What could possibly smell better than fresh baked bread? “Bread is the Mother Earth of the food world,” says Richard Miscovich, instructor of Artisan Bread Making at Sterling College’s School of the New American Farmstead, which will run from June 20th-July 1st.
In this two week intensive course, students will explore and connect to the origins of sustenance and the art of bread-making without exclusive reliance on manufactured yeasts. Braiding in Sterling College’s mission of environmental stewardship and community, Miscovich reminds us that, “controlling fermentation and managing a wood-fired oven are types of stewardship.”
Students in the class will nurture their own starters, allowing flour and water to culture with wild yeasts, which is how this ancient art connects with the critical task of environmental stewardship. “Working side by side with others interested in these arts and sciences allows us to perceive the world in a broader context.” Miscovich continued, “I’m excited about exploring these values that are championed at Sterling College.”
Part of the course will include visits to sustainable grain farms and artisan bakers, after which students will transform ancient grains into hand crafted boules, baguettes, loaves, flatbreads, and crackers. As students wait for their dough to rise, the class will take this time to study the history, significance, and community-building power of bread around the world and throughout the ages. The course will cover diverse concepts in bread from sprouted grains to long-fermented sourdoughs; the class will also experiment with a variety of flours from regional grain growers.
“Healthy soil grows robust grain, carries clean water, collects salt, and supports a diverse world of microlife. These same ingredients nourish our own bodies and make us strong so we can go about the practice of baking bread.” – Richard Miscovich
A food that is considered a staple in most civilizations, bread has literal, cultural, and religious significance. “I am more intrigued by thinking of bread as part of human identity,” Miscovich shared. “I’ve never met anybody who didn’t like bread, and that suggests a special relationship between people and the grain-based staple.” Author of From the Woodfired Oven, published by Chelsea Green Publishing, Miscovich is currently an assistant professor at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition to teaching culinary students, he is also a popular instructor for home bakers and brick oven hobbyists, and is a regular guest at venues around the country where he teaches artisan bread-baking techniques, wood-fired baking, and oven-building classes.
Certainly, bread is symbolic of life. It was once believed to contain the mystery of life and death. Says Miscovich, “The best bread bakers are the ones who augment a detail oriented approach with a willingness to use their intuition.” Students will bake both indoors and out in commercial and wood-fired ovens to appreciate how thermodynamics and moisture influence crust and crumb. “The length of this class will allow us to explore many different applications of live fire and retained heat cooking and baking.”
“This is the first opportunity I’ve had to teach a class of this length to students who are not enrolled in culinary school,” he said. “I’m very much looking forward to settling into the material so we can explore the many facets of wood-fired cooking and baking.”
Whether it’s your dream to open your own wood-fired oven bakery or simply to add a more robust selection of breads to your table, come and explore the art of this ancient food through this hands-on approach, weaving in perspectives of local grain growers, artisan bakers, as well as artisan bread master Richard Miscovich. Register today.