Thursday, April 5, 2012

Not your average Wednesday

I received one of the best birthday gifts this year from my son. He was so excited to give me this well thought out present, but not half as excited as I was to receive such a great gift.

What could be so special?

A trip to Zingerman's Bake Shop in Ann Arbor for lessons in how to bake two very interesting Italian breads. My two best friends in the world--Sara and Fanny--went with me. Combined, we made 12 loaves of bread, brought home fully prepared dough to bake 6 more loaves and a poolish (a fermented starter) that once combined with more flour, water, yeast and salt, will allow us to each make either 2 more loaves of ciabatta bread (a royal pain in the butt because it's such an incredibly wet dough), or 2 more loaves of focaccia bread (not as wet and way easier to handle).

We're officially up to our eyeballs in bread, but even more, at least for me, I'm brimming with excitement at the potential I've got for learning the art of baking that's pretty much right at my doorstep. They have all types of baking classes and even Bake!-cations, where one can plan a 4 day vacation around a series of classes that will turn one into a baking whiz. While we were there, a reporter from the Chicago Tribune was there taking notes and photographs for an article for the travel section of the paper.

As we were finishing up at Bake! tonight, the class next door brought over the leftover strudels they had made and now I know exactly which class I'll take next. I have simply got to have the recipe and the know how to reproduce the cabbage and goose fat strudel I sampled tonight. I've never tasted a savory strudel before and I swear to you, it may be the best thing I've tasted in a very long time.

Yep. I think first thing in the morning, I'm going to sign up for Noodling About Strudeling. Never mind that I don't think I have 24 square feet of continuous counter space in which to work such a dough at home. I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me!

Live close to Ann Arbor and care to partake? Check out the Bake! classes at Zingerman's. I can now say with some authority that it's definitely worthwhile.


Miss 376 said...

Oh, that looks like fun, and you get to eat the results

Alice said...

Your exciement and face splitting grin tell it all.

and live!

unmitigated me said...

Happy birthday, Ms. Rudee! The perfect gift is just as much fun to give as it is to get.

The Bug said...

Yum yum yum! I definitely DON'T need to take classes in baking (unless I'm planning to give everything away), but it looks like fun :)

Silliyak said...

Careful, you know what they say about savory struedel, the first one's free!

Brenda said...

Your have a wonderful son Rudee. That was a perfect gift! I love love bread...especially fresh baked.

Finding Pam said...

Wow! Your son is so thoughtful. This is the perfect gift for you.

I tried to make bread about forty years ago. It was hard as a rock. Good thing I never succeeded at it because I love bread and probably could not stop eating it.

Looks like you and your friends had a perfect time.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well THAT is totally tits!!!

smiles, bee

sapphireblue said...

Wow! That looks like so much fun!!

Joanna said...

What a fabulous gift (and thoughtful son). Fun to do it with your good friends too. I love cooking classes and they're even better with friends.

Gail said...

What an exciting class...we have nothing like that here. Unless you count the culinary department at the college.

My sister makes a cake using a starter similiar to your bread. We jokingly call it Marcy's Rotten Cake because the starter ferments. Best cake I ever put in my mouth.

I can smell the bread cooking...enjoy!

NCmountainwoman said...

Now that IS a great birthday gift. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Mimi said...

Mmmmmm, sounds good!
And it is fun...I went with my son to a pizza-making class in November, and we had fun. He is producing delicious pizzas every week now, yummy!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you have taken on bread making..Since I helped you tackle and master cooking pork chops, I'll be more than happy to help with the bread.

Anonymous said...

....just remember, you are heavy handed with cooking oil. That will never work with the bread. You will need to use Crisco.

Stephanie V said...

Oh, what a fabulous gift! I love to make bread. I'm sure that Leo would like to help you with that strudel lay-out problem :)

Sandy said...

That sounds SO fun. What a great gift. Happy Birthday to you!

Denise Seffens said...

Belated Happy Birthday.

I would love the strudel class.

SkippyMom said...

I am so sorry I missed your birthday. How did I miss your birthday?


And that must be the most thoughtful present ever. I would love to be gifted with that and take Pooldad with me - he loves to cook/bake too. If you don't mind I am going to borrow it from your son. It really looks like so much fun and the pics are so great.

I thought about you the other day while watching a show on models that are over 40. Suddenly there is huge market for pretty women who represent their age demographic and I instantly thought "Rudee is prettier than any of those women. She would ROCK at this!" And your pics in this post confirm what I was thinking. [And no, I am not just saying this. I mean it.]

Anyway - Oprah [not a fan personally, but she has the touch and is one smart cookie] is having a contest for older models and I thought maybe you might want to look into it. It couldn't hurt and I think you would be perfect. Heck, I'd buy what you were selling. And I promise, they don't want the women in bikinis. :)

It may sound silly, but....I think it is a whole different ball game for women our age then the ones that walk the catwalk at 20.

Hugs to you and I am glad you had such a great birthday!