Those who follow this blog may recall a post I did back in September, reflecting on my birthday and setting some goals for myself. As many know, I am passionate about all things cooking, baking, and the results of those efforts – EATING! One of my goals was to learn how to make bread, as it’s something I have very little experience with.
In November (yes, it took me that long to organize this post…) I attended an Artisan Bread Baking course at the Pastry Training Centre, located in East Vancouver. The class was over two nights, four hours a night from 5:30-9:30pm. The school features a good sized kitchen, with lots of room for about 10 students to get their knead on! Chef Marco comes from a long line of bakers, and started in his family bakery at the age of 15. He worked and traveled throughout Europe as an Executive Pastry Chef in many top restaurants and hotels. In addition to bread baking courses, you can learn sugar art or even take chocolate training. There are seasonal courses too, including one on Christmas cookies.
Being a full time working gal, I had to leave a few minutes early and race to East Van from Delta to get there at 5:30pm – there was no time for dinner, so it was appreciated that Chef Marco and his team had cheese, bread, coffee, tea, water, and sweets for us to pick at on both nights.
The two nights of class were jam-packed full with activity. We made: bagels, hard dinner rolls, carrot bread with herbs and onions, french baguette, red fife whole wheat bread with apricot, almond and fennel, and whole wheat toast bread! All of the ingredients were measured out for us ahead of time, otherwise, I doubt that amount of bread baking would be possible in 8 hours.
I was most proud of how the dinner rolls turned out. Chef Marco showed us different ways to roll and prepare them, so we had fun making our own little shapes. Taste wise, my favourite was the carrot bread with herbs and onions – delicious dipped in balsamic and olive oil.The baguette turned out pretty well too – it kept well frozen and we enjoyed it one night when family came over.
At $200, it was good value for the money. I left not only with new skills and knowledge, but with about a month’s worth of bread! Chef Marco was informative and entertaining. The premises were clean and perfectly set up for a group of 8-10 students. I especially liked the fact that you don’t have to clean up after yourself, Marco had an assistant to help us with that. Clean up is certainly my least favourite part of baking. =)
I really enjoyed the course, and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in baking.