WHAT TO EXPECT
Our workshops are a humble, collaborative and clarifying baking experience.
Course lengths: 3 days
Times: 9:00 A.M to 2 P.M. daily
Group size: 6
Meals included: morning coffee + lunch and wine
We do go outside in all kinds of weather year-round.
We do take three 10 minute breaks throughout the 5 hours.
We do work together to wash, dry and put away all dishes generated during the day.
When you arrive at Smoke Signals the first thing you’re likely to see is a slightly rusty milk truck painted with familiar symbols for water and sun and just beyond that a big brick oven I’m leaning
into poking hot coals with a stick. Welcome.
What to wear? Dress ready to get a little flour, soot and dish soap on you. You’ll need to bring your own water bottle and apron. We will be on our feet most of the day, so wear supportive shoes. Our oven is located outside, so please dress appropriately. In both the cold and heat we will be heading outdoors to bake and to eat lunch.
We are located in Marshall, North Carolina. Coming from out of town? The closest airport is the Asheville regional airport. Check out near by hotels, AirBnB's and recommended afternoon activities here: where to stay & what to do.
You will need your own transportation to and from the bakery. Please allow ample travel time if you’re new to the area or unfamiliar with rural driving. The workshops begin at 9 A.M. and end at 2 P.M, unless otherwise noted. We are often working with live cultures and we need to start when they are ready!
Workshops will involve wheat flour. Our space is not gluten free, nor are any of the snacks we share. A light lunch and glass of wine is provided each day, along with coffee in the mornings. Please plan on eating breakfast before arriving.
Bringing your baked goods, flour and starter home: Bring a canvas tote bag or hot/cold storage bag with you to keep your treats safe while traveling home. A small cooler bag for your starter is also recommended. Paper bags are provided for the bread, as are boxes for your pies and a small jar for your starter.
Should you need to cancel you will receive 50% of your money back up to four weeks before the start of class. If you cannot attend, but it is past the refund date, you are welcome to send a friend or family member in your place. If a workshop is cancelled due to severe weather conditions you will receive a full refund or voucher for a future workshop.
I began hosting workshops at the bakery three years ago. The first one was an apple pie class
that lasted two hours and was pleasantly filled with folks from the area. Now, workshops are the
sole focus of what happens here at Smoke Signals and they are attended by curious bakers
from around the world. It’s an honor to host these informative baking experiments and what you
can expect from me is my full attention.
Our class sizes are intimate here. No more than six adults, ranging in age, geography and
baking skills gather in a single room for three days to listen, share and learn. We’ll cover the
basic science behind baking and focus on the right physical techniques alongside guessing
astrological signs and mulling over what a good society is built from.
I am here to answer your questions and I’m glad to troubleshoot loaves and pies crusts that left
you doubtful. The most frequent questions I deal with concerns what is the best. The best flour?
The best mill? The best oven? The best bread? The best choice is dependent on what the final
goal is. Expect to better understand your needs and hence make clear choices in your baking.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"Part sourdough primer, part love-fest for all things gluten, part primal fire-tending demonstration, part ode to making stuff by hand. You will fall in love with Tara, her outdoor wood-fired oven, the insanely delicious things that emerge from this oven, and the process from start to finish. You will learn that this process is so much more than the sum of its parts, but you knew that going in to it, or you wouldn’t be traveling across the country to Marshall NC." - Abby Rothschild
"Taking your pie workshop a number of years ago remains of my most favorite gifts I've given myself. It pushed my pie knowledge, expanded my view on crust-as-canvas and it is a damn delicious crust, too! Every time I make a pie now I do it with confidence, no finger crossing necessary. In upping my pie game, I've also become more curious about bread and have embarked down that path as well. The workshop was clearly presented, with enough guidelines and wiggle room to really let my artist come into the kitchen. Full steam ahead in the kitchen for me, please!" - Cat Babbie
"I attended a bread and pie workshop in early September, 2017. It really was a wonderful experience, very low key and peaceful, yet extremely educational. Tara is a very bright educator who understands the intricate nature of grains and nutrition. Her bakery with the huge outside brick oven was a perfect spot to experience baking at its finest while getting to know the others attending her workshop. It was such fun, I hope to head her way again!" - Scherry Cusic
"The timing was perfect for me and the experience was stimulating to me on several levels.
-This was my first time in a wood fired bakery and it had an oven built by Alan Scott, the guy who helped lead the renaissance of artisan baking in the USA. I had read his book and stories about Alan Scott written by a few of the bakers that he had mentored, but I never dreamed that I would bake in an oven that he built. Fantastic, very stimulating.
-I also met some great people in the class and learned from each one of them!
-The workshop included a number of topics, but I have used knowledge from every single topic. This includes maintaining a sourdough starter and making sourdough bread, as well as making bagels and pies. I now have a small brick oven in the backyard and a grain mill on the kitchen counter!
-Did I mention the great food? Never in my life had I tasted a pie crust so delicious that it could be used alone for a snack!" - Wes McCready
"Tara is the real deal. I have had the rare pleasure off attending two of Tara’s workshops, Culture Maker’s and Laminated Dough. In these intensive, hands on sessions, she breaks down sophisticated culinary feats so that the home cook can accomplish artisan breads, home made pizza, succulent pie’s and even the illusive Country Croissant. Baking bread was a skill I could never master and now, I can nail each time. She has given me confidence in the kitchen I never imagined I would have. Thank you Tara and I can’t wait to attend again! ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆!" - Kristin Harbin
"What an amazing class and overall experience. I highly recommend taking a class at Smoke Signals. Whether you are a novice or experienced baker, I promise you will learn something valuable. Tara is a warm, funny, and open teacher and person. You won't be sorry you came!!!" - Gina Grossi
“The classes offered by Tara are not your ordinary baking class experience. If they are, then you missed the underlying objective of her classes. Sure, we want to learn how to bake breads and pies. This is why people travel from all over the U.S. and abroad to this quaint two room kitchen with an outdoor wood fire oven in remote Marshall, NC. What you don’t expect is to learn the philosophy behind Smoke Signals that transcends you to a place deep inside of you that ignites passion, purpose, and meaning with every loaf of bread you knead and every crust you roll-out for the hot apple pies. I left Smoke Signals with a greater appreciation for baking, a stronger consciences for the ingredients I source, and a desire to connect with my fellow bakers on a deeper level. It is a baking journey that will transform you.” - Audrey Andrade
"I have been a home baker for many years and my bread was good, but I reached a point where I wasn’t satisfied with good. Tara helped me go from good to great bread in few short hours. I enjoyed her Culture Makers class so much that I took the Pie Intensive class as well. Great instruction and learning opportunity." - Cawford Hitt
"I attended Tara’s three day wood-fired bread class and I have to say it was the most valuable baking class I have ever attended. It was a rare opportunity to have hands on experience with a real (Alan Scott) wood-fired oven. I learned as much about oven management as I did about bread. Excellent instruction on managing the sour dough culture and the levain so that everything came together right. The bonus class on sourdough bagels was amazing; Rich shared his recipe (and his bagel boards) and I was able to successfully translate the process to my own wood-fired oven. Well done!” - Mark Holland