Thursday, May 6, 2010


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Master baker Peter Reinhart beginning his part of the seminar

(Sorry the seminar pictures are fuzzy-- I couldn't use a flash and I was quite far away!)

Saturday morning I had the opportunity to attend the no-knead artisan bread seminar at IACP, featuring my "bread hero" Peter Reinhart (author of several books, including The Bread Baker's Apprentice, which I have read cover to cover; Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, and his newest book, on the no-knead method, Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day).  "Co-starring" was Nancy Baggett, the author of many cookbooks, primarily about desserts, baking and bread.  Her latest is Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Yeast Breads.  I don't know Nancy's work as well as Peter's, but she's a lovely lady and a good teacher.

(There were two other participants in the seminar, Jean Duane and Silvana Nardone, who were teaching gluten-free breads, but the breads were all made with eggs, so I kind of zoned out on those, I'm afraid! Peter and Nancy's books are not vegan, but most of the breads [except the "enriched" ones] do not contain eggs, and, if they contain milk, non-dairy milks can be used, so their books are usable for vegans.)

Peter made a lovely no-knead Everyday Rye Sandwich Bread for us.

He started out making a sourdough rye starter, then chopping it into his no-knead dough ingredients. He's funny and approachable and very knowledgeable. I was very interested in his demonstration of folding a wet dough to strengthen the gluten. He explained that kneading "organizes" the gluten, but long, slow fermentation and the "stretch and fold" method can do the same thing without hand-kneading or machine kneading. He recommends doing this abut 4 times during the first rise, with 10 minute waits in between.

Here is a short explanation of what this "organization" is: "The plasticity and elasticity are made possible by the presence of an amazing composite of proteins within the wheat kernel, called gluten. These proteins in gluten are long chains of amino acids, some of the longest in the world, in fact, with chains around 1,000 amino acids long! The two major proteins in gluten are calledgliadins and glutenins. The gliadins (think of the word "glide") give the gluten its plasticity because they act kind of like ball bearings or a lubricant. They allow the other major protein, the chains of glutenins, to slide past each other without forming bonds. You can think of the glutenin molecules as long spring-like chains. As the dough is worked and kneaded, these glutenin molecules can link up with each other, end to end, to form super-long, spring-like chains. This makes a tight, coiled mesh, or net, called "the gluten," to trap the gas in, and this gives the dough its elasticity. All those springs want to "spring back" when they are stretched!"

I haven't been using this technique with my no-knead breads so far, and they are still wonderful, but I found it enormously helpful when I made ciabatta buns with a very wet dough.

Here's a video of Peter demonstrating this method:

Here's Peter showing us how stretchy the dough is:

and then showing us the formed loaf:

His second bread was a lovely twisted and iced Chocolate-Cinnamon Babka, made with dark chocolate (both from his new book). Unfortunately, my camera ran out of juice, so I couldn't take pictures of it, and it was a dough enriched with butter and eggs. However, I plan to try a vegan version soon!

Nancy Baggett made an Easy Oat Bread and a Crusty Seeded Cracked Wheat Pot Boule, both also from her newest book. She uses a different method than other no-knead creators have-- she uses a ICE water in her doughs to slow down the fermentation. I am waiting to get her book from the library (I have bought 4 new books lately, so I want to see if I can justify buying it first!), so I haven't tried her method yet, although I do have the print-out for his class and may try one of these loaves myself soon. Good reviews for this book on amazon, BTW.

Nancy demonstrating her dough (sorry about the fuzzy photo!):

What a privilege to attend a workshop with two such innovative bakers sharing their knowledge!


That evening, Julie Hasson, Fran Costigan, Gail Davis Rahmy, and I made our way to the Willamette Week's "Eat Mobile" Food Cart Festival.  Gail  has a great description on her blog , not only of everything we ate, but our adventure trying to FIND it!!  Do visit there and see her photos and read the post!  One of my favorites was Asaase Ital Palace, one of only two totally vegan food carts represented at the festival. Their specialty is African-Caribbean/vegan-vegetarian cuisine. They served a tasty Jamaican beans and rice dish and a delicious faux "jerk chicken". I had a fun discussion with one of the owners, about keeping our cultural heritages with vegan food.

Asaase Ital Palace (Photo by Gail Davis Rahmy)

Another favorite was Mono Malo Tapas. Here's what Gail wrote: "("Mono Malo" means "Bad Monkey" in Spanish.) Their vegan-friendly food cart features Montaditos, bite-sized toasted bread slices with various savory toppings. When all was said and done, their grilled garlic and herb portabello with romesco sauce turned out to be one of my festival favorites. After my first taste, I went back for several more." So did I!! I NEED to replicate this! I have already bought some portobellos and I'm getting my smoker out!

Mono Malo Tapas (Photo by Gail Davis Rahmy)

AND, we got to have out picture taken with Peter Reinhart!

(Photo courtesy of Gail Davis Rahmy)

We were so stuffed after this that we couldn't even think of going out to dinner, so we trudged back across the bridge and sought out a place where we could sit and talk and have tea or coffee. Then we roamed around in Whole Foods, checking out new products, and i couldn't resist taking home two 1 1/2 lb. bags of organic powdered sugar-- only $2.99 a bag! It is so expensive where I live! (And I have several birthdays coming up in the family.)

It was a really fun day and such a pleasure to spend it with "kindred spirits"!

I'll report on my last day in Portland on Saturday!

PS: I found out when I got home that there is a Peruvian food cart in Portland and they serve vegan versions of their dishes!! See this article. Guess where I'm going on my next trip to Portland?


1 comment:

blessedmama said...

Wow, how amazing that a bread class can be so full of attendees! That's very interesting. The food carts sound great. We have nothing like that here in Sacramento, but we do have a few vegan restaurants. I'm happy we have at least those.