Sarah Black Returns with ‘Ancient Grains’

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After two sold-out classes this summer in the Turner Farm Teaching Kitchen, famed bread maker Sarah Black is returning to the farm at the end of the month for a class that will take participants deep into history.

The class is called Whole, Ancient, and Local Grain Baking, will explore the history and nature of whole wheat flour and the origins of various grains used in making bread for centuries around the globe.

This hands-on class will include ingredients as widely varied as rosemary, figs, amaranth and apples.

Sarah is the author of the bestselling bread making book, One Dough, Ten Breads, as well as a well-respected teacher.

She recently sat down with Turner Farm to talk about her upcoming class and its ancient origins.

Turner Farm: Your upcoming class deals with bread making using ancient grains. What is unique about these grains? 

Sarah Black: One of the whole wheat breads uses amaranth, a tiny round seed domesticated some 8,000 years ago and worshipped by the Aztecs. Amaranth contains more than three times the average amount of calcium and is high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. It is also a complete protein because it contains lysine, (an amino acid missing or negligible in many grains.)

With such health benefits, why aren’t these ingredients more common in bread today?

They are becoming more common. Even larger grocery stores like Kroger have breads which contain unique, healthful grains. They are certainly making a comeback as we all become more knowledgeable about the relationship between food and our personal health and the health of the planet.

What can participants expect in this class?

I think the most important focus will be how to manage making good bread with whole grains; how to push both flavor and texture to its potential.

Tell me about one of the breads you will make. What special characteristics do they have?

Whole wheat bread pairs nicely with fruit; we will be making rolls with apples, raisins and figs which have a wonderful earthbound flavor. These breads are perfect for Thanksgiving.

Your classes give non-professionals the confidence to make their own bread from scratch. Why should people make their own bread?

It’s a creative process that stills the mind, and the process of handwork is satisfying. If made properly, homemade bread will have a better taste and texture than store-bought bread, and sharing it is a way of connecting with others. In its origins, the word ‘companion’ evolved from “one who shares bread.”

What might surprise people about bread making in general?

It’s easy, manageable and fun! Everyone who takes my class usually leaves happy and confident.

Sarah Black will return to the Turner Farm Teaching Kitchen with Whole, Ancient, and Local Grain Baking on Friday, October 17. Tickets are still available here.

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