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Peter Reinhart whole grain baking class
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:03 pm    Post subject: Peter Reinhart whole grain baking class Reply with quote

With Donna's encouragement and a lovely bit of inspiration I signed up for a class taught by Peter Reinhart. It was a real piece of luck because the class was only 2 days after she alerted me to it and, by chance, they still had room (tho when I got there, the class area was PACKED!).

Peter Reinhart is one of the pioneers of the American movement to authentic bread. I had (but I let it go and was sooo sorry after I missed my opportunity to have it signed) his Brother Juniper's Bread Book paperback from the 80s and it was an important book for me as I tried to learn breadmaking on my own. He is also a true delight. Sort of a Santa's elf by way of Stanford Blatch from Sex and the City.

He is so enthusiastic about what he's doing and has some 40 years of experience gained on his own and in conjunction with the finest bakers in the country and the world. Still, he was so approachable and treated every question as though it were entirely engaging.

And here's the reason for going beyond the pleasure of his company. He has a new technique for whole grain breads that focuses on their flavor along with their health advocacy. He accomplishes optimal flavor by doing what he calls a "soak" in advance of the actual dough along with a preferment. In this process — which may involve cooking grains and may simply involve hydrating them by soaking — he eliminates some of the more bitter and assertive enzymes in the whole grains and converts others to sugar family starches that are more available to the yeast. This improves both the flavor and the texture of the baked loaves.

He also suggested the use of white whole wheat flour which is bred to have less assertive and bitter flavors than red whole wheat flour. At one time I had to order this flour from King Arthur. But if you have a Trader Joe's in your area they now carry it regularly. And he expects the reception it's had in the last 10 years to mean more growers planting it and making it even more available in the future.

It was not a hands on class which is a disappointment but understandable when bread — particularly these breads made with preferments and soaks — take so much time. But he was generous in passing around doughs so we could feel the texture and hydration.

I am so grateful that Donna made me aware of the opportunity and goosed me into making the phone call without my typical procrastination. He is next headed up their way and I hope Sam or they enjoy the class as much as I did.
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, great news here! Sam managed to get into the Peter Reinhart class at Sur La Table in SF this evening! He was wait-listed, but when Reinhart arrived at SLT this afternoon, he agreed to allow the wait-listed folks in!

Sam did not know he was getting this bread book for his birthday (which is not until April), or that I had wait-listed him in the class. Wink But he was So excited to be going!

He's not home yet, so we will see what the word is when he arrives.

I personally prefer the trip to Paris, but "chacun a son gout" as they say!

Rainey, have you baked anything yet? Let us know!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I made the first transitional bread in the book. As you know, we're not so far along the path of whole grains as you guys are. I once was but got more and more into white flour as I tried to make crackly crusts. So we're backtracking. And slowly as Steve has to be seduced into this (when I met him, his family was devotedly into the cult of Wonder Bread).

It was great and Steve enjoyed it. I threw some milled flax seed and rolled oats into the soak for good measure. And I pulled off a couple small handfuls of dough and raised them in rings so I could grill them as English muffins. That worked well too and I have some awesome French preserves to put on them too!

The sliced loaf makes great toast and at lunch I'll try some untoasted for a sandwich. The flavor is naturally sweet and the texture is terrific.

I did my soak and biga for another loaf later today. I added some oat bran along with the flax and rolled oats.

Did Sam come home with some sourdough starter and some spent grain? I'm looking forward to working my way back to the spent grain bread. I enjoyed the sample he passed around (but perhaps he doesn't do the same breads in every class he teaches..)? Got to find a source for more spent grains.

Anyway, delighted to hear that Sam was able to get into the class. Reinhart is really a little apostle of bread and I bet it tickled him to have more, more, more converts! (a tiny reference to his days in the religious life but they're evident still in his general kindness, enthusiasm and sense of mission). What was the subtitle of the Brother Juniper Bread Book? Something like Method and Metaphor for Life? I think that's why I bought it way back then. Wink
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Sam is defiinitely an acolyte after last night! He came home with dough for 2 loaves and some starter. He did get to participate some - got to mix one batch, so he was happy!

I foresee flour all over my kitchen this weekend! (He is a fabulous, but MESSY, baker!Rolling Eyes ) I am going to call some local brewers to try to get some spent grain. THAT'S the one I'm looking forward to! I don't know why, but it has just fascinated me since I first heard about it!

