Cooking School

Last Friday I spent the day in a cooking class learning to bake Artisan Bread. The class was a Mother's Day gift from my son Daniel and DIL Tiffany, and the two of them took the class with me! The class was at The Viking Store in Franklin, TN, so I made a long weekend of the trip to visit them and take the class.

The class was made up of nine students ranging in age from a high schooler to grandmotherly types like me. Two of the students were men and seven were female.

The class was taught by Chef Sandra, and is she ever the queen of multi-tasking. She had timers set everywhere for the multitude of risings and second risings for the five different yeast breads that we baked. This was a hands-on class, so we we given recipes, and Chef Sandra took us through the steps to make Multi Grain Bread, Raisin Cinnamon Nut Bread, Rosemary Focaccia, Brioche, and French Baguettes.

Daniel is checking our recipe for the French Baguettes here.


We learned to knead soft sticky doughs like the dough for the French Baguettes with a plastic bench scraper.

Here Daniel is measuring milk for our Brioche. We used a food processor to mix this recipe, and it was a wonderful soft, sweet bread.

Here Tiffany is braiding our loaf of Brioche.

This is how the Brioche looked when it was braided before the second rise.

This is the beautiful dough for Raisin Cinnamon Nut Bread that I have just finished kneading.

The Raisin Cinnamon Nut Bread made four loaves. This is before the second rise.

This is our unbaked Rosemary Focaccia. Along with the Rosemary, this bread also had 2 cloves of minced garlic, and its only sweetener was honey.

These beautiful Multi Grain Loaves were sweetened with molasses and were made with a mixture of oats, cornmeal, whole wheat flour, and wheat bran. They were topped with sunflower seeds, flax seeds, oatmeal, and black sesame seeds. This picture shows the loaves after slashing before the second rise.

This is a sample of some of the baked items that were made that day in the class. At home, baking one kind of yeast bread can fill up a day, but during the class we were able to turn out five different kinds of yeast breads all in the same day. The class was so much fun, and even though I have baked bread for years, I learned a lot. If I lived nearer to the Viking Cooking School I would sign up for all their classes. The schools are located in various cities, so maybe I will find an opportunity to attend other classes.

I plan to bake all these wonderful Artisan Breads at home now, and I will be posting the recipes for each one soon.


  1. What a wonderful and thoughtful gift!

  2. Your breads are beautiful and I'm sure it was a fun day:@)

  3. What a wonderful gift! I would LOVE to take a class like this, I'm sure it was fun! And the breads look wonderful!

  4. Well wasn't that just fun??? What a thought-filled gift! Thanks for sharing - very cool! (Or hot!?=) I'm having a giveaway and would love for you to come over and enter if you can. http://www.thebetterbaker.blogspot.com/2012/05/its-time-for-giveaway-yall-come.html

  5. Spending time with family and fresh baked bread (not to mention learning to make your own!). . .I can't think of a better way to spend a day!

  6. This sounds like such a fun class. I would love to take something like this.

  7. Cooking classes are always so fun. the rosemary focaccia looks yummy.

  8. What a fun class and how very thoughtful of your son and your DIL. I love taking cooking classes, too, Anita. Artisan breads are certainly wonderful. I look forward to seeing your recipes.

  9. What a Pleasant surprise to read such a wonderful posting on your blog Anita! Thank you for allowing me to share in my passion of baking & cooking with you, Daniel & Tiffany!
    Please come visit again, & I will give a 10% discount to any one of your bloggers that wants to take a class here in Franklin! Just call drop me an email! Chef Sandra

  10. That is a wonderful way to spend time with your young'uns! BRAVO! The photo's are amazing.

  11. What a great gift and a great class! I'd be right there with you! I love to take classes and I try to take some online but there's nothing like "hands on" especially with cooking!
    I love artisan breads as my step-dad was Italian and that's the only kind of bread I had growing up pretty much. I make my own bread too but I've always wanted to try Brioche and focacia and I haven't yet. I do make the artisan round loaf but your all looked so beautiful and yummy! How far is Franklin , TN from Paragould? In fact I need to make my dough today..then I bake the next day. Mine sits out overnight and then I stick it in the frig for awhile as it is easier to handle since it's a "sticky" dough. You're an expert now....I can't wait to see your postings down the road! You go girl!

  12. P.S. I made the pasta salad! Delish! Thank you as always!

  13. What a gift........I want to go. This summer I am going to go to King Arthur. That should be a fun time. Our motorcycle group is vacationing in Vermont this summer. We will all wait your bread postings........can't wait. Andi