Leavening wasn’t the only topic yesterday during the Bread & Pasta Workshop, part of Professor Peter Fischer’s Food Cultures course. The workshop – one in a series of three – makes for a more hands-on academic course. Students learned about the history and biochemistry of bread, pasta, and other grain products. The hands-on part of the workshop included different doughs and even a thoroughly-sticky lump of gluten, while the tasting part, less sticky and more pleasing to the palate, consisted of a variety of breads.
First up were the unleavened gyro bread and the famous Sardinian “pane carasau,” a millennia-old shepherd’s bread. The students also tried the old Umbrian standby, torta al testo, a low bread traditionally cooked on a round piece of stone, the testo. Next came salted bread cooked in a wood-fired oven, along with the Italian standard, pizza. Professor Fischer’s students not only got an earfull, they got a stomach-full!