Last Saturday, several friends and members of Midlands Food Bloggers gathered together at Loaf HQ for a cookery course on how to bake bread. The course leader, Tom Baker is owner of Loaf, a social enterprise with the aim to “promote real food and healthy living in Birmingham, and build community through food”. For more details, please visit www.loafonline.co.uk
The day started early over freshly brewed tea, coffee and freshly baked bread and Tom explained to us what we would be doing for the day- it sounded quite daunting- a white loaf, wholemeal loaf, fougasse, pizza, ciabatta and brioche! We were all quite excited at the prospect of learning how to bake these breads, and that some of the loaves, and the pizza would be baked outside, in the clay oven. The clay oven was lit before we arrived and the smell coming from the garden was amazing.
The course was very hands on, and Tom explained not just the ingredients, but why we use them, in what quantities, why temperature was important, why accurate weighing was key- and some great kneading techniques. We were provided with the recipes, but also with a better understanding of how the bread making process works, and this information will definitely help bake quality bread time and time again. During the day, Tom answered the many questions we had about baking and gave us tips and ideas on how to improve our loaves- my personal favourite is using a scraper to keep the dough together and to get it off the work surface, something I have always struggled with.
The results were amazing! The pizzas we made for lunch were the nicest I’ve ever tasted, probably helped by the clay oven.
We all went home with a sizeable amount of breads that we had baked and I decided to have a go at baking some the following day, not quite believing I could repeat the results. Tom’s basis behind the day was teaching us to make consistently good bread- and he succeeded. By Sunday evening I had created a fluffy white loaf with an amazing crust and a fluffy, if a bit too stretched focaccia (Tom tweeted me later to advise me to use a smaller tray next time) and brioche rolls.
Written by Lisa of Mmmidlands on behalf of MFB.