NEW YORK, NY :: PRIVATE WORKSHOP WITH URI SCHEFT OF BREADS BAKERY // challah and focaccia

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Remember when I had this revelation after reading The Element by Sir Ken Robinson?

Of course you do, but incase you need a reminder… the book spoke about finding your passion and gave examples of people who are doing exactly what they love.

So I want to ask you this, “Have you ever seen passion in action?”

I’ve seen people work. I’ve seen people get the job done. But last week was the first time I saw passion in action. So let me introduce you to Uri Scheft, Master Baker of Breads Bakery on 16th Street (b/t Broadway and 5th Avenue).

FIVE THINGS ABOUT URI:

  • Born in Isreal
  • Danish Descent
  • Grew Up in Israel and Denmark
  • Owns a Famous Bakery called Lehamim in Tel Aviv
  • Practices Bikram Yoga

GETTING TO KNOW URI: I recently had the opportunity to take a private workshop with Chef Uri at his Union Square Breads Bakery kitchen with three other NYC food writers.

Uri welcomed all four of us into his kitchen (his very large kitchen with industrial-size appliances) to make challah and foccacia from scratch.

As I watched him knead the challah dough on his stainless steel table, I was mesmerized by how much passion was going into his bread. He wasn’t just rolling flour into a ball; he was manipulating the gluten to the exact size, shape, and texture he desired.

I thought to myself, this is what passion looks like. This is why his bread sets him apart from the others.

As he was kneading, he explained that bread-making is his form of meditation, active meditation; like yoga, all of his physical energy and attention goes into his bread and as a result, this process makes him feel happy and relaxed.

You can check out my dough making videos on Vine and photos on Instagram/Facebook!

WHAT WE MADE:

From the beginning of the workshop, Uri said we were going to use traditional doughs in different ways… and when you’re in a kitchen lead by a Master Baker and four curious food writers, creativity ensues.

  • Traditional Challah Loaves with a Twist
  • Challah Rolls
  • Carrot & Raisin Rolls (Impromptu)
  • Marzipan & Chocolate Buns (Impromptu)
  • Focaccia Bread with Toppings Galore!

OVERALL: I left that kitchen inspired.

Uri is a wonderful teacher. He gave all four of us the opportunity to bake in his kitchen, just to see what life is like for him behind the counter. As he shared his passion for bread making, he allowed us to work with the dough, braid challah, and decorate focaccia. During the downtime while we waited for our dough to rise, Uri showed us a variety of ways to utilize his traditional challah dough into other treats- rolls, pizza, flatbread, the works. I can honestly say that Uri left us feeling like accomplished bread makers.

BAKING BREAD WITH URI:

  • For those of you who are not in NYC, Uri told us that he has a book coming out soon! It was just sent to the publishers so be on the look out once it hits shelves.
  • As for bread making classes, Uri has been teaching his craft in Tel Aviv for years, but this was the first bread making class in NYC (pilot program is running now)! So make sure to book your reservation as soon as the classes hit their website; I can guarantee that he will turn you into an outstanding bread maker with the flip of a Kitchen Aid switch and the heel of your hand.

For now, enjoy his creations at Breads Bakery on 16th Street b/t Broadway and 5th Avenue

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