Kneading Conference West brings top bakers together

Kneading Conference West is a three day event designed to inspire and educate novice and professional bakers, grain growers, millers, wheat breeders, wood-fired oven enthusiasts, food entrepreneurs, food writers, and anyone who loves to eat hand-crafted breads.  The purpose is to bring together people who, by exchanging skills, experiences, and ideas, will invigorate the rebuilding of regional grain systems.

Dr. Stephen Jones, renowned wheat breeder, and Jeffrey Hamelman, Master Baker and author, will headline the roster of agricultural and baking experts convening in Mount Vernon, Washington, September 15 – 17, 2011.  Workshops span topics from small-scale grain growing and milling to artisan bread and pastry baking to wood-fired oven construction. On the last afternoon a field trip will take participants to a farm that grows grain, a mill, and a bakery that will demonstrate using the local flour in bread.

The Kneading Conference West grows out of the very successful Kneading Conference held annually in Skowhegan, Maine, now in its fifth year (  Participants arrive primarily from the Eastern Seaboard and Canada.  We anticipate people will come to Mount Vernon from British Columbia and Los Angeles and all points in between.   Both Hamelman and Jones are regular presenters at the eastern conference. The Kneading Conference West ( will differ in details from the Maine Kneading Conference but the descriptions of the latter in the New York Times and Gastronomica articles, posted on the Kneading Conference West  website, provide an excellent overview of both events.

Special Note: The keynote presentations on Thursday and Friday evenings will be free and open to the public.  Details will be posted soon under “2011 Schedule”.

Home bakers, commercial bakers, and farmers will find a wide range of events and opportunities at the conference including workshops on managing sourdough starters, making crackers and flat breads, and improving flour mixes.  We will offer clinics on starting a bakery and oven management. Attendees can tour a local artisan bakery and organic flour mill, have the hands-on experience of building a wood-fired oven, and learn how to incorporate grains in small farms and large gardens.

Victoria baker Cliff Leir will be giving a workshop on bakery milling and direct relationships with wheat farmers and Mike Doenel from Saanich is giving a workshop on growing barley and malting process. Say Leir, “in baking circles this is the most progressive people getting together.”



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