The second annual Edmonton Resilience Festival took place on April 30 – May 1, 2016 at the Boyle Street Plaza. The festival continued the themes it began to explore in their first year, encouraging attendees to learn new skills and adopt a "do it yourself" mentality.
2016 Edmonton Resilience Festival
Organizers from The Local Good, the volunteer-driven organization behind the festival, seemed satisfied with the attendance this year. The shift in timing of the festival (changed from February to May) did make it easier to program outdoor activities, and did promote more food truck foot traffic. Workshop pricing also changed to much more differentiated ticket prices, ranging from $10-$50.
Sourdough Surprise workshop
I decided to sign up for Sourdough Surprise: Naturally Leavened Biscuits, Waffles and Muffins after Su, my sourdough companion from last year, tipped me off. It was led by Owen Petersen of Prairie Mill. I really enjoyed Owen’s Bread Making 101 session at the inaugural festival – he demystified sourdough for me, and made scratch bread seem much less daunting. I’ve made many loaves since then, and (a personal achievement), have managed to keep the starter we were given that day alive for more than a year. In many ways, I went in to this class treating it as "Sourdough 2.0", eager to build on the base of knowledge I had already learned.
Most in the class were new to the idea of sourdough, so Owen provided an overview about the starter (affectionately named Julie) as well as a basic sourdough bread recipe. Even though it was a review for both Su and I, I appreciated the refresher, as there were some things I had already forgotten. The intimate two hour class also permitted the luxury of time, and we were able to move through each topic at a leisurely pace. Owen is such an enthusiastic teacher that you can’t help but be inspired to pick up his baking mantle.
Su and I show off our dough babies
We ended up only making muffins and waffles. The recipes called for starter-based batters, which lent the final products textures slightly different than more traditional flour-only based recipes. The muffins, for instance, had a much tighter crumb and were more dense than I’m used to, but will be worth a try at home.
The waffle recipe, however, will go into our immediate rotation. So simple, the resulting waffles had a nice chew and a slight tang. I can envision making batches large enough to freeze and have on hand.
My only disappointment was that we didn’t have the chance to make the biscuit recipe as originally advertised. I recognize that festival finances change, so I don’t begrudge the fee increase (from $25 in 2015 to $50 in 2016), but the takeaways this year didn’t seem to have the value that I was looking for – besides sampling some muffins and waffles, we took home the same amount of sourdough as last year.
Mixing up bread dough
Overall, I enjoyed the chance to learn more tips and tricks from Owen, and look forward to experimenting further in my own kitchen! Thanks again to Owen for sharing your gift and to the organizers behind the festival for putting on the event.