Sourdough Bread Cooking Class is Worth the Dough
By Cristina Guccione
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.