Today was the first day of Artisan Bread I at SFBI(San Francisco Baking Institute) in South San Francisco. Our instructor is Miyuki. We went over mixing processes - Short Mix, Improved Mix and Intensive Mix, highlighting differences in the processes and impact they have on hydration, yeast, salt percentages and results in terms of gluten development, fermentation times, crumb structure, elasticity, extensibility, and dough handling.
We also covered topics regarding the impact of flour, water, salt and yeast on dough qualities. It was helped me better understand why some of the doughs I make have the qualities they do and what to expect.
There are 15 students in the class. After the morning lecture, we worked on creating 5 baguettes each from dough as Miyuki led us thru an Improved Mix. It was a great opportunity to feel the dough in its various stages, inital mix, final mix, thru bulk fermentation. We also divided the 30Kg of dough into pieces for each member of the group to preshape , shape and score the baguettes. After the bake, in which we were able to use bakery loaders and ovens, Miyuki critiqued each person's bake with respect to shaping, crumb, scoring and crust. It was a great experience for me to be able to get help with my dough handling and scoring. I really went to town on the scoring in a 'Jack the Ripper' kind of way which wasn't all good, but did result in good feedback from Miyuki regarding handling the lame.
The last thing we did before leaving for the day was to measure up ingredients for doughs for tomorrow's class. We'll be making 15 baguettes each tomorrow, 5 per each type of mix. This is a great class with lots of hands on experience and instructor interaction and critiques. I don't know if I'll remember all the information we are being given each day, but the class handouts are a great memory jogger and tool.
Our class is a mix of home bakers, professionals, and restaurant cooks seeking to add breads to their restaurant offerings. I thought I would be overwhelmed but I have to say doing a lot of reading on this site, studying bread books and diving into baking my own breads has taught me more than I thought. I don't know it all by any means, but I am not lost in the woods and am able to keep up with the class.
I can't wait for tomorrow. It's time to get to bed soon, because 6 am. comes early, and class starts at 7! Thanks, TFLers for giving me the encouragement to take this class.