27 September 2013

GUEST BLOG: Breaking bread

By guest blogger SIOBHAN KELLY

Saturday’s sell-out Breaking Bread session saw the group make a basic loaf, garlic naan and focaccia with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, rock salt and olive oil. An extra treat for all the participants were the lunchtime pizzas made by me and volunteers Janice and Barry, which we topped with red and green peppers, fresh chilli, garlic, anchovies, mushrooms and cheese, and a special sauce made with red onions, garlic, tinned tomatoes, chopped fresh pear and seasoning, simmered down.   

The friendly group of people on the course today gathered around to learn about breadmaking from Rob, who shared his wealth of information and knowledge throughout the session: from scientific facts and top tips to differences in the yeasts available, good places to buy ingredients, and ‘bakers mates’ and their value in the kitchen.

To start, the group mixed flour with water, yeast and salt to make the bread dough, leaving it to rest under a wet towel while getting on with the dough for the naan and focaccia. With the ovens pre-heating for the loaves, the temperature in the kitchen was rising, making it the perfect environment for the dough to rise. Making focaccia is fun: stretching the dough, folding it over, rolling it and adding ingredients between the layers. And the result is rustic and delicious - a cut above shop-bought versions. For the naan bread, garlic was chopped and mixed with salt to make a garlic paste, and yoghurt was gently heated in a pan using a finger to stir rather than a spoon to keep it at the correct temperature. The garlic naans were then fried in pans of hot oil, giving off a really appetising smell. They can be flavoured as strongly or as mildly as you like, depending on your taste - just one of the benefits of making them from scratch.

Everything came together perfectly at the end of the session: loaves, garlic naan and focaccia, all lovely and warm. Recipe sheets were given out to the group to encourage and enable everyone to try breadmaking again at home and to share their new-found knowledge with friends and family. Another great day in the kitchen!

You can see more photos from this breadmaking session on the Cracking Good Food Facebook page. Click here to view.

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