Panera Bread and Viking Culinary Arts Centers are teaming up, according to a statement, “to celebrate the art of crafting bread and raise awareness of its importance in the American culture and diet.” At the Viking Culinary Arts Centers in Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Long Island, Philadelphia and St. Louis, Panera artisan bakers will instruct monthly classes on how to craft and enjoy freshly baked breads at home.

Participants will receive bread-based recipes, a complimentary take-home bread guide and reloadable Panera Cards(TM). Classes are limited to 10 participants, and a percentage of the class proceeds will benefit the Panera Bread hunger relief program Operation Dough-Nation®.

Panera bakers developed the baking class to share their expertise and passion for bread with the community. The three-hour, hands-on session will be an exploration of one of the world’s oldest foods, and bakers will teach participants the techniques of mixing dough, hand-crafting loaves, baking bread, and creating delicious bread-based recipes.

“Bread is an integral part of our history and culture, and the smell of bread baking in the oven is closely tied to our memories of holidays, family and friends,” said Mike Marino, Panera master artisan baker. “We designed this class to simplify the process of bread making so that people can continue the traditions of baking at home no matter how busy their lifestyle.”

By participating in the bread classes, customers and bread enthusiasts will have the opportunity to meet and learn from the expert bakers responsible for Panera’s award-winning bread. A page will be added to the Panera website listing bread class dates and locations. Panera is also developing a site for visitors to troubleshoot baking problems with the help of Panera experts, e-mail bread-related questions, and share favorite recipes.

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