Saturday, 20 January 2018


It was my sister in law's 60th birthday yesterday,  and my brother had arranged for them to go on a breadmaking course near me.     They've recently got a breadmaker, and have been enjoying making their own bread, so he thought (correctly) that J might like to try real home made bread.    I rarely make bread by hand anymore (I use a breadmaker to make bread,  or to make dough for hand finishing,  and a mixer to make bread for pizza and nans and other flat breads),  but it sounded interesting.

We went to the Willow Micro Bakery  What a fab day it was! 

It was a basic course, so we made white bread, wholemeal bread, soda bread,  and Nicky demostrated sourdough and proper rye breads.   

DH and I chose to make slighly different loaves to each other, so we could compare and contrast.  For example, I made a 100% white loaf,  he made 50/50 with Kamut (Khorasan) flour.     I made 100% wholemeal,  he did a 50/50 with some specialst italian malt flour.

Soda bread I've made many times before, but I learned that I handle the mixture too much.   The textur of the stuff we made on the course was better than I make normally.

It was interesting to use fresh yeast. I haven't done that for many years. 

And it was very interesting to learn about shaping the loaves - how to do it properly to make sure the tension is right to give a good crust.

While we were there we were talking about using mixers and bread makers.  Nicky was completely unsnobby about breadmakers,  which was good.   We discussed the merits of various mixers.  She's gettting a specialised mixer soon, and I asked if it was going to be an Ankarsum Assistent.   It kneads using rollers, which is the closest a machine can get to replicating hand kneading.  It also has a different roller for making sourdsough and rye breads.
Pic from John Norman's blog

I found one of the  blog entries from my on-line friend, John Norman, to show her a picture.   She's getting a bigger version, but it's the same sort of thing.

I read John's various entries again, and semi seriously considered buying one.   But I just don't make dough in large enough quantities to make it worthwhile.  But you could make large batches and freeze them ready for baking..... the little voice in my head whispered.

And I replied How about we see if actually bother to make, shape and freeze large batches first?  Then I'll think about getting one.

That, I suspect, is the end of that.

The story of John's initial purchase is here    He occasionally writes about it in his blog.     A recently entryy, 3 and a half years on from his initial purchase,  shows just what a master he has become


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