Our Newsletter
Did you know Mike sends out a newsletter (almost) every week? It's filled with news about bread or whatever Mike is excited about this time. It's "Mike's (more or less) Weekly Baking Tips"!



Where Mike Babbles About Recent Events
and Upcoming Classes

October 24, 2014 - Gearing Up, in so many ways. We're in the process of moving our web page to a new host, and a new platform. It's going to look a bit gross(er) than before for a while, but it will come together.

As we migrate to the new system(s), We're also thinking about what classes to teach, and when. If you have ideas, please send us a note. As soon as the email forms work, anyway.

For a while, I've wondered if our oven was really on track. When I tell it 350F, does it really get to 350F? The Lifehacker site steered me to a great infrared thermometer for just $20! Soon, we'll be really accurate! "Everything-s up to date in Kansas city!"

July 14, 2014 - MORE SCALES! A recurring class issue has been sharing scales because we haven-t had quite enough scales for larger classes. meh.com had a great sale on scales, and now, We're good. We keep getting better and better!

February 2, 2011 - New Classes - It took a while, but We're announcing two new classes, and kicking off the new year-s class schedule with a bang. The two new classes are our Steak House Rock and Pasta Party classes. As with all our classes, these are hands-on classes where you learn by doing. We think that you'll enjoy them both. Check 'em out and sign up!

August 15, 2010 - PIZZA! PIZZA! - We had a sourdough class yesterday and it was great! One thing that was especially good this time was the pizza! We make sourdough pizzas for lunch in the sourdough class. We made a number of the classic class pizzas - shrimp, asparagus and mozzerella cheese; smoked salmon, thinly sliced red onion, mascarpone, and capers; the pesto and mozzerella cheese; and a few others. They were great! However, ever since I'd see Michael Ruhlman's blog I'd been itching to try the bacon, asparagus, egg and cheese pizza that Michael Ruhlman talks about in his blog. It was a major hit. I'm making another one for breakfast this morning, and will post a picture if we can get a picture before we dive in. It's a great breakfast pizza, and it was pretty amazing for lunch. One thing he stresses that I appreciate and try to teach in class is that the recipes are not carved in stone, changing them is fine, and that you NEED to change them to make them yours. Thanks for sharing Michael!

March 27, 2010 - A home ground whole grain bread class, oh my! - We-ve offered the whole grain class any number of times, and It's been an eye opener for people who have had trouble baking with whole grains. This time, we dug out our grain mills and ground our own flour. Sometimes classes have a special chemistry, and this one did. A number of really nice people showed up on time. We ground flour and made bread for 6 or 7 hours. We had whole wheat focaccia for lunch. We had talks about how home ground flour is different from the store bought stuff, the good and the bad. I've been adjusting the recipes (or formulas) to adjust for being closer to sea level. Three were great, but one I overshot on. I should have them all dialed in by the next time we offer a whole grain class. My favorite comment was from Rachel who said, "You don-t charge enough for your classes!" I agree, but We're not planning on raising prices any time soon.

March 14, 2010 - Comments on "Afternoon Tea With The Avery-s" - we-d wanted to have this class for a long, long time, but it never got any traction. Yesterday, we had two students for the class and it was GREAT!! We started with our "Back to Bagels" class, which is always fun. After we boiled and baked our bagels, we started working on our Afternoon tea. We made home made Pimento Cheese Spread (if all you-ve had is the stuff they sell in the grocery store, you don-t know what you-re missing!), and several bread spreads that needed some chilling time. We sat down for lunch with the fresh bagels, some lox spread, several home made cream cheese spreads and good companionship. After lunch, we made three kinds of cookies and made many finger sandwiches. Then we made tea. REAL tea. Loose leaf tea. And then we set the table and had afternoon tea. It was civilized, it was elegant, and it was really, really fun. The only bad part was that we had too much fun to think about taking many pictures. I-ll look at the pictures, make sure no one is in witness protection and then maybe post some. Next time, we take more pictures.

March 6, 2010 - A new class idea or two - Last week I took a batch of my Carrot-Pineapple-Walnut Sourdough Cupcakes to work. They are a perennial favorite, and I suggest you try them - they-re a great way to use up excess starter. Evidently someone was inspired, and the next day there was a grocery store coffee cake with a "cream cheese icing" on it. It was ghastly. I can not describe the taste of the icing and remain even vaguely polite. Let-s just say it tasted like it had been eaten before. And this is SUCH a shame because it is so easy to make great coffee cakes. You can make them as you-re getting ready to go to work, and they-ll be SO much better than what you could buy at the store. A recurring comment in my baking classes is, "I'm so bad at baking, I can-t even bake biscuits!"

