5 February 2013

GUEST BLOG: Floured up

By guest blogger SIOBHAN KELLY

The Bread Extra session at Chorlton High School on Saturday (2 February) was a treat, and a lovely group gathered for an extended and relaxed session on this bright, clear Manchester morning. On the menu was a basic loaf, naan bread and focaccia.

After the initial introductions and some interesting facts about the different flours available, it was time to start measuring flour and mixing with water for the dough. As we mixed and kneaded and shaped the basic loaf dough, we learnt some great tips, including...

Top Tip: it is better to end up with wetter dough rather than drier dough as flour can always be added, but nearly impossible to add water after this stage.

Top Tip: if your hands are sticky after kneading dough, cover them with flour and rub together instead of washing with water - it comes off a treat.

We left the dough to ‘rest’ in a bowl covered with a tea towel - the room was nice and warm (almost tropical!) to help this process along - and got on with preparing the garlic for the naan. The cloves were sliced in two directions then chopped finely before salt was added to make a garlic paste. Yoghurt was gently heated in a pan using a finger to stir rather than a spoon (to enable the correct temperature to be reached), then this was added to the naan dough, which was rolled out and fried in a pan - easy!

The most exciting bread for me today was the focaccia, quite a magnificent sight, containing sun-dried tomatoes, olives, red onions and fresh rosemary – just beautiful. The dough was loosely stretched into a large rectangle, scattered with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and olives, folded over, rolled a little then sprinkled with thin slices or chopped pieces of red onions, fresh rosemary and rock salt, ready to cook in the oven

Once the focaccia and loaves were ready to take out, we set the table and all sat down to chat and feast, with red pepper hummous to accompany the breads. Now and throughout the session, Rob talked about breadmaking with so many interesting facts and figures, helpful tips, scientific facts - such food for thought. Four hours went by in a flash!

More photographs from this session can be viewed on the Cracking Good Food Facebook page. Click here.

We are running a very special all-day breadmaking session on 20 April. See our website for full details and booking information. Click here.

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