Am still flying high from my California tour, where I taught eight classes as well as attending and speaking at a whole grain bread conference in Napa. The best part was meeting so many enthusiastic, passionate bread makers, mostly home bakers but also professionals. There is such a hunger for knowledge and genuine excitement over the new techniques I've been showing them. Even got to meet eight people at the various classes who have been participating in the "BBA Challenge" started by Nicole at www.pinchmysalt.com (according to her blog, there's still time to join her as she bakes her way through every recipe in the book--she also has links to many of the others who are doing the "challenge," with great photos). Nicole and a few others from the San Diego area drove all the way up to my class in Newport Beach, which was as much a thrill for me as I think it was for them. In LA I met Diane Rocha, who gave me a printout of her BBAChallenge blog journal, which can be found at http://itsallaboutthebread.blogspot.com I'm in awe of all who have been faithfully working their way through the recipes and then putting up such great descriptions and photos. Thank you everyone!!
While in LA I met with the production team of our soon to launch Pizza Quest series. We taped some voice overs for the first video--a sample reel and overview of the whole show. We also met with our web team and are moving full steam ahead but now feel April is more likely than March for the launch. Sorry to keep moving it back but these things take time. However, we're really excited with the quality of the "webisodes" as well as with the overall web design, so keep checking here for the official announcement of our launch date and new URL. After the taping I headed over to Kyochon with my producer, Brad, and we had some of that amazing Korean fried chicken featured in the latest issue of Saveur Magazine (the whole issue is dedicated to food in LA, with a cover story on Pizzeria Mozza, which is one of the places we'll be featuring on Pizza Quest). That chicken is amazing!! In the magazine it says that Kyochon has over a thousand worldwide locations, with six in the LA area. I hope they come to Charlotte one of these days--this changes everything we know about fried chicken -- a game changer, as they say -- using a two-fry method that makes the crispest bites yet with no grease at all (and two pretty fabulous sauces). You feel like you can eat it endlessly. Enough! Just thinking about it is making me want to jump on a plane and go back.
In Sonoma I did two classes at Ramekins, and Heather Irwin, who has a really popular blog called The Bite Club (www.biteclubeats.com ) and also writes for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, attended. She mentioned in her blog that I was looking for recipe testers, and over 70 people responded immediately. Of course, what she meant to tell them was to check here, on my blog, for updates if and when I go back into testing mode, so here's the correction from me that that she posted a couple of days ago (this is for readers of The Bite Club who may not have seen the correction and are wondering why I haven't written back): UPDATE FROM PETER: I am blown away by the show of support from the readers of Biteclub, where over 70 readers have requested to be recipe testers. It's as much a testament to the reach and influence of Heather's blog as it is to my own work. However, I need to clarify the situation, as I am not currently doing recipe testing and don't have a new book in process. What I tell the attendees at my various classes is to periodically check my blog, http://peterreinhart.typepad.
Being back in Sonoma County was a wonderful thrill and Susan and I even drove past our old bakery, Brother Juniper's, which has now been turned into a vegan restaurant called Seed (but it was closed when we drove by so we didn't get to eat there).
After a successful class at Draegers Culinary Center in San Mateo, and a wonderful early morning book signing event at Omnivore Books where forty people came, many of them bringing morning pastries that they baked for the occassion, I headed to Reno where over sixty people attended my final class of the tour at Nothing To It Cooking School. What a wonderful group! (And I even got to stay with some friends, Lois and Dave Parsons, in Truckee, right by the Donner Trail, high up in ski country!). One of the attendees came all the way in from North Dakota to show me some amazing "spent grain" product that is currently used as supplemental feed for farm animals as well as for ethanol production, but that could also have terrific implications for baking and human health as a pre-biotic. He gave me a sample and I'm going to try it out in my spend grain bread (for more info on this go to www.sweetpro.com) . Will let you all know how it turns out as soon as I get a chance to try it. I'm telling you, there's some exciting stuff happening out there....
Enough for now except to say thank you to everyone who came to the classes and for all the support from all of you who read this blog. More soon....
May Your Bread Always Rise!