Season after Season:
Wood-Fired Workshops at Mary G's Artisan Breads
We’d like to extend our thanks to the many people from all over North America and beyond who, year by year, season by season, have attended our wood-fired bread baking workshops. Participants have come from as far west as New Zealand, Montana,Texas and Edmonton, as far east as Halifax and Quebec, as far southeast as Pennsylvania, and as far north as Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. By far, the greatest numbers have come from all parts of Ontario.
We've had one record breaking season after another, from March in the snow, November in the sun and December in the snow. Through it all, the mountains of bread and pillars of pizza, we were continually struck by the camaraderie, the humour, commitment to learning and the constant amazement about how well wood-fired ovens really work. The days are long and intense, but the spirit never faltered.
Among the many positive comments we’ve received about our courses, a few really stand out:
This baking thing is not for the faint of heart. But it is also extremely satisfying. There is something very primitive, very visceral, about making bread. The leavening, the kneading, the baking, speak to the very core of our existence, to our collective human heritage. From "So You Think You Can Bake Bread," by Tracey Coveart, The Scugog Standard, July 20th, 2007
By lunchtime our olive boules and ancienne baguettes are ready to eat. Served with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, the olive-rich bread is remarkable. The baguette is unlike any I’ve ever eaten, with a softer crust and a more complex tasting crumb. Article in Explore Durham, by Betty Zyvatkauskas, April 4, 2008.
First, I need to tell you that the weekend was everything we expected and
more. The lessons/tips/tricks on baking were invaluable plus all the
information on the oven was certainly an added bonus. I'm sure I will get a
lot more out of my oven based on your knowledge. Charlie C, Ottawa, August 2008.
Thank you so much for the informative, fun and delicious workshop. It was an experience I will remember forever. I love the bread. And, that pizza was the very best I have ever had. It truly is all about the crust....yum! My head is spinning, wondering what I should do next? Jo-Anne M, Peterborough, November 2008.
Dates are somewhat adjustable, but our two-day Artisan Bread Workshops are held just about every weekend from late March to early December. The Saturday begins at 8:30 and runs to about 5:30. During this day, we focus on ingredients, measurements, dough theory, hand techniques and the preparation of two-day breads. The Sunday begins at 9:00 and runs to about 5:00. This day sees most of the actual baking, including wood-fired pizza. Group size is limited to a minimum of two and a maximum of four to take full advantage of the hands on nature of wood-fired baking. It is entirely possible for participants to request that a particular kind of bread be added to the baking list, but the total number of doughs will be limited to seven.
The cost is $500 for each participant. All course materials, ingredients and equipment are provided. A gourmet lunch is included both days (please inform us of any dietary restrictions). Each member will take home one loaf of each bread we bake, as well as a portion of Mary G's sourdough starter to propagate. Do come prepared with comfortable footwear and casual clothes that don't mind a flour coating.
There has been considerable interest in holding future courses tailored to explore only French breads, only Italian breads or only whole grain loaves. With enough advance notice, this can and will be done if the demand materializes.
For a detailed curriculum, driving directions, accommodation recommendations or general information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faces at Mary G's Workshops
It's not possible to show every single person who has attended, but here is a representative selection. The participants have backgrounds as varied as finance, medicine and technology, restauranteurs, highly experienced home bakers, beginners, and wood-oven afficianados. All share a keen interest in learning how to make real bread.
Ros came all the way from New Zealand to attend in June 2007. Since then,
she has installed her own wood-fired oven at home and makes both pizza and bread in it.
Brenda, on the left, came from the farthest The Edmonton contingent.
north to join our workshop. She lives in
Making Portuguese Masa Sovada. Potato, Cheddar, Chive Batard.
Wood-fired pizza on Sunday, including Tina's burnt offering that still tasted good.
Forming Ancienne Baguette. Results are what count.
From Rochester to Pennsylvania. The Saskatoon brigade.
Roger and Chris return to join Adam Refel, on the right, came to us from Texas.
for a course in Italian breads.
No one ever said that artisan bread baking doesn't get messy from time to time. It's all about hand work.
Wendy Carlson and Jim Wills by Mary G's oven at our Annual Bread & Pizza Bash.
MORE TO COME.