EDWARDSVILLE - LERN recognized the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Office of Educational Outreach Artisan Bread Series among its 2019 LERN Courses of the Year in mid-December.

Edwardsville’s 222 Artisan Bakery partnered with SIUE Educational Outreach to offer a series of Artisan Breads courses. The series began with Artisan Breads-I, where individuals learned the basics of bread-making, including the terminology, ingredient functionality, dough handling, fermentation steps, mixing and dough development, as well as the fermentation in the baking process.

“We kept having people ask us if we could do something with bread or culinary,” said Leslie Brock, Educational Outreach assistant director of non-credit programs. “We eventually found Artisan and discovered that they had desired to do the courses for a while, but couldn’t figure out how to work the registrations and waivers. So, we were able to collaborate and develop this partnership.”

Building on the knowledge learned in Artisan Breads-I, the series continued with Artisan Breads-II focusing on sourdough breads and the functions of bread-making. Breads of the World will wrap the series as individuals will learn how to create and bake international breads, such as brioche, challah and Mediterranean. Each course gave participants the chance to make many different types of bread and take home 20-30 loaves.

The course covers the basics of bread-making – the art and the science. It addresses a number of current societal interests:

There is a growing trend toward buying in artisanal and organic breads in the supermarket
For value-conscious millennials, it is more cost-effective to bake one’s own bread rather than to buy it commercially
Home baking provides individuals with greater control over nutritional value and ingredients, thus potentially healthier, another plus for young bakers, as well as health-conscious consumers
Baking may actually be a powerful stress reducer
The Artisan Bakery head baker/owner teaches the courses, which are held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. after the bakery is closed. “The bakery has discovered the series has increased awareness of its business and its offerings,” Brock said.

Brock said the series has led to increased awareness for Educational Outreach with local businesses, who are realizing how to partner with SIUE in new and unique ways. “Other businesses are now reaching out to us for potential partnerships such as cake decorating and real estate courses,” she said. “It’s been a beneficial partnership for both of us.”

“Educational Outreach focuses its collective energy on providing relevant and unique learning opportunities to the community,” said Interim Director of Educational Outreach Mary Ettling, “This is one of many great examples where a staff member actively takes feedback from our stakeholders and creates new opportunities for a larger audience. I am very pleased to work with dedicated, talented individuals who continually strive to do more in support of our mission.”

Courses are limited to 10 students. During fall 2019, all five sessions were sold out with many taking the entire series. During the spring semester, four sessions of Artisan Breads-I will be offered with one session each of Artisan Breads-II and Breads of the World.

Although the spring semester Artisan Breads-I course began on Monday, Jan. 13, additional sessions begin Feb. 10, Feb. 24 and March 2. For more information, visit siue.edu/continuing-education/ personal-development. There is a $129 course fee.

For more information about SIUE Educational Outreach, visit siue.edu/educational-outreach.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose to shape a changing world. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 13,000.

Photo: Bread created from the Artisan Breads-I course.

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