Baking Class 101 at King Arthur Flour
The smell of Herbes de Provence blended with Parmesan cheese wafting from the professional baking ovens in the King Arthur Flour Education Center pulled me back into the classroom. “That smells amazing!” Savory Olive Oil and herb biscotti that we had made earlier was baking for its first round while we took a quick break for some tea. Feeling accomplished after creating two different kinds of biscotti, I was eager to slice into our first batch. Biscotti di prato which was our first effort was ready to be cut into signature biscotti slices before going back into the oven for its final bake.
I love to cook and to bake, a love that was passed onto me by my mom and dad. I love exploring new recipes and discovering how the flavors and ingredients blend together to create something to eat. I have learned over the years that cooking is all about trial and error and is easier than you think. What you need to find success in the kitchen are some tools, a recipe, ingredients and a sense of adventure. Some recipes may knock your socks off the first time while others are definite toss outs in favor of take out and that’s ok.
Going to cooking classes is something that I have done before but I haven’t gone to one since before I had kids. I actually even toyed with the idea of going to culinary school before going back to school to become a teacher. This weekend a fun group of people from our family business Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs went down to Norwich, VT for a Biscotti baking class at the King Arthur flour Baking Education Center.
The baking center is a beautiful addition to the King Arthur Flour retail outlet and cafe where classes from pizza making, to bread making, to kids classes are offered. There are two classrooms where lessons are taught by fantastic baking instructors. King Arthur Flour now has a second education center in Skagit Valley, Washington State–The King Arthur Flour Baking School at The Bread Lab. Our class was a 3 hour class which was a blend of instruction with live demonstrations and then the fun part where you get to dive in and try out the recipes! King Arthur Flour includes everything that you need to make your experience a success. All of the tools needed for baking are provided. We used fine ingredients many of which you can also purchase in the baking store (and yes, we did do a little shopping after class!).
During the class we were led through the steps for making 3 different types of biscotti including the two recipes mentioned earlier as well as a recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti which was prepped ahead. We also learned how to make a chocolate ganache that can be stored in refrigerator and used as need or frozen for up to three months. I always thought that biscotti was difficult to make but as it turns out as long as you have the necessary ingredients its actually quite easy. Biscotti is perfect for dipping in your coffee or hot chocolate and makes a great gift to bring to others as a holiday treat. Making the biscotti was a fun process. After we were taught by our instructor we were sent to our stations to work. I am a very visual learner so after watching the instructor demonstrate how to make the recipe it is much easier to go back to the station to try it on your own. I even learned a new tip about measuring flour properly for baking and was able to use saffron for the first time.
I love working with the different ingredients. The tactile nature of cooking is something that I love and the science of baking is just magic. The great thing about a cooking class is that even if your dish doesn’t come out well everyone else has samples to share at the end. Going to a baking class with friends is one of the best ways to enjoy class I think as we shared laughs and enjoyed the adventure of baking together. This definitely makes for a great girls day out.
At the end of this class we were able to dip our sweet biscotti in the chocolate ganache that our instructor had prepared. Then we decorated it with sprinkles. The sweet biscotti was a huge hit with my kids when I got home as witnessed by the chocolate smiles and crumbs left behind. My savory biscotti while flavorful was a bit more crumbly so I might need more practice. Even still this biscotti will be great served along with soup or even used as bread crumbs.
Head on over to King Arthur Flour for more great BISCOTTI RECIPES.
Top Reasons for why you should take a baking class . . .
If you are considering learning more about baking and have access to baking classes near you here are some reasons why you should give it a try.
- You will get some great new recipes to take home.
- It is always fun to learn something new!
- You and your friends will share some laughs.
- Baking classes are a great way to find new inspiration in the kitchen.
- At the end of class you will have some goodies to enjoy!
Have you ever taken a baking or cooking class? What is your favorite thing to bake? What scares you the most about baking?