A depressing number of my female coworkers can-t cook anything unless a microwave is involved. So, I'm wondering, is there is a place for a half day basic home baking class. We-d make a few coffee cakes, some biscuits, maybe some sausage gravy, a quick bread (like a bannana bread), maybe a soda bread (self-rising flour and beer can work wonders!) What do you think? Or are most people who wind up here far enough past that stage that it would be a class that no one ever signed up for? Like on "Family Feud" where someone gives a stupid answer and everyone on their team claps and says, "Good Answer!" as the host blinks like a fish out of water?

March 2, 2010 - Start time change - We-ve been kicking this around for a while, and have finally decided to start our classes at 9:30, rather than 10:00. Our classes run from 6 to 8 hours, and starting earlier will help our students get on the road home a bit earlier. we'll see how it goes, and consider changing our start times again.

February 27, 2010 - Rye Breads - The first few times we teach a class are times of great discovery. Which is why the first time we teach a course, we discount it. Which recipes work? Are the recipes bulletproof enough for class? What do we do for lunch? What last minute variations shall we try from the last time we gave the class? This was the second time we-ve held the rye bread class, and it was a LOT of fun! There were some miscommunicaitons, so I thought we were going to have five students. One showed up. He took home LOTS of bread. The new scales were great! The last time we had the class, we made German Bread Soup, which is a Germanic spin on a French Onion Soup. I'd forgotten that, and this time I served a chicken pie and a quiche for lunch. It was very nice, but the soup really kept with the spirit of the class better. Next time, back to German Bread Soup! Still, the pies did act as an advertisment for the Simple Simon Met a Pieman class that-s coming up in March.

The new scales worked wonderfully! It's really nice to have stable scales! The rye bread class isn-t quite as hands-on as my other classes. I find it much easier to make rye bread in a mixer, so I make batches of dough large enough for all the students. I have students make the batches after the first. However, the students do form their own loaves and get lots of time to play with dough. The pies? Oh, yeah. The pie was a roast chicken and leek pie with onions, garlic, mustard and creme fraiche. I found the original recipe in an English newspaper, the Independent. The chicken was an organic roasting chicken. I don-t know why the chicken tasted so good, but it was amazing! The creme fraiche was a compromise. The original recipe called for double cream. Double cream is one of those wonderful things you won-t find in America. Double cream is made in a centrifuge to get the fat level up to 48% or higher. Extra heavy whipping cream in the United States has about 36% fat. The reason for using the high fat content cream is that it doesn-t curdle when heated. Neither does creme fraiche. If you have access to crema Mexicana, many of the Mexican table creams are comparable to creme fraiche and considerably cheaper. Crema Salvadorena, Crema La Nica, Crema Mexicana Agria would all work well. The roasted chicken and leek pie was a real treat. The quiche was a very nice brocolli quiche. David took some of each home to his wife for dinner. Since the last time I gave the class, I switched the recipes to using a Detmolder three stage rye sourdough starter process. I really like the energy the Detmoloder process brings to the dough, and the taste it brings to the bread. I-ll be editing the class cookbook to use that approach and sending an updated version to the class mailing list. Our students get a limited lifetime update plan on all the cookbooks we use in class. David, our student, had a great time. He commented he-d only had sweet pies before and now he was going to have to make some savory pies too. And he seemed happy when we filled his Jeep Wrangler with bread!

February 18.2010 - The scales are here! - Ol- Will Knot delivered quickly! The scales are checked out and ready for class! It-ll be so good to have enough scales and to not have to work around the idiosyncracies of some of the more battered and abused scales.

February 14, 2010 - The scales are ordered! - I just ordered three new MyWeigh KD-7000 scales. We-ve had a KD-7000 for a while, and that was the scale all the students wanted to use. We're counting the days!

February 13, 2010 - Savory Breads - The class had as many students as we can presently handle comfortably, so we had a kitchen full of activity and joy. We made three great savory breads, and for lunch made Italian Appetizer Bread. The recipe was inspired by a recipe of the same name that Land-o-Lakes Butter made available. We use better bread dough - they say to use refrigerated dough. One big thing was driven home again - I need to get more, and better, scales.

Last Updated on October 4,2014