Our Baking 101 workshop at Michelle’s house was a tasty success!
In true Transition style, our goal was to help re-skill people about baking to encourage more kitchen confidence. And in true experiential learning style (Michelle’s background), the afternoon was hand’s-on and exploratory instead of lecture and demonstration so we all dove in to the process. Some participants shared some baking wisdom and techniques while others had their first try at a rolling pin or an “egg wash” glaze.
THE FLOUR EXPERIMENT: First, we found out that flour doesn’t necessarily have to come in a bag from the store! But can we make flour without the help of electricity? (YES!) Does pie dough HAVE to be made from wheat, or what else works? We experimented with making almond flour with a mortar & pestle (actually a Mexican Molcajete made from volcanic rock), a coffee grinder, and a food processor. Many of us took turns hand-cranking the Country Living Hand Grain Mill, turning wheatberries and whole grain rice into fine soft flours. We also had back-up bags of both wheat & gluten-free flours, including sorghum flour to test different blends for our hand pies.
Next, we mixed & rolled out our various doughs and prepared our apple fillings. Here’s the crew in various phases of production.
THE RESULTS: We all learned that basic baking is simple and easy. And also that experimenting is highly recommended! The almond flours were a bit too crumbly for crusts so will require further testing (but will make a great ice cream topping for now!). Some of us added a dab of Marion’s homemade Jalapeno Pepper Relish to the fillings for a tasty kick.
We wrapped up the day with tea and hand pie tasting. There were even a few samples that made it home to loved ones.
All in all, a great afternoon of learning basic kitchen skills, building friendships & community, and celebrating the bounties of life!