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Sessions Explore Bread-Making History, Use Wyoming-Grown First Grains for Baking

July 5, 2019
woman talking to a group of people outside at a table
Maria Trumpler, right, conducts a baking class. Trumpler, a senior lecturer in Yale University’s women’s, gender and sexuality studies, will present a session on bread making in America in Cody July 26 and host a bread-making workshop in Worland July 27. (Caitlin Youngquist Photo)

Those “kneading” bread-making immersion this summer can participate in a two-part series in Cody and Worland utilizing Wyoming-grown first grains.

The Cody program features a discussion on bread making in America, and the Worland program is a bread-making workshop, which requires a fee, followed by the lecture. There is no fee or registration required to attend the lecture.

The programs are part of the Wyoming First Grains project through the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which has been supported by $50,000 in development funding by UW’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Flour will be milled from Wyoming-grown spelt for the workshop, and samples of bread also will be provided at the Cody lecture. More information about the Wyoming First Grains project is at

Maria Trumpler,  a senior lecturer in Yale University’s women’s, gender and sexuality studies who teaches baking classes on historical American breads, will share her bread-making research in the free presentation Friday, July 26, from 2-3:30 p.m. at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, says UW Extension educator Caitlin Youngquist.

Trumpler will discuss her studies into the history of bread baking in America, including bread variety, grains used, how the grain was milled and how the bread was leavened and baked. Trumpler also will explore why home-bread baking nearly disappeared between 1890 and 1940. Claire’s French Bakery in Cody will bring bread to sample.

Breads will be made the next day, Saturday, July 27, in Worland from 1-3 p.m. at the Washakie Museum and Cultural Center, located at 2200 Big Horn Ave. There is a $15 fee to participate. Space is limited to 10, and pre-registration is required by calling (307) 347-4102.

Several breads will be made, including beaten biscuits, flatbread and cornbread. Trumpler will discuss their economic and cultural context, and what the breads say about the lives of the women who baked them at home, Youngquist says. Trumpler will present her free lecture at 3 p.m.

Modern innovations changed baking and American culture in many ways from 1880 to 1920, Trumpler says. Cooking with wood fire changed to electric ranges. As a result, breads lost the crisp crust and smoky flavor, plus a baker’s expertise managing the fire, she says.

By the 1880s, dried packaged yeasts and baking powders arrived commercially and were touted as making bakers’ lives easier. For example, the beaten biscuit recipe made without chemical leaveners requires beating and folding the dough for 1,000 strokes for 25-35 minutes.

Cultural, economic and agricultural production changes closed flour mills that milled local whole grain rye, wheat flour and corn meal in communities; and families bought industrialized bleached and bromated white flours.

For more information, call Youngquist at (307) 347-4102 or email

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