» Archive for February, 2009

Bread class

Monday, February 23rd, 2009 by Marie

Brie and Alicia making bread

We have begun setting up a variety of classes for visitors to enjoy.  Classes include bread baking, tortilla and salsa making, pine needle basket weaving, photography, paper making and stone-work construction.

Bread class is a hit among visitors and volunteers, with a full class (3 students) nearly every Monday.  Classes are held in Spanish.

The teachers are Alicia and Socorro, a mother-daughter team who live in a nearby village.  Students knead dough and prepare small loaves of bread, bolillos, and pan dulces that are sold in Zincero.  They also help prepare the weekly batch of Bosque bread - a whole wheat recipe made specially for us.  Bread is cooked in a wood fired adobe and brick domed oven.

The class is 5 hours long with a break in the middle to enjoy traditional comida, a large mid-day meal, with the family.

Kat adding a sugary top to the pan dulces

From Trevor, one of our volunteers and one of the first students at Alicia’s bread class:

“The home’s side entrance leads to an open air courtyard where we (myself and another volunteer, Ben) were invited to wash up in preparation of baking. We followed Alicia into the kitchen, a spacious room with large hanging pots filling the right wall, two stoves and a wooden three-shelved bread rack to the right, and the brick oven at the far end through an opening in the wall. The wood fire was gently burning in the oven, at times dwindling to a flicker, only to be refilled to create a magnificent silent blaze. Alicia’s oven is certainly one of the most impressive things I’ve seen during my visit to Mexico.

She had already prepared a bit of bread batter, but began our lesson by measuring and laying out more flour (masa), then dividing a chunk of shortening in three for each of us to hand mash until smooth. Later joining us, her son Marion busied himself with applying shortening to a stack of sheet pans…

My Spanish was quite lacking at the time, luckily the other volunteer spoke somewhat conversationally, translating important information for me throughout the process… for those who are still learning Spanish, this is a great opportunity to improve.

After all the dough was made, we were served lunch, a delicious offering of chicken soup, endless tortillas fresh from the griddle, and frijoles tacos. The family’s grandfather joined us.  He commanded the oven, and shared Alicia’s sunny disposition. The bread baked surprising quick…  In total, we made three different breads and three desert breads/cookies, including a special batch of cookies for Feliz Navidad.”

Yum!
Yum!


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