Maybe you’ve got a friendsgiving on the horizon or you’re in charge of dessert for your family’s holiday gathering. Maybe you want to develop a new skill or you’ve got a serious sweet tooth. No matter your motivation, local baking classes will teach you all you need to know and offer a little confection direction.
The Asheville Kitchen, 384 Merrimon Ave.
Macarons and gingerbread and crepes, oh my — the range of classes in this kitchen is wide, and new classes are added regularly. If you want dedicated instruction, you can also book a private class.
Asheville Mountain Kitchen, 332 E. Sondley Dr.
Classes in donuts, croissants, and other sweets are interspersed with courses in cooking, so watch the calendar for a chance to brush up on your baking.
Cook With K., Candler
Perfect the pie basics or master your cookies for Santa thanks to the expertise of Chef Marcella Kirakossian.
Cottage Kitchen, 40 Barnard Ave.
Spend your Saturday morning immersed in gluten during a baking class in breads, biscuits, and scones. And if you want your baking paired with a whole meal, general cooking classes often have a dessert on the menu.
The Crunchy Baker, various locations
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a brand new baker, you’ll find a class for your skill level. Right now, you can perfect your pie crust for the holidays or learn the ins and outs of rugelach.
Dogwood Cottage Baking, 175 Weaverville Hwy., Ste. V
Keep your eye on the calendar and act quickly because these classes always sell out. When you snag one, though, you can learn about French pastries, chocolate, baking basics, and lots more.
Sweet and Southern Bakery, various locations
This expert in all things cookies and cakes will take your decorating skills to the next level. Your cookies could always use some seasonal sprucing up, and this is the perfect place to learn.
Try your hand at challah
If you’ve still got a while until your class starts, but you’re itching to go ahead and get started on your baking, here’s your chance to practice. Asheville Mountain Kitchen shared a recipe for challah that we can’t wait to try.
- 1½ packages active dry yeast (about 3½ teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon plus ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil, more for greasing bowl
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 to 8 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 ¾ cups of lukewarm water.
- Whisk oil into the yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When the dough holds together, it’s ready for kneading. Pro tip: You can also use a mixer with a dough hook for both mixing and kneading.
- Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Clean out the bowl and grease it, then return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place (if you have an oven light, you can turn it on and place it in the oven) for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Punch down dough, cover, and let rise again in a warm place for another half hour.
- To make a six-braid challah, either straight or circular, take half of the dough and form it into six balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1½ inches wide. Place the six strands in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move the outside right strand over two strands. Then move the second strand from the left to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over two. Move the second strand from the right over to the far left. Start over with the outside right strand. Continue this pattern until all strands are braided. For a straight loaf, tuck ends underneath. For a circular loaf, twist into a circle, pinching ends together. Make a second loaf the same way. Place braided loaves on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between.
- Beat the remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze the bread or let rise another hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, if baking immediately, and brush the loaves again. If freezing, remove from the freezer 5 hours before baking. Then dip your index finger in the egg wash, then into poppy or sesame seeds, and then onto a mound of bread. Continue until the bread is decorated with seeds.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden. Cool the loaves on a rack.