Sourdough Home

Class Descriptions

At this time, our class offerings are heavily slanted towards bread classes, but we are adding other classes as demand and time allow. If you don't see a class you'd like to take, please use the contact us page and tell us about the class you'd like to see us offer. We'll think about it, and if we decide to offer it and you were the first to suggest it, we'll let you take it free.

If you want a special class, check out our information on retreats and workshops.

With each class, you'll get a cookbook that Mike wrote for the class. Each cookbook comes with Our Limited Lifetime Subscription of free updates. When we re-offer the class with new recipes, you'll get the new recipes in your email intray.

With that out of the way, here's a list of our classes.


Introduction to Sourdough Bread Baking - while this class was aimed at people who have some breadA San Francisco style Sourdough Bread baking experience, we've found people who've never touched dough also do just fine.

We'll take your bread making skills to the next level, teaching you how to make good breads with sourdough. You'll make three different sourdough breads. You'll learn how to care for a starter, how to feed a starter, how to tell when your starter is ready for use and how to convert existing recipes into sourdough recipes.

At the end of class, you'll have three sourdough breads rising to bake after class.  This class is a 4 to 6 hour class, depending on how the dough cooperates.


BaA lovely poolish based bread - bursting with flavorking With Preferments (formerly - Mastering Flavorful Breads) Several baking teachers have said the baker's job is to unlock the flavor in the ingredients. In this class, you'll learn how to use preferments to shatter the lock!

We'll focus on pre-ferments, which are great techniques that lets a baker unlock the flavors in the ingredients and make breads that are vibrant with flavor. You'll learn how to make autolyse, boga and poolish. You'll learn what those words mean. You'll learn how to convert existing recipes into recipes that use pre-ferements. We'll revisit sourdough and examine it a bit more. You'll make three different breads using different pre-ferments.

At the end of the class, you'll have dough for three breads you made rising which you can bake later, and our very popular "Advanced Baking Techniques with Preferments" cookbook. This is a fun, 4 to 6 hour class. At the end of it, you'll feel pretty good about all you did and all you learned!


BagelMania! - Oh, the bagels you'll make! Classic dense, chewy New York Style bagels, the kind that haveA plate of lovely bagels been harder and harder to find as the old bagel makers retire, leaving the city at the mercy of people who make sweet, soft, texture-less things that resemble doughnuts more than bagels. People like Lender's and H&H.

In class we'll make and bake a batch of Montreal style bagels, as well as two batches of New York style sourdough bagels to be baked the next day.  We'll also make some schmears which add greatly to one's enjoyment of the bagels.  And, perhaps most important, you'll learn how to safely slice a bagel!

One of our students told us his family thinks he's a "bagel god" now. Perhaps you'll join the ranks of Bagel deities too! This is a fun 4 hour class.


Afternoon tea - a civilized custom for an uncivilized age Afternoon Tea With The Avery's - Due to Covid-19, this class isn't being offered.  We are waiting with bated breath until we can offer it again.

Some people say afternoon tea is an English affair. Others say it is more an American event. I really don't care. I intend to enjoy afternoon tea even if it was introduced by Bugs Bunny's buddy Marvin the Martian! It's civilized, it's elegant, and most of all it's fun.

Afternoon tea is a light meal - finger sandwiches, biscuits (or cookies to us Americans) and other sweets. Tea will, of course, be served. The idea is more of an elegant afternoon snack than a meal.

In this class, we'll bake some nice white bread, some nice biscuits (cookies if you prefer), make some curd, prepare ingredients, and then make finger sandwiches with our fresh bread. We'll set the table properly, and then we'll make tea.

Once the preparations are finished, gentlemen will don jackets and ties (if they haven't already), we'll shoo off the servants so we can talk about anything we'd like and we'll have tea.

This is a 4 to 6 hour class, though it can take longer depending on how much people talk during tea. Remember to be civil... serious discussions of religion and politics are discouraged, but discussions of whose car is parked next door are fine, if presented with wit.

Chances are you won't take any food home, just some happy memories and a cookbook. To paraphrase Mark Twain, "Too much of anything is bad, but too much tea is just enough!" If you would like someone special to attend the tea with you, but not the class, please notify us before hand. If we have room, we will be glad to accommodate you, and your special someone. (The teatime shown is a very light tea, the next time we hold this class, we'll take a picture of the real thing, maybe even with real students in the picture!)


Whole grain breads - Some people seem to think I'm a white bread kinda guy. Not at all. I just insist that wholeA whole wheat boule grain breads taste good or I won't eat them. It's not an unfair test, it's the same test I apply to all breads, and in fact all foods, that I eat. Food should be a pleasure, neither a penance nor a prescription.

So, in this class, we're going to focus on whole grain breads that taste good, ways to get a good rise out of whole grains and unlocking the flavor of the breads. We'll be revisiting a lot of familiar techniques from earlier classes and reapplying them to a new set of ingredients. If you love whole grains, or if you just have a dreary certainty that your life will be healthier if you eat them, you'll want to take this class! You'll go home with two or three breads you baked, the leftovers from your whole wheat pizza, my whole grain bread cookbook, and a fresh appreciation for whole grain breads.

Sometimes we offer a variation on this class where we mill all the whole grains ourselves. This class covers how to find good grain and get the most out of a stone grain mill.


