Make bread like a pro
It’s my favourite week on Bake Off, bread week! One of the more technical weeks when you normally see a few new contestants shine. For me bread beats all other baking, I enjoy making cakes and having a slice or two but when I make bread it is always polished off the same day. It’s fair to say bread making takes practice and results can be a little hit and miss. But it doesn’t always have to be that way.
I have a little secret that I would like to share with you, to help you bake consistently fantastic bread, they come in the form of Bread Angels. No it doesn’t include wings and fairy dust but instead magic sourdough starter and flour. Bread Angels are a small group of artisan bakers who are sharing their skills to help teach you how to make beautiful bread using traditional techniques. They run courses across the country and also run small artisan bakeries.
The basic bread course starts from £70, they typically run from 10 to 2.30pm, include lunch and you take home all your warm bread plus lots of well written handouts. If you wanted to be more adventurous you can choose from an Italian bread course or even the sourdough course.
Lucie Steele is our local Bread Angel in Berkshire, I’ve had the pleasure of completing Lucie’s sourdough bread course several months ago and I have been consistently producing great results ever since. The day it’s self ran from 10 to about 4.30pm, we were a small group of 4 which was perfect for Lucie’s garden bakery. We made 5 different sourdough loafs, using a range of flours and flavours. There weren’t any rules on the day, we tried what we liked or fancied, mixing flour combinations, herbs, seeds, honey and fruit to create different results. As we had our angel’s watchful eye over us every loaf was a success.
After a delicious lunch and a browse through many baking cook books we got back to work making a huge batch of Swedish crackers, thin & crispy with all sorts of flavour combinations. My favourite was a hint of honey, sesame and chilli! Random I know but they were amazing!
Everything you make you get to take home, armed with a bag of warm bread, 2 different sourdough starters and all the recipe handouts I headed off home in a happy baking daze. Thankfully I had some room in the freezer to continue to enjoy my bread for a couple of weeks to come.
Take a look for a course near you, or find out who your local bread angel is so you can buy and enjoy excellent local artisan bread.
If you wanted to take it one step further you can take the micro bakery course which teaches you everything you need to know to start up your own bakery. Maybe one day I will be able to review this course too…
Writing this article has inspired me so I am off to feed my sourdough starter.