He asked Peter about the no knead technique and was told that he (Peter) included a no knead bread in the Bread Baker's Apprentice, without the use of the dutch oven. Then he made what Sam interpreted as a somewhat competitive remark about the NYT article leading to a huge book deal for Jim Leahy! Anyway - he didn't get home until nearly 11:00 last night! And high as a kite from the adrenalin rush of doing something you like with someone who's better than you! He did NOT bounce out of bed at 5:15 this morning!
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also took this class when he came through here about a month ago. It was a great class! My favorite bread was the spent grain bread, which I've since made at home to rave reviews. I love the white whole wheat flour; by the time his class was offered here, I had no difficulty getting it at our nice grocery (although I haven't seen it at the regular Safeway-type stores.)


Here's a link to my previous comments about the class.

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2539&highlight=

Isn't it fun that several C&Zers have enjoyed the same class!?!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

msue- I did seem to miss your previous comment.

Isn't it interesting that we all loved the spent grain bread. What sources have you found to get some more?

Another little technique that will be very useful to me was to knead wet dough with wet hands. Don't know how many times I've kept adding flour so the dough wouldn't stick to my dry hands!

Donna- I asked the same question and got the same twinge of jealousy. Wink I didn't throw in my reflection on how Jim Lahey must have felt when the technique became "Bittman Bread" overnight because of the alliteration. Wink
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just got off the phone with a local microbrewer who will be saving me some spent grain this week when he brews!Cool

He commented that he's often asked to save it for home gardeners who like to use it in their compost, because it heats the compost up so quickly! I thought that was interesting. He seemed much more amenable to helping me when he learned I didn't want 50 pounds of it!

And - it's right on my way home from work! Yay!
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I figured "spent grain" was a typo in the first several posts I read here, and it was spelt you were all seeking! Embarassed Oh well it's so easy to learn something new here. Sounds good, if yeasty tasting!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No. It's the grain that is already used for brewing or "spent" for that purpose. But it still has all its fiber and additional flavor as you can see illustrated by the fact that it was the favorite of 4 breads in TX, LA and SF.
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found out, when I called Sam with my good news, that he came home with two zip-locs full of spent grain. So, I won't have to go to the microbrewery for a while!

He also came home with a LOT of unbaked dough and is in the kitchen as we speak making 2 baguettes (no-knead style) and 2 other loaves - one rye, one is some other variety of whole grain. Plus he has cracker dough! He is one HAPPY guy! Cool

Rainey, are you making any of your bread no-knead style?
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We also are able to get spent grain from our local micro brewer. There are two pretty close to the same store where I took the class. I didn't know about the compost trick! I'll ask my fabulous gardener neighbor if she wants some spent grain too.

Rainey, you are so right about the wet hands method. I'd read about the technique in his books, but was too set in my ways to try it. Now that I've given it go it seems so obvious! I still like finishing with floured hands, though. Something quite peaceful about that.

Donna, how lucky Sam is that you gave him such a thoughtful gift. And to think that you will now be able to smell all those wonderful loaves!

I just received a copy of Reinhart's earlier book, Bread Upon the Waters, a Pilgrimage Toward Self-Discovery and Spiritual Truth. I've learned so much from his bread books, I was curious about this one. What a title! I'm going to try to read it this weekend.
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Sam baked all that bread last night! He made two little round loaves (not the baguettes, as I had thought). One was a mash bread, one was spent grain (and, yes, I do like it as much as I suspected I would!) and one was a vollkornbrot. Plus seeded crackers!

The kitchen was awash in bread this morning when I got up! And lovely yeasty aromas lingered tantaliizingly!

The two little boules he baked no knead style and they turned out very well.

The Gospel of Peter Reinhart is becoming the new liturgy in our kitchen! Laughing Everytime I ask a question, Sam says "He said..."
Too funny! I haven't seen him this excited about anything since no knead bread!

And I am very grateful that I don't like bread all that much because I would be a TUB if I did, with all this around!

Sam maintains he wants me to do whole grain stollen next Christmas. NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This will only happen when I am COLD in my grave! Rolling Eyes
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Lilia Dignan



Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 159
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna - your place is the PLACE TO BE! Freshly baked bread in your kitchen! Guess, it is too late for me to find a husband who bakes. Please don't tell Tom!
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone ever seen spent grain bread for sale in a bakery?
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GP - I have never seen spent grain bread in a bakery, and I admit, that if I had, I probably would not have had a CLUE what the heck it was!

It makes perfect sense when you think about it - these are the ingredients that give beer its flavor, so why wouldn't they be great in bread? I'm wondering if this is not an adaptation of a fairly ancient recipe. Any bread historians out there? Question
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