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.