By guest blogger CORIN BELL
Our full-day bread baking course is going from strength to strength in its new home in Prestwich, and was no exception! The amazing Rob Tomlinson was on hand to tell us everything we ever wanted to know about yeast, sourdough, flours, processes and myths in bread baking. The day started with a chat about the loaves that we’d be making, choosing the right flour and different sorts of yeast – all over a coffee… and some of Rob’s lovely home made flapjack (he does look after us).
The group’s first task was to make a classic white loaf, keeping the recipe nice and simple to focus on techniques, the right steps to take, timings and myths. There are so many books, websites and blogs about bread, and all of the experts have different tips and steps that they swear by, so it’s great to have Rob on hand to explain why certain bakers swear by certain tips, how they all fit together, and how you can devise the perfect bread baking process to suit you.
While the participants cracked on with kneading, I got on with getting lunch prepared. In keeping with the dough-based theme, we were making pizzas, with some tasty beetroot and farro grain salad. Although the group don’t make the pizzas themselves, we talked them through the process, which is very similar to the basic loaf recipe, and everyone got the recipe so they could have a go when at home.
Over the course of the day, with lots of time for coffee and questions, the group also made a beautiful black olive, sun-dried tomato and rosemary focaccia, and a light rye bread bloomer. It was great to be able to compare how the different types of flour behave, and how different additions to the basic loaf (the focaccia is an enriched dough, with olive oil in the basic recipe) affect the rising time, and how you treat the dough to get it light and airy.
The full-day bread making course is a delightful, engaging workshop, with a lovely relaxed pace… as Rob reminded us, great bread has five ingredients, flour, yeast, water, and pinch of salt, and lots of time.
Check out the Cracking Good Food website for details of all our breadmaking courses.