Sourdough Bread Cooking Class is Worth the Dough

By Cristina Guccione

Cristina Guccione
Cristina Guccione

The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op (Facebook, Twitter) reached out to GOTG and offered us an opportunity to attend one of their cooking classes for FREE, at their new location on 28th and R Street.  

Years ago I had been a guest chef during a cooking class at their old location, so of course I was really excited for this opportunity to see their new facility and learn something new.  After reviewing their class calendar, I chose a topic that I knew very little about so I wouldn’t have much knowledge prior to the class.

The Vibe/Look:  The cooking classroom is situated on the second floor of the co-op, complete with state-of –the-art video capabilities (two TV screens show the counter), projector and drop down screen, three rows of classroom style tables, and a kitchen I wish I had in my house.  The co-op was very prepared and had everything we needed for the class, neatly organized at each person’s station.

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Price Range: Looking at the calendar, I saw classes that started at $5.00 and went up to $90.00, many averaging about $40.00.  I took the Sourdough Bread Baking Cooking Class and it was $90.00 per person (and totally worth it – had I paid for it, I would have felt I got my money’s worth).

What to Wear or Not Wear: Something comfortable.  They provided aprons for us (which we got to take home), so we didn’t get too dirty – which is shocking since we were playing in flour.  

The Process: The class started with Chef  Jane Hollander Bonifazzi and she introduced her team (Adam was great!).

  • We began with an overview of sourdough bread making and the items that were at each of our stations.
  • The class was three hours long (not all classes are this long), and we had two intermezzos. First one included sourdough bread (the exact one we were making), and a cup of Kabocha squash soup that had hints of Garam Masala and fresh lime. Super good. The second intermezzo included a plate of organic butter, jam, cheese, and olives with HOT sourdough focaccia right out of the oven.  This was also served with a complimentary glass of vino.

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  • During the class we alternated between watching from our seats and going up to the counter for the hands-on portion where we made our dough.

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  • They showed a short video on the history and science of sourdough bread that was very interesting – nice great addition. Did you know the principal bacterium in sourdough bread is called is Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis? I wonder which came first – the bread in the City or the bacteria?! You can view the video on YouTube here.
  • At the conclusion of the event, we were able to take home our dough, ready to bake that evening or the next day.  We also received an apron, two scrapers, a cloth to cover the dough, a container to store the dough (and mix the dough), some small bags of flour/starter, and a $5 off coupon to use at the co-op that day.

Our instructor/chef was Jane Hollander Bonifazzi. She has been a chef/instructor for over 40 years and has cooked for former Kings player Chris Weber and actor Eddie Murphy.

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Food for Thought:

  • They serve alcohol!  $5.00 for beer or wine and the selection was really good.
  • They have classes that are just for children. So, let them mess up someone else kitchen for a change!
  • Co-op owners save on classes: most classes list two prices.
  • They host private cooking classes.
  • You too can teach at the co-op!  Click here for more details.

 

 

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