Rob's very popular bread session was fully booked again on the morning of Saturday 18 January, with everyone keen to start making their loaf of bread, garlic naan breads and focaccia. After a brief introduction, the session started with a chat from Rob sharing his wealth of knowledge on bread-making, handy tips, behaviour of different yeasts, and the sourcing of ingredients, and this continued throughout the session. The fun began by mixing flour, water, salt and yeast together to make the first batch of dough for a loaf of bread using a Baker's Mate. No kitchen should be without one of these fantastic little white spatulas.
Leaving the dough to rise, the group split into pairs and worked together to prepare the naan bread and focaccia doughs. The focaccia dough was stretched, rolled and sprinkled with sun-dried tomatoes and olives, then folded into three, rolled out again and left to rise, then sprinkled with sliced red onions, rock salt, fresh rosemary and olive oil on top ready to bake. These are spectacular in my eyes, so rustic and beautiful and my favourite visually. The naan dough, made with heated yogurt to give it's distinct flavour and texture, was then ready to roll into shape and cook in a frying pan - delicious eaten on its own, with houmous, curry or anything, really.
Pizza dough was made during the session by the volunteer and co-ordinator, which is fun and simple to make. While the pizza dough was rising, the topping was prepped: red, green and yellow peppers, anchovies, black olives, mushrooms, cheese and fresh chillies - a winning combination of colour, flavour and texture. A light fluffy pizza was produced, very tasty - I could have eaten six slices myself! This is the lunch treat we serve to the participants of the bread sessions.
Recipe sheets were given out, so there was no need for note-taking during the busy hands-on session. I'm sure everyone will be inspired to continue baking these breads at home - perhaps it will be the end of 'shop-bought bread' for them in the future… Thanks as always to our volunteers, who give up their time for free and help our sessions run smoothly. We would struggle without their hard work and time given.
Look out for future bread session dates on the Cracking Good Food website; there are now full-day sessions in Whalley Range as well as the half-day sessions like this one in Chorlton.