A flax seed bread - great any time of day! Flavored Breads - I focus a lot on unlocking the flavors in flour to make rich flavorful breads. But there is a broader world beyond breads made with the "big 4" of flour, water, salt and riser.

Many grocery store bakeries call it a flavored bread if they drizzle something on top of the bread. All too often the bread is baked in a pie pan, and the bread doesn't even rise above the pie pan. Really, are we buying bread or a funky pie? In our classes, the breads are risen and bursting with flavors that can not be contained!

In class you'll make a few breads.  Maybe a killer cinnamon raisin bread, a jalapeno-cheddar bread I call "Pepper Belly", a totally over the top garlic-cheddar bread I call "garlic head", maybe our signature flax seed bread, some amazingly seductive pecan cinnamon sticky buns, or some other flavored bread.  At the end of the class, you'll have three doughs rising for you to bake once they have risen, and your copy of my flavored breads cookbook. This will be a 4 to 6 hour class.


Rye bread - the king of breads! Rye breads - are a lot like Ford's. You either love 'em or hate 'em. I grew up with them and love them.

In this class, you'll make three rye breads and learn the techniques you need to master to make good rye breads. We'll make our deli rye, a sourdough swirly rye and a German mischbrot.

We'll talk about the kinds of rye flours that used to be available and how to find 'em or make do with what you can find. You'll leave with three loaves of rye bread you made and baked.  If the class is held in Sanger, we'll serve a lunch of a German rye bread soup that is very similar to French Onion Soup.

You'll also get a copy of our rye bread cookbook. This is a 4 to 6 hour class.

 


PIZZA LANDSLIDE! What do you call it when everyone in the class, including the instructor, makes three pizzas? We call it a pizza landslide! We may well be buried in pizza!  Well, we were when the class was held in person in Sanger.  We look forward to doing that again.  Until that happy day, the instructor will make three pizzas, and the students will make three pizzas in their kitchens.

We'll focus on how to make great pizza in your home oven, or on your grill. We'll learn how to make a number of different pizza doughs, and how to handle them. We'll learn how to make a great pizza sauce, and what to do if you just don't have the time to cook a sauce for hours.

We'll start by making and baking three pizzas each, we'll talk about how to save dough for later, and we'll talk about how to top pizzas.

At this time, all the pizzas the students will make will be thin crust pizzas, through Mike may make a Chicago style double crusted pizza and/or a Detroit style pizza - the thicker pizzas just take too long to make part of the class.

We'll enjoy a number of our pizzas in class. At the end of the class you'll have whatever is left of your pizzas, our Pizza Landslide cookbook, a sourdough starter, and the satisfaction of having made great pizzas!  Kinda like lunch and a class. NO, EXACTLY like lunch and a class! We look forward to sharing pizza with you!


Flatbreads - in every part of the world, except here in the United States, the breads of the people are flatbreads. Naan, tortillas, pita bread, lavash bread, lavash crackers, and nan-e barbari are just scratching the surface. In this class, we'll make three of these breads, and we'll make a traditional lunch with one of these breads. You'll leave with three breads, a cookbook, and the certainty that you can make these breads at home. Easily, quickly and without special ovens or equipment. This is a 4 to 6 hour class.


German breads - I have to admit that I have a special place in my heart for German breads. Yeah, it's due to my mom. It was what I grew with. And I think it's a real pity that these breads are so frequently overlooked.

Most Americans tend to think "French" any time we think of good breads. But, there's a big world of great breads out there! Anyway..... we're going to make a grainy, seedy rye infused bread, a mixed wheat and rye bread, and what many people think is the signature bread of Germany, Brotchen.

For lunch, we'll have currywurst with Brotchen. (Please let us know if you're a vegetarian so we can get some vegetarian bratwurst for your lunch.}

At the end of class, you'll have rising dough to bake later and the class cookbook. This is a 4 to 6 hour class.


Workshops and Retreats - whether you are looking for a fun afternoon with friends or co-workers, a multi-day team building exercise, or a spiritual retreat, we find that baking and breaking bread together helps meet those goals.

All our workshops and retreats are designed and brought together for your special needs, from the breads or other goods that are baked to the message that we impart. We can have retreats at our facilities or yours. We are happy to work with your spiritual advisors or management consultants to put together just the right event for you. Just use the "Contact Us" and let us know what you're looking for.


Our Limited Lifetime Subscription - Many people ask us what we mean by our "limited lifetime subscription." This subscription will entitle you to any and all updates we make to the book(s) you are subscribed to as long as we continue to update the books. We do not guarantee that there will be updates to the books, just that you will receive them if you fulfill the terms of the limited lifetime subscription.

If either you or we die, that is an obvious end to the subscription. We will not assign the subscription to your heirs and assigns, and can not guarantee that our heirs will continue this venture.

We distribute our updates through mailing lists. If you unsubscribe from the list, we will be unable to send you updates. If you are concerned about your privacy, we don't share and won't sell our mailing list. We don't even send our ads to the list. If you let us know about any changes to your email address before your old email address is cancelled, we will gladly change your email address in the mailing list at no charge. However, if your subscription is cancelled because your email address changed, or because you unsubscribed from the list, we will reinstate each of your subscription for a $5.00 fee.

This page was last updated on February 17, 2021