I am lucky enough to have spent the last three days immersed in local flavors and bread talk at the Kneading Conference West, held at the Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center of Washington State University in Mt Vernon, Washington. The Conference was an extraordinary opportunity to encounter world-known researchers and bakers and to meet with bread people of all kinds:
- Bloggers/accomplished home bakers such as Meeghen from Breadsong (who posted about the Conference here) or Teresa from Northwest Sourdough (whose post on the Conference you can read here);
- Master bakers such as George DePasquale from The Essential Baking Company in Seattle, Jeffrey Hamelman from the King Arthur Flour Company (whose book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes is a bible for bakers), Leslie Mackie from Macrina Bakery in Seattle, Scott Mangold from the BreadFarm in nearby Bow/Edison, to name only a few;
- Scientist/bakers working on developing demand for local grains, such as Andrew Ross from Oregon State University, and many others.
There were also several hands-on workshops: the basics of artisan bread, sourdough bread at home, pizza baking in a wood-fired oven, malting, earth-oven construction, baking with fresh-milled grains, baking with barley, preferments, etc., as well as presentations and panel discussions.