Three days of baking and learning made up WheatStalk 2012, the national bread conference presented by the Bread Bakers Guild of America at Kendall College, June 28-30. The sold-out, members-only gathering brought together 150 bakers, millers and growers from across the United States to learn and improve techniques, share ideas and build community.
Everything from exciting demonstrations to wood-fired-oven building and from hands-on classes to lectures taught by some of the nation’s leading bakers and pastry chefs were on tap for Guild members. Chef Melina Kelson-Podolsky, an instructor in the School of Culinary Arts and one of a handful of Certified Master Bakers in the country, chaired the WheatStalk Steering Committee which was responsible for planning the event.
Demonstrations and lectures included “Bread Showpieces” by World Baking Champion Pierre Zimmermann of The French Pastry School, Chicago; “Laminating with Whole Grains” by Craig Ponsford of Ponsford’s Place Bakery & Innovation Center, San Rafael, Calif.; “Team USA Breads” by Kendall alum (‘94) Mike Zakowski of [the bejkr], Sonoma, Calif.; “Scandinavian Baking” by Solveig Tofte of Sun Street Breads, Minneapolis; “Decorative Bread Art” by Harry Peemoeller of Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte, N.C.; and “Starting a Bakery” by Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bread, New York City.
“The event was very well received by everyone involved,” Kelson said. “I think it really exceeded everybody’s expectations because it was a tremendous opportunity for people to advance their skills while networking with other Guild members, promoting camaraderie in the industry.”