Hours before sunrise, Jojo Emerson turns out breads at Forge Baking Co., a Somerville bakery cafe known for its artisan loaves. You might say the 26-year-old baker stumbled into the profession. At first, it was just a hobby and a diversion to break up long days of academics while she was in graduate school studying public health at Tufts University. “I got hooked. I wanted to work with my hands and this was something I loved, “ says Emerson. She held bread-baking classes in her own kitchen for friends, and the wave of interest, even a waiting list, surprised her. Now Emerson is running ‘Bread School’ at Forge, teaching monthly, hands-on classes to learn skills to bake bread at home. The four-hour classes (2 to 6 p.m.) are limited to eight students who will work at their own stations and produce three loaves: an artisan white bread, whole wheat, and a sourdough blend. Each class covers the basics: how to use a kitchen thermometer and scale, a dough scraper, and sourdough starter. The tools and the baked breads go home with you. But you won’t leave the class with tired hands from strenuous kneading because Emerson teaches alternative techniques. “There are other ways to build up gluten and structure and have a strong dough,” she says. “After the class, there’s no reason not to bake bread at home.” Classes are $150 (which includes a sandwich or salad from the cafe) and are held on Sundays, Nov. 2 (sold out), Dec. 15, Jan.12, and Feb. 9. Additional dates will eventually be posted at www.forgebakingco.com/calendar. To reserve a space go to www.eventbrite.com. 626 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617-764-5365. ANN TRIEGER KURLAND
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at email@example.com.