the oven at once.
And finally, we made our own dough from scratch which we took with us when we left. We cleaned up, noshed on some freshly baked bread with an incredible crust and soft sour insides. The smell was amazing. The taste was even better. Superb bread needs no adornment but I couldn't help but bring my freshly made bread home and eat it with some good softened butter.

I really enjoyed my lesson at ICC with Jim Lahey. I especially enjoyed the small group atmosphere and individual attention. I learned a lot about bread such as: don't be squeamish about wet batter but also do not overwork your dough. But most of all, sourcing good grains and ingredients will almost always result in an excellent product. Unless you're dealing with yeast. They it's trial and error. Ha!

Thank you ICC and Jim Lahey for the wonderful experience.

International Culinary Center
462 Broadway
New York, NY 10013
(888) 324-2433

Jim Lahey
Sullivan Street Bakery
533 W 47th Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 265-5580

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for inviting me to tag along! I learned a lot as well. And I'm surprised to say that my biscuits have actually turned out OK on occasion though I don't believe there was yeast in mine... let me check. Um, Gilt took her recipe down. Dammit.


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