I have a co-worker (and friend!) who is a great cook and baker. So much so that it's a benefit at work! When a birthday came up we gave her a gift certificate to Book Larder in Seattle, a cookbook shop (and so much more). They have a huge selection of cookbooks, author talks, and cooking classes.
When my co-worker Cherie decided on a class I ended up being the lucky one to accompany her to it! The last time I spent any time at the Book Larder was back in September of 2013 for the Trophy Cupcake book tour which you can check out here!
To say that I am not an advanced baker would not be an understatement. I would make chocolate chip cookie dough to eat it rather than bake it! But Cherie had faith, and Rachael is a relaxed and calm teacher, making what could be complex and scary a doable thing. Rachael Coyle was at one point the Culinary Director of the Book Larder and now has her own bakery, Coyle's Bakeshop.
There is a mysterious alchemy of dough and butter that is involved with a laminated dough. There are many steps to working with the dough, known as the Detrempe and the butter, known as the Beurrage. We were taken thru steps to "lock in" the butter, and work with the dough in turns.
The class was so well done that we were able to work thru the whole process thanks to Rachael coming prepared with dough at different stages. Getting your hands dirty and really getting a feel for the dough makes a difference for someone like me that needs that for learning.
And in-between steps? We were able to taste test! After proofing, rolling in chocolate, or gruyere cheese and ham, and applying egg washes we got to eat! I couldn't help but stuff my face with warm, delicious croissants in all forms!
If you have any inkling at all to try your hand at baking or any other interest in cooking I would get on the e-mail list for Book Larder. They bring a variety of chefs to the store and there is always something interesting going on. It's worth the short drive to Seattle. I know Cherie is now talking about taking a biscuit class. I know next time I am Seattle I plan to visit Coyle's Bakeshop! Is there something that you would like to conquer in the kitchen?