On March 5, 2008, I took a basic bread baking class at Omega Artisan Bakery located in the North Market in Columbus, OH. Amy Lozier, proprietor of Omega, taught the class.
I have to say that I was not originally planning to attend the class. My father wanted to take the class, so I paid for his class as a birthday present to him. I also signed my husband up for the class because he has become quite interested in bread baking as a hobby lately. So I though my husband and father would have fun taking the class together. I told them I didn’t need to take the class because I used to teach bread baking classes myself, so I didn’t expect to gain any new knowledge from a basic bread baking class.
However, my husband ended up going out of town for business on the day of the class, so I stood in for him instead. And it turns out I was WRONG about not learning anything new!
I have to say that Omega makes the best bread in town by far. I got spoiled by having fabulous European-style artisan bread every day when I worked at Firehook Bakery in Washington D.C. And I have found very few bakeries that produce bread nearly as good as Firehook’s. But Amy’s bread is absolutely wonderful: excellent flavor, wonderful crust, truly enjoyable. So it was a pleasure to take a class with Amy and to learn from her experience.
We produced 3 types of bread: Italian White, Focaccia, and Berne Brot, which Amy described as a traditional bread from Switzerland. I would compare it to brioche or Challah because it is a rich egg & butter-filled bread. All 3 of the breads were fabulous, and we got to take home our finished loaves as well as recipes for each bread.
The two main principles that Amy stressed in the class are: 1) Bread is forgiving–it is almost impossible to make a mistake UNLESS you forget the yeast! This I already knew from my own experience. 2) Amy said her personal philosophy is that bread is still DOUGH when it first comes out of the oven after baking. She said it is not truly bread until it has cooled completely–for several hours. Amy told us if you slice bread while it is still warm, it destroys the texture or crumb of the bread, making it “gummy.” Most of us have probably experienced this at some point, but we may not have understood why it happened. So this was a new and interesting concept to me. I never thought of bread as “still dough” even after it has been baked. But Amy is completely correct.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the class, and I would highly recommend Amy’s bread baking class to anyone interested in learning more. She was very thorough in explaining the importance of each ingredient, as well as the how’s and why’s of baking bread.
But even if you don’t have the time or the interest to take a class, you should certainly try Omega’s breads. They are the best in town!