19 March 2013

GUEST BLOG: Flour power

By guest blogger Siobhan Kelly

On Saturday, we joined forces with the Northern Quarter Baking Club and worked as one big team. Everyone made a loaf of bread, then worked in small groups to make garlic naan dough and focaccia dough, each frying their own naan breads, then sharing in the making of the huge and quite amazing looking focaccias – better than anything you could ever buy in a shop, and a work of art, in my eyes.

Meanwhile, I was involved in making pizza dough, a basic tomato sauce and toppings for the participants' lunch, and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. It was my first time making a pizza from scratch and I was amazed at just how simple and quick it actually was - I'll be doing it again at home!

First off was making a loaf of bread each. Cooking leader Rob explained the different types of yeast and how each of them react and work, and differences between dried, fresh and fast-acting yeast. Tins were liberally greased with margarine, ready to pop the kneaded dough in place. The kitchen soon became warm with all the ovens on, ready for the baking to begin.

Once the loaf dough was left to do its thing, we split into small groups to make the dough for the naans and focaccia. The great thing about making your own garlic naan from scratch is that you can make it as strong with garlic as your taste allows, and it's healthy and full of flavour. The focaccia is exciting to make, stretching then folding over and rolling the dough then adding ingredients in between the layers: sun-dried tomatoes and olives, fresh rosemary, sliced red onions and a sprinkling of rock salt. 

A feast of fresh breads was displayed on the table at the close of the session, and then we had a relaxed time nibbling on the fresh garlic naan breads dipped in red pepper hummous while listening to Rob's wisdom on breadmaking. This was an inspiring, interesting and sociable session with a friendly bunch of people, which made for great team-work. Real hands-on fun, learning and cooking together - what better way to spend a Saturday morning and early afternoon?

There are more photographs from this session on our Facebook page

We've added some more breadmaking sessions to the spring programme as all those scheduled have booked up! On Saturday 11 May, we'll be re-running the Bread Extra session described here, then on Saturday 29 June, we are running the second all-day breadmaking session - see the CGF website for full details of both and how to book. 

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