Friday, 6 November 2015

Bread making class

Bread making is something I've come to enjoy this past year or two. I never thought I had the patience for bread making; bread is not usually something you can whip up in an hour or on a whim. It requires planning in advance but the result is entirely worth it. With or without a bread maker and armed with a few simple recipes, bread making is actually quite achievable. Besides, it's practically impossible to resist freshly baked bread!

We were back at Crave Cooking School this week for a bread making class with chef Zoe Lloyd. Bagels, corn bread and sourdough were on the menu.

I love sourdough. One thing I've always wanted to do is start a sourdough starter - and keep it alive. This is not as easy as it sounds. We looked at the instructions and talked through the steps several times. Although I took detailed notes I'm still not entirely convinced that it's going to work for me, but I'm now ready to transfer my starter into a glass jar in preparation for feeding it this weekend. I guess I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best!

The mixing and baking process itself for sourdough is similar to most other breads. We began combining the mixture into dough form and kneading it by hand before finishing it off in this super duper dough mixer. The dough hook on my Kenwood mixer will come in handy when I make sourdough at home.

Is there room for one of these mixers in my kitchen?
We then shaped our dough, slit the top and left it to proof before baking. This is what they looked like straight out of the oven. You'll have to imagine the incredible smell for yourself.

Sourdough fresh from the oven
Next up, bagels. I can usually take or leave bagels; eating something with the texture of cardboard really doesn't appeal to me. Making my own bagels, however, opened my eyes to how good they can be - and no hint of cardboard whatsoever. Using basically the same ingredients as pizza (flour, yeast, salt, sugar, olive oil and water), these bagels were a really pleasant surprise in both flavour and texture. They're also easy enough to make and shape by hand. After they've proofed, they are boiled then baked.

I like the idea of everything bagels, where you top them with everything you can get your hands on (think poppy seeds, sesame seeds, flaky salt, peppercorns, fresh garlic, onion flakes ...) and fill them with even more yummy stuff. Here's my everything bagel filled with salmon and cream cheese.

Everything bagel filled with salmon and cream cheese
In between the sourdough and bagels proofing, we also made loaves of cornbread, a type of quick bread using cornmeal and with a teaspoon each of paprika and cayenne pepper to give it a little kick. This was my favourite freshly baked bread of the night and one that I went back for seconds. No pics for this one - I was distracted by the amazing taste and smell.

As a result of Tuesday's class, it's been a bread-filled week. The cornbread is in the freezer and will be defrosted this weekend. The sour dough was devoured at a family birthday tomorrow night and the bagels became lunch each day.

Thanks once again to the Crave Cooking School team (Zoe, Lucy and Marco) for a fun baking class. I've now got a few more skills to add to my breadmaking arsenal and a sourdough starter that I'm determined not to kill.

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