Cooking With Carol

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April 22, 2010 by Flora Dawn

Yesterday, I took a Gluten Free Baking class with Carol Fenster at Bob’s Red Mill. They have a nice setup for cooking classes and the staff is super friendly and helpful.

We got to watch Carol cook, ask questions, sample the food, and take home the recipes and a sample product; and all participants got a discount at the retail store that day.

I am sure the quality of classes might vary, but it seems to me that the people at Bob’s know how to run a cooking class smoothly and on time, so if you get an opportunity to take a class there, I say go for it.

The cooking class at Bob's. I am the blonde in a blue sweater.

I found Carol to be very friendly and knowledgeable. The class was a demonstration only, which I am sure they do to maximize the amount people who can attend; but I really would have liked some hands on in the kitchen.

Carol demonstrated five recipes, four of which used a Bob’s Red Mill  mix. They weren’t really my style of baking, as I am not much of a mix person. However, it will be nice to have a few quick recipes in case I need them.

I found Carol’s baking tips to be very valuable, here are some of my favorites from the class.

Tips I Gleaned From Carol Fenster

  • Use shortening to grease pans. Cooking spray has a tendency to prevent the dough or batter from going up sides correctly.
  • Bake gluten free breads slow and low. She really emphasized that regular, gluten breads and pizzas are cooked high and hot, but gluten free yeast breads need the opposite treatment.
  • Use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of bread; it should be 205 when it is ready to remove from oven.
  • Use the lighter color metal baking sheets and pans as opposed to the very dark metal or glass pans.
  • Try baking gluten free breads in the baguette or French Bread pans; she really likes the texture it produces.
  • Use those spring loaded scoops, she seemed to use these for all those sticky gluten free doughs.
  • Unless otherwise noted, always bake with ingredients at room temperature. I am guilty of not doing this, I get so impatient.
  • Bake pizza crust 10 minutes, then cool and freeze. It can be topped and finished baking later; this will be a real time saver.
  • When using baking mixes, make sure to really mix a lot to incorporate the ingredients.
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