Baking Bread at Loaf Online

Apologies for the delay between posts but I have returned to work and it’s been a bit of a shock to the system after being off on maternity. Whilst I have been doing some work during my maternity in and around Baby G’s naps and feeds, now she goes to a childminder for 2 days per week. I try not to miss her too much and get some work done, with try being the operative word!

Not satisified with a day job, a baby to look after I all the rest of things that fill my life I have also setting up my own papercraft business as an Independent Stampin’ Up! demonstrator. My other interest apart from cooking is crafting, and being a demo is now becoming a big part of my life.

So that’s where I’ve been and why I haven’t yet told you about the completion of one of my 2011 resolutions. This year I wanted to learn to bake real bread and I particularly wanted to go on a course at Loaf Online. Once word got out on twitter that me and Jo of Jo’s kitchen were going, we had a few other tweeps interested and so organised a Midlands Food Bloggers (and friends) course with Tom Baker of Loaf Online. Now I’d previously been to Loaf Online as part my first foray into the food blogger world and so knew what to expect and was really excited about the reality of learning how to bake good bread, and what’s more consistently good bread.

The day began with some fresh bread (naturally) and tea and coffee whilst Tom explained what we would be doing during the course. It sounded like we had a lot to do … ciabattas, white loaves, wholemeal rolls, fougasse, brioche dough and not forgetting pizzas for lunch!

As Tom demonstrated the perfect kneading technique we learnt how to ensure consistent good baking with a few tips and tricks like the right oven temperature and weighing your water amongst others.

Then it was our turn and in pairs we set to work on making our dough’s. I loved how “hand’s on” the course is, as getting the right dough mix and knowing how the feel of it changes as you knead is really the key to good bread. Plus we had Tom there to check we had kneaded it enough and had a good dough to prove.

Bread course

Once the dough’s were made and left to prove, we were taken outside to Tom’s clay woodfire oven to prepare fougasse and pizza’s.

Tom built this oven himself (wonder if can get hubby to add one to our garden?!) We were shown how to make fougasse with it’s distinctive slits and then set to work to make our own. The hardest bit for me was trying to get the bread into the oven with the peel – it’s all about a confident sharp shove apparently!

Our fougasse were flavoured with the morrocan spice blend Ras el hanout and once baked put to one side to kick start our  bread bounty that we would take home at the end of the day.  Then it was on to lunch and we each to prepared a pizza to share with the group. 

During the day we also made the dough for the ciabatta,  which we all found quite tricky to work with due to the wetness of the dough, but it was good to do this on the course so you can get a feel for how wet it really “should” be. (oh yes, I did sit there smirking when the contestants on Great British Bake off seemed perplexed about the wetness of the foccacia dough!)

During the afternoon it was time to bake the loaves, buns and ciabattas we had prepared and the last job of the day was to prepare a brioche dough which we would take home to bake the next day.

It was a great day and I can say it made me feel more confident in baking bread at home.

Thanks to Tom and all the other MFB tweeps that attended for a really enjoyable day.

5 thoughts on “Baking Bread at Loaf Online

  1. What a great day. I loved the breadmaking course I was on and was startled to find out how wet the dough should be, along with taking the temperature of the flour as well as the water. It is definitely a bit of a science. I need to do more really. Never enough hours in the day. In fact I don’t know how you are managing to fit so much in. It does get easier being apart from baby. I found the first couple of weeks not bad, because it was a novelty being back at work, then it hit me really hard. Now it is ok.

  2. Wow you are busy! I imagine you are missing that lovely girl of yours very much. Good luck with the crafting business. Those breads really do look very impressive. I would like to do a Loaf course, they sound really great.

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