I just got back from Providence, Rhode Island, home of the Johnson & Wales "mother house" campus and also of Al Forno Restaurant, birthplace of the neo-legendary grilled pizza (and it was every bit as good as I remembered it!). While there, I visited with J&W Chef Ciril Hitz, champion decorative dough artist and baking instructor extraordinaire. Along with his wife, Kylie, they have launced a website called breadhitz.com (that's www.breadhitz.com) where they offer cool tools and a DVD baking series. Many people have asked me about doing videos of the techniques described in my books and I would love to--but now I don't have to. Ciril has done a great job of capturing it all, for both decorative and everyday breads, in his 9 DVD's. He is not only a master of the craft of baking, but also a master teacher. Check it out.
Speaking of DVD's, our friend Mark Witt is just finishing a new one, part of his ongoing poolish series, this time on cinnamon buns. Mark carefully and patiently demonstrates every step of the process, and he also plans to continue showing applications of poolish in subsequent DVD's. His website is www.breadtechnique.com .
For those of you looking for hard to find pastry and cake design tools and ingredients, check out www.ahcakedesign.com a new site helmed by Heidi Molnar (her husband Alex was one of the featured students and assistants in The Bread Baker's Apprentice, when he was a student at Johnson & Wales in Providence). I think she still has an introductory sale on, so check it out soon.
In response to requests for the list of breads in my upcoming whole grain book, here are some of the breads that will be featured: both hearth and sandwich versions of 100% whole wheat, multi-grain, and rye breads (along with a few "transitional" versions of whole grain breads that use white flour), ; spent grain breads (using the leftover grain from beer making--I have to admit, these are my new favorite breads and I just made a batch for a local Slow Food Dinner to rave reviews); 100% whole grain versions of German, Scandanavian, Finnish, and Norweigian breads like Hannanleipa, Vorterkaker, Julekage, Limpa, Hutzelbrot, Santa Lucia Buns, Vollkornbrot, Bavarian Pumpernickel; Indian and Ethiopian breads like naan, chapatis, roti, parathas, and injera; pizzas and focaccia (of course); whole wheat and pumpernickel bagels; whole wheat pita breads; sprouted grain breads; whole wheat challah and brioche (kind of an oxymoron, but we did it!); whole wheat cinnamon buns; potato rosemary and potato onion rye breads; and various whole grain crackers, including matzo, lavash, seed flour crackers (totally addictive!), and Graham crackers. Also, Steamed Boston Brown Bread, and for those who have read the early postings on this blog, the infamous Mash Breads (the recipe testers know what a challenge this one was to perfect)!!
There are a few other surprises in there as well, so keep an eye out for the book. I estimate it will be on the shelves by early September. I should also have my travel teaching schedule worked out within the next week or so, so check back soon for details. Today we set up a tour through all five Central Market Cooking Schools in Texas, and I'm close to finalizing on a number of other places around the country. I'll post the full schedule as soon as I have it.
Till then, may your bread always rise!