'classes' on Serious Eats

Are Heirloom Wheat Varieties the Next Big Baking Trend?

"You could give me dog-shit wheat, and I could still make it taste great." —Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt] Just as tomatoes have spent the last few hundred years getting the flavor slowly sucked out of them, in favor of more convenient attributes like uniformity in size and color and resistance to the rigors of transcontinental shipping, wheat has undergone a similar process. Unlike tomatoes, which, discounting any Native American influence, have been bred for a mere few hundred years, wheat, a staple grain since the earliest civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, has had a 10,000-year breeding program. Modern wheat is designed for high yields, and to produce flours with consistently high protein contents. In the meantime,... More

Critic-Turned-Cook Takes a Pie-Making Class with Kate McDermott

[Photographs: Leslie Kelly] Wouldn't the world be a better place if there were more pie? No doubt about it. As a critic, I always wondered why dessert menus so often lacked this down-home treat. Maybe we're shy on hand-crafted pie because it can be such a challenge to make, especially if you're nervous around flour like I am. Cooking I can do, but baking is a whole different, kind of scary beast. At least that's what I thought before signing up for a pie-making class taught by Kate McDermott at Diane's Market Kitchen near the Pike Place Market. Kate's pie skills have been written about in Saveur. She's shown Ruth Reichl a thing or two, too.... More

Jacques Torres' 5 Must-Have Pastry Tools

Jacques Torres posing with his class. [Photographs: Tressa Eaton] With colored balloons, heavy cream, and chocolate galore, it was pretty clear that the participants in Jacques Torres' "Chocolate Creations" class at the New York Culinary Experience last weekend were having way more fun than the other classes. Yes, those are balloons. Torres is very encouraging to those who want to try difficult pastry recipes at home. He tells would-be pastry chefs who mess up a project the first time to just do it again until they get it right. He took a minute away from cracking jokes and teaching the class how to make his whimsical creations to share the top fives tools you need when you want to... More

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