Well, I’ve just returned from what I’d planned to be weekend of relaxation in Dorset, nothing but soaking up the fresh air, sleeping late and enjoying Mum’s home cooked food….
Unfortunately my ideas of an indulgent and lethargic Saturday were scuppered after my Mum’s announcement that she was partaking in a Bread-Making workshop at 9am Saturday morning and would I like to attend? As I’m not all that experienced when it comes to making bread, I jumped at the chance to learn more and be taught by a professional baker – in spite of the early morning start!
The workshop, was organised by local Transition Town Dorchester and was held at Sergeant Buns, a local bakery in Weymouth where the baker boasts 30 years of experience and had a wealth of knowledge which he was only too happy to share with us.
Of the three types of bread we made that morning, our first challenge was a white loaf, the ingredients were incredibly simple – flour, salt, yeast and warm water (much to everyone’s surprise there was no sugar!) Then we were up to our elbows in dough. We had to work the mixture until it was tacky without being sticky and then the kneading commenced!!
Of the entire process, the kneading was what I found most challenging. When kneading you’re endeavouring for the bread to feel like silk and working the dough to this point involves a lot more elbow grease than I initially anticipated! Striking the balance between being strong without rough is tricky, you need to get all of your strength behind the dough and really push it away from you.
Following the white, came wholemeal and soda bread and by the third loaf I’d started to get the hang of kneading and whilst my technique was far from perfect, there was a definite improvement and much less call for assistance from our mentor!
The fruits of our labor looked and tasted wonderful! The white was air-light the wholemeal soft and squidgey, hite, soft wholemeal fantastically fruity soda bread – full of spice and packed with flavour. All our hard work certainly paid off as we sat down to fresh bread for afternoon tea.
Back home in Bristol I definitely have my eyes peeled for similar workshops and would recommend anyone with an apptitude for baking and home cooking to try one and to learn more about baking with basic ingredients and local produce.