I really should have written about this whole thing on Friday. I feel my excitement has died down a little bit, but hopefully you’ll get what an amazing experience this was.
From time to time I head down to the Central Market to take cooking classes. I’ve learned about make ahead meals, all kinds of lobster, and southern specialties. Last Thursday was all about bread. I was so excited when I saw the class description that I really didn’t even research the instructor all that much. Dixie told me that she bought the book, and that was about it.
Well, it turns out that the instruct or was Peter Reinhart. This man is amazing. By far the best class I’ve taken at Central Market. If he’s coming to a Central Market or a Sur La Table near you, it is well worth the money. He gave some very practical advice (like keeping a bowl of water nearby to dip your hands in when working with sticky dough), and he gave some very technical insights. He went a mile a minute and never lost track of anything. At one point he had 6 loaves of bread in three different ovens, and he still managed to explain the benefit of slurries.
One of the keys to this particular class was the process of delayed fermentation. I’m no expert, but it has to do with activating all the components over time. On Saturday I made a beautiful chocolate babka. Well, it was beautiful all day long … until I burned it beyond recognition! That’s okay though. I was only depressed all night Saturday and most of Sunday, but I’m over it now, and ready to try again!
As if the experience of the class wasn’t enough we also met a local celebrity. Well, celebrity to culinary geeks like me and Dixie. There is a pizzeria in San Antonio called Dough. It’s authentic Italian. They have a special wood burning oven that cooks the pizzas in 90 seconds. We first discovered this restaurant almost two years ago. I cannot accurately describe the joy that this food brings to me. Anyway, attending the class Thursday night was Doug, the owner of Dough.
At the beginning of the class, the instructor told everyone that he would be going to Dough after the class, and that we were more than welcome to join them. Once the class was over Dixie and I were very excited about the idea of eating at the restaurant with Mr. Dough and Mr. Reinhart, but we weren’t really sure if the invitation at the beginning of class was sincere. So, we went up to Doug, took a picture (because we’re stalkers that way), and tried to ascertain how serious the invitation was, because, at that point, the restaurant had closed.
No worries. Doug said that if the restaurant was going to be open for him it would be open for all of us! After all, he said, we’re part of the Dough family! I wonder if I can use that line to cut down the hour-long wait on the week-end!
We figured there’d be a half-dozen or so students from the class, but it was just us. There was me, Dixie, Doug, his wife, Peter, Jay (a fascinating person who I hope to meet again), and two chefs from Central Market. It was an amazing evening. It was fascinating to hear Doug ask Peter about different ways to perfect his craft. I’ve worked in a lot of kitchens, and chefs have certain reputation, but these two men were very humble about their craft.
I learned so much. I felt like a celebrity. Sitting at a table after the restaurant closes with the owner and a world-renowned baker. This post in no way does this experience justice! I am so glad that I went to the class, and that we went to the dinner after the class. I stepped a little bit out of my comfort zone and because of that I wasn’t saying, “what if” on Friday morning.