Baked all day with a host of munchkins
Many years ago, my husband and I helped found a small, classical school here in Santa Barbara. SJDA (Saint John of Damascus Academy) is still hanging in there, providing a wonderful education for families who value a small, private setting, engaged teachers, and the classical method. Both of my older children spent all their early years at this school, so it’s fun to give back when I can.
The class above has embarked on a long journey into the Middle Ages this September, so I was called upon to apprentice young bakers, using the methods and ingredients that you would find during Saint Brigid’s day. I’ve done quite a lot of research into bread baking during the early Middle Ages (see my posts from January 2010), so it was fun to share my knowledge with these eager learners.
First they chose flours–we had whole wheat, barley–plus some oat, rye, barley and wheat flakes available.
Then they added yeast (we used both dry active yeast and some of my brewer’s yeast starter).
Then sea salt that I made right here in my own backyard.
And finally, a choice of water, honey, and buttermilk (they were allowed to choose what proportion of each…).
Once all the ingredients were in their respective bowls, they set to mixing…
They sang with Mrs Sereda while the dough was rising, then climbed into the trees to read.
Then they molded the dough, and John Ronan blew bubbles.
From 9-2 we hung out, working, laughing, playing, singing, reading… And at the end of the day, each young apprentice had a loaf of bread, made with his or her own two hands, ready to taste and share… They were amazing. All kids, given the chance, are amazing.
Don’t you think?