Looking for ideas on how to teach naturally-leavened bread making to some friends who want hands-on instruction.

(I'm hoping it is okay to post a query on this website. If not, feel free to delete it.)

I want to teach some friends how to make naturally-leavened bread, but the time between steps is leaving me baffled as to how to fit it all in. I've given most of them the link to your video, which is what got me past my mental block, but some of them seem to need a hands-on approach. Does anyone have helpful hints on making it all work during one two or three hour class?

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Comment by Kristen on July 21, 2012 at 2:48pm

Thank you! I was trying to make it way too complicated.

Comment by James Simmons on July 21, 2012 at 2:42pm

Hi Kristen, 

Colleen and I have taught several bread-making classes that teach the whole process in about a couple of hours. Here are the steps:

  1. Begin the class in reverse order with dough that has already been leavened, and is also already risen in pans and ready for baking. Show the class exactly what the naturally leavened bread is supposed to look like before they put it in the oven to bake. Then put it in the oven to bake.
  2. Next, you will need to also bring to the class a batch of dough that has been already mixed and leavened, but has not yet been put into pans for rising in the pan. At this juncture, pour the whole 8 lbs of risen dough onto the counter, cut it into four equal pieces and then show how to flatten it, fold it, and put it into the pan prior to it raising in the bread pan. With each of the four, two pound pieces of dough you can also teach something different. For example, show how to prepare a loaf for a pan with one; Make cinnamon rolls, flat bread, focaccia bread, or braided twists (only use one pound of dough for each braided twist (for desserts and pizza) with the other pieces of dough. These ought to be ready to bake easily within a two-hour period, and class participants will be able to watch the dough begin to rise right in the class.
  3. Finally, demonstrate what really is the first step and show them how to mix the dough from scratch using water, flour, salt, your starter, and so forth. This is kind of fun because once you mix up dough fresh, you can send home dough with each participant with instructions how to turn it into a loaf of bread! When we taught in our home we set up two mixers and had people take turns making the dough from scratch, and then they took it home to complete the process of allowing it to rise, then prepping it to go into a pan to rise again, and then to finally bake it.

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