“Fold, mush, turn”
Class teaches sourdough know-how
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum email@example.com
Few aromas get the taste buds as excited as the smell of fresh-baked bread. However, the process of making bread at home can intimidate those who have never tried it — or those who have and whose efforts were less than successful. Laury Nichols helps people overcome their fears with her sourdough bread-making classes offered through Concord Community Education.
“It’s just knowledge people need to know, especially in these hard economic times,” Nichols said. “It’s so amazingly easy and tasty, but people know little about it. A mediocre dinner served with fresh bread makes the dinner wonderful.”
Two sourdough bread classes are currently scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 20, and Wednesday, Jan. 28. There is the possibility another class will be added. They are held at Concord High School from 6 to 9 p.m. The cost is $24 per person plus $12 for food costs. To sign up for the classes and for the complete winter schedule, call 225-0804 or visit www.classesforlife.com.
Sourdough bread has been made throughout the world since medieval times. It is best known for the use of a starter for leavening. A starter is a mixture of flour, water, yeast and a little sugar that is allowed to ferment and get bubbly. A portion of this mixture is used to make the bread dough. Airborne yeast was used decades ago, but now most often the yeast comes from commercial sources. As long as the starter is kept in the refrigerator and given water and flour every two weeks, it can last for years.
Nichols noted that most people associate this bread type with San Francisco’s tangy version. “The bread doesn’t have to be sour. You can control the degree of sourness depending on how you make it,” she said.
Nichols estimates that a loaf costs only about 50 cents to make, since all that is needed is flour, water and salt (though she tends to make hers without salt). It is the technique that makes sourdough bread special.
“Sourdough has so many layers of flavors to it that make it tasty,” she said.
A League of New Hampshire Craftsmen woodcarver by trade, Nichols is a self-taught bread maker. She started in the 1960s, “back when we thought we had invented whole wheat,” she said. “I was baking bread and giving it away. Whenever people would come over I would serve it and say, ‘You wouldn’t believe how easy it is.’”