Bread baking at the Stone Turtle School

It is no secret to long time readers that I hope to someday build a wood-fired oven.  My dream plan calls for a brick Pompeii-style round oven.  In the meantime, I crank the heat in the range oven, and cook my pizza on clay quarry tiles.

This weekend, I took a breadbaking class at Stone Turtle Baking and Cooking School. The instructor, Michael Jubinsky, has been teaching breadmaking for many years, and after retiring to Maine, he and his wife Sandy started the This class focused on pan breads, but I did get to see the wood fired oven in action, and learned a few things about working with bread dough.  I also had a lot of fun.

The school is located at his home in a separate building complete with the wood oven, a pair of wall ovens and a large range oven, and we used them all.  The hands-on class had 11 people.  We gathered around a large wood-topped island where we made and shaped three different doughs and shaped some dinner rolls.

Michael was very knowledgeable and approachable, and filled people with the confidence they needed to succeed.  A friend who had never before made bread accompanied me to the class and had no problem turning out several delicious loaves of bread.  I developed a better feel for dough, and feel more confident now about adding the correct amount of flour, which can vary with the humidity.  The school recommends and uses King Arthur Flour, as I do, so I was already familiar with the feel of the flour and how it handled, which I am sure was an advantage for me.

The school offers several other courses.  I want to attend the (naturally) pizza and flatbread course, and maybe an artisan bread course focusing on rye flour.  Once I get my oven constructed, I may need to attend the 2 day wood-fired oven intensive course, too.

It was a fun day and I highly recommend it to my nearby readers interested in developing their baking skills.

8 Responses to “Bread baking at the Stone Turtle School”

  1. Robin Says:

    Oh what fun! I wish that there was a class like that available around here. I sure could use it!

  2. Michelle Says:

    No pix of the finished products?

    I’m grateful I live close to *you* so I can sometimes partake of results of your enthusiastic forays into furthering your education!

  3. S Says:

    That looks like a blast! I have to admit, the thought of a “real” masonry oven built into our new wall has crossed my mind…maybe in a few years.

    After years with various oven tiles/baking stones, I ended up investing in a fibrament stone. 3/4 inches thick and fills my entire rack, I can fit 6 demi-baguettes at once, two pizzas, or at least four loaves of regular-sized bread. It’s a pretty nice option for home baking, and I’ve had mine for 6+ years of hard work, and it appears it will last forever.

  4. Laurie Graves Says:

    What an interesting post! Hope you get that oven. Bread making is certainly an “art.” I’d say it took me a year to make decent bread, and when I got a new mixer, it took me a while—not a year—to figure out how to use it. Funny how something so simple should require such a knack.

  5. Lou Murray's Green World Says:

    How utterly cool. I hope your post inspires people to try their hand at making yeast breads. I have a pizza stone from Pampered Chef that my husband bought me. It makes great pizza as well as rustic breads. However, I must confess that I now make my doughs in either our bread machine or in the mixer with the dough hook. With my arthritis, it is much easier on my hands, but the breads aren’t as good as hand-kneaded ones.

  6. Michael Jubinsky Says:

    Thank you for a great blog. We enjoyed having you in the class and look forward to seeing you again. Come early and you can play with the oven too.

  7. domesticateddilettante Says:

    Great post! As mostly self-taught bread baker, i would love the guidance, too. (Even though I’ve baked for decades, it’s one thing to read terms like “smooth and elastic” and another to have a professional baker look at your dough and declare it “smooth and elastic!”)

    I’m also a KA flour fan for bread, especially. But I cut my baking “milk teeth” on White Lily when we lived in Knoxville, TN and it’s still my go-to flour for biscuits and cake. My mom, a midwesterner, adores Kansas-based Hudson Cream Flour. (We’re flour fools around here as you can tell!) Thanks for the fun glimpse into your baking adventure!


  8. Robin Says:

    WOW! That is such a neat class. I would take a class like that. I love eating bread fresh out of the oven but I hate making it. I think if I understood the process better I would make bread more.

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