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The first few times we teach a class are times of great discovery. Which is why the first time we teach a course, we discount it. Which recipes work? Are the recipes bulletproof enough for class? What do we do for lunch? What last minute variations shall we try from the last time we gave the class? This was the second time we've held the rye bread class, and it was a LOT of fun!

There were some miscommunications, so due to clerical errors on my part, I thought we were going to have five students. Only one had signed up.  Since I bake 3 loaves for every student we're planning on seeing, he took home LOTS of bread.

The new scales were great! The last time we had the class, we made German Bread Soup, which is a Germanic spin on a French Onion Soup. I'd forgotten that, and this time I served a chicken pie and a quiche for lunch. It was very nice, but the soup really kept with the spirit of the class better. Next time, back to German Bread Soup! Still, the pies did act as an advertisement for the Simple Simon Met a Pieman class that-s coming up in March.

The new scales worked wonderfully! It's really nice to have stable scales!

The rye bread class isn't quite as hands-on as my other classes. I find it much easier to make rye bread in a mixer, so I make batches of dough large enough for all the students. I have students make the batches after the first. However, the students do form their own loaves and get lots of time to play with dough.

The pies? Oh, yeah. The pie was a roast chicken and leek pie with onions, garlic, mustard and Crème Fraîche . I found the original recipe in an English newspaper, the Independent. The chicken was an organic roasting chicken. I don't know why the chicken tasted so good, but it was amazing!

The Crème Fraîche was a compromise that worked well. The original recipe called for double cream. Double cream is one of those wonderful things you won't find in America. Double cream is made in a centrifuge to get the fat level up to 48% or higher. Extra heavy whipping cream in the United States has about 36% fat. The reason for using the high fat content cream is that it doesn't curdle when heated. Neither does Crème Fraîche . If you have access to Crema Mexicana, many of the Mexican table creams are comparable to Crème Fraîche and considerably cheaper. Crema Salvadorena, Crema La Nica, Crema Mexicana Agria would all work well.

The roasted chicken and leek pie was a real treat. The quiche was a very nice broccoli quiche. David took some of each home to his wife for dinner.

Since the last time I gave the class, I switched the recipes to using a Detmolder three stage rye sourdough starter process. I really like the energy the Detmolder process brings to the dough, and the taste it brings to the bread. I'll be editing the class cookbook to use that approach and sending an updated version to the class mailing list. because our students get a limited lifetime update plan on all the cookbooks we use in class.

David, our student, had a great time. He commented he'd only had sweet pies before and now he was going to have to make some savory pies too. And he seemed happy when we filled his Jeep Wrangler with bread!

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