Unlike most teachers, Larry Lagattuta encourages his students to fail.
Out of crushing defeat, the owner of Enrico Biscotti believes, rises success.
On the last Sunday of each month, Lagattuta leads a student body of about 50 through the art of traditional bread-making. The course, which costs $50, begins at 10 a.m. with a family-style breakfast, wine and lecture on all things bread. The Strip District's café's brick-oven kitchen serves as Lagattuta's classroom, where he tutors the group on the history and culture of our sliceable loaf.
"Bread was always made by grandmothers," says Lagattuta. "They wouldn't dream of going to a store to buy it. Bread-making used to bring families together. They'd sit around the table and pass it around and pass it around."
Unless more people in this country are educated on the craft, Lagattuta believes, the art of bread-making will die out.
"I tell my class not to act like impatient Americans," he says. "If you weren't successful at sex the first time, would you give it up?"
Patience and imperfection are two essential ingredients in every loaf, according to Lagattuta, who debunks the myth that baking bread is best left to experts.
"It's like moving to a new city," he says. "The best way to find your way around is to get lost and ask people for help. Many people avoid baking bread because they feel their ovens aren't hot enough, or that they are incapable of mastering flour-water ratios.
"Anyone's oven can be made into a bread oven," he explains. "You just have to know a few tricks."
In addition to a "big, fat family breakfast," Lagattuta provides all kneaded supplies and a dash of stand-up comedy.
"It's like theater," says Colleen Bender, who took the class last month. "Flour flies everywhere, people are drinking wine, digging in dough and having loads of laughs." Bender took home two loaves and an unyielding desire to flunk.
Individual sign-ups and private group classes can be arranged by reservation.
2022 Penn Ave.,