March 30, 2020
It’s hard to think about staying at home without thinking it’s going to be BOOOOORING. But that doesn’t have to be the case! There are tons of in-home activities you can do and new skills to try your hand at!
If you want to make staying at home a little tastier, and learn a new skill, you might be interested in the Baking Bread 101 class from Universal Class. I recently took the course, and my kitchen is a mess, but it smells amazing! If you’re not sure if this is the class for you, here is a quick run-down of what you can expect: The class itself is a self-paced online “study.” You can choose to read, watch a video, or both. For this course, doing both might benefit you!
The class starts out by giving you some background knowledge and a few lessons about prepping. You’ll learn about the different utensils you can use for bread baking (mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, and cookware—bread pans, cast iron or Dutch ovens for specialty loaves, etc.). Then you move on to prepping—testing your oven temperature and making sure your yeast is fresh. The final prep lesson details the different ingredients you can use to make bread. You’ll learn about the different flour options, whether to use salted or unsalted butter, etc.
For the rest of the class, you’ll be baking bread! There are different recipes in each of the lessons (lessons 4 – 12) for a total of 24 different recipes. You can choose from favorites like sourdough (they even tell you how to make your own sourdough starter!), rye, and traditional white bread. You could jump out of your comfort zone for breads like Mohawk Cornbread, Matzo, and corn tortillas; or you could even make specialty breads like gluten-free white bread, paleo bread, or herbed flatbread.
Part of the class is actually trying out the recipes, so I decided to try one out for you! Now, I chose to do this without doing prior grocery shopping, so my bread baking choice was limited by the ingredients available. With that in mind, I chose to make the Beer Bread recipe.
Beer Bread is not like your traditional sandwich loaf—it’s dense and doesn’t require yeast or eggs. Instead, it’s a simple recipe with flour, sugar, butter, salt, baking powder, and (of course) one can of beer.
The instructions are clear and simple. You mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder), and then slowly add the beer while mixing. The “dough” comes together very quickly and resembles most bread doughs pre-kneading.
The best part (I think) about beer bread, is that you don’t have to knead it! Just dump that gloopy dough into a greased bread pan (I used plain old vegetable oil spray)!
Beer bread takes a while to cook—this recipe takes an hour! So, don’t plan on this being a quick treat, but it’s worth the wait. Before you pop this dough in the oven, you dump the butter (melted) on top. This was the spot in the recipe that I finally had a moment of pause. It seemed like an awful lot of butter just floating around on top, so I used my mixing spoon to squish the dough a little and let the butter seep down the sides. In hindsight, this may have been an error as my loaf came out with a VERY buttery bottom. That said, an hour later, I had a delicious, if a little buttery, beer bread and a very full tummy!
If you are interested in taking this class or exploring all of the other learning opportunities Universal Class offers, you can create your account here! But wait; there’s more! If you are interested in even more online learning opportunities, check out our Online Learning page on the MCPL website!
Consumer Technology Specialist
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