Thursday, August 19, 2010

ABC Cooking Studio Bread Course :: Paprika Kabocha Bread

It's been a year since I first went to ABC Kitchen to make a low calorie brunch. I guess their policies have changed since then because I am now allowed to take their bread and cake courses even though I speak very little Japanese. I suppose they've learned that for the most part, the monkey see, monkey do approach to learning works pretty well. (No offense to us foreigners. That was an unintentional reference to us being monkeys.)

I took my first class tonight with a friend. She's much more talented with handling bread dough. I was a little lost and got a tiny bit behind, but everyone was very encouraging. It helped that there were 2 other English speaking expats in the group that had taken a few classes. They were nice enough to show us the ropes. Our teacher also spoke quite a bit of English, but we were warned not to get used to it. Message received! Trying to read all the kanji and baking jargon in Japanese was pretty overwhelming, but in my defense (or not) I didn't really prepare too much. Despite this, I had a lot of fun. At one point, I emphatically stated to my cooking partner that I was having so much fun. It's true!  It's a really satisfying experience. You get your hands dirty, work up a sweat kneading and the final outcome is pretty and delicious. Maybe this is what men feel like when they beat each other up or grow beards in the woods.

There are 8 classes in this first introductory course. This first class gives us a foundation for all the breads we'll be making in the future. It's a simple flour, water, yeast, butter, salt and sugar mixture then topped with red peppers (paprika apparently...who knew?), black olives and kabocha (Japanese pumpkin). Underneath the veggies is a healthy smearing of mayonaise mixed with mustard. It is a pretty typical recipe for Japan. For us monkeys, it may sound and look pretty weird but in the end, it tastes delicious. Next class is Monday!

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