What a delightful way to spend a day! Well the first weekend of July was interesting – England were in the quarter finals of the football world cup, it was the first day of the 2018 Tour de France and I was booked on a bread making course at the delightful Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle. The course started at 9.30 and went on till 4.30 and was run by Adrian (and his family) from @breadandgardens. Adrian was a great host for this sort of event and I hope to get to share some cooking time with him again in the future. The one disadvantage of that first Saturday in July (other than the sporting clashes) was the weather – I wonderfully hot day with glorious sunshine would normally be very welcome but not when cooking in a restored 13th Century Monastery with non opening windows above a restaurant kitchen pass! Thank goodness for the jugs of iced water!!
There were 8 participants on the course and in the morning, we mixed and kneaded 3 different breads: a basic northern white, a granary type bread and a fruit and nut bread. The temperature meant that they handled differently than in normal conditions but this gave a great opportunity to discuss how to control and to live with the ‘natural’ side of bread making. Two of these loaves were baked whilst we descended to the restaurant for a delightful 3 course lunch…………….
The last of the morning bread was baked at the start of the afternoon as we prepared a quick granola packed ‘soda bread’ – which could be cooked alongside as there was no need for a standard proving phase.
This was a very ‘laid back and relaxed course – but in that relaxed atmosphere we completed a great deal. As we worked and talked Adrian interspersed our activities with demonstrations: a no knead Rye bread, ciabatta and bread platting – which we all concluded the day with. I am really looking forward to find some time to adapt some of the techniques we practiced for use on the Big Green Egg – but that is a project for later in the year. All in all a great way to spend the day and we all went home with goody bags filled with our day’s work and a cooking school apron