After my recent delivery from the One Mile Bakery (see my review for more details) I was excited to be invited to the first ever bread making class run at Elisabeth’s house in Pontcanna. After the success of the deliveries and having met Elisabeth, I was certain the classes were going to be great and I wasn’t disappointed.
I arrived to some familiar faces which made the day extra fun as I was baking with fab food bloggers Nicki (Cardiffbites), Bev (Eats for Wales) and Mark (Corpulent Capers). Elisabeth welcomed us and showed her into her kitchen where she quickly busied herself making us tea.
Four bloggers ready to start baking
The day was jam-packed with lunch included and although we made a lot of different bread, it was still relaxed and we managed to get time to chat and gossip. Elisabeth is an excellent teacher and her passion for bread shone through with plenty of sniffing, prodding and an unrivaled knowledge.
The class we attended An Introduction to Baking Bread and was designed to show us the key stages of baking and to allow us to understand the different types of bread as well as the key techniques involved. We made four loaves in the time we were there. Elisabeth started off by talking us through different flours. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never paid a great deal of attention to what type of flour I use which is probably why in the past my bread has been nothing to shout about but from now on, this will be a consideration.
Elisabeth explained the benefits of spelt flour for people who have problems digesting bread (i.e. me) so when we got to choose the flour for our first loaf, I naturally went for spelt. We all used different flour but followed the same process. It was much quicker and much easier than I expected and I felt that I really learnt a lot.
We learnt how to make a well in our flour in order to add the yeast and the water and how it should look when it has been left the rest.
After 15 minutes came the kneading before resting it. Elisabeth gave us lots of tips on how we know when the dough had been kneaded enough and timings. My loaf turned out much better than I had expected and I will definitely make this easy little number again at home.
While making the first loaf, waiting for the yeast to do its magic, we had a taste test to compare some well-known supermarket bread to Elisabeth’s loaf.There was obviously no contest but having looked at the ingredients in the shop bought bread, no wonder I can’t eat bread without getting ill! Vinegar? Not to mention the E numbers.
With the first loaf ‘resting’ it was time for some of Elisabeth’s apricot bread. Even without butter this was lovely (although of course I added lashings of butter!).
The second loaf was a simple rye variety. This one was even easier as it didn’t need kneading. Rye is apparently easier to digest than a wheat loaf as it has different gluten structures. It also has a stronger flavour so works well with spices. I chose to add some cumin and ground coriander which gave it a very unusual flavour but delicious!
The star of the show for me was the ridiculously yummy bacon, red onion and balsamic bread. I was dying to try this when it came out of the oven and as soon as I got home, this was the one I broke into. It was delicious, even if I do say so myself!
Last of all we made a round Pain de Campagne. This was a winner in my house and looked very professional thanks to Elisabeth’s floured circular bowls and some serious slashing! This was one of my favourites and I was amazed that we could make something that looked so professional in an Introduction to Baking Bread.
The class was so much fun and the setting was lovely. I felt so relaxed baking in Elisabeth’s kitchen. It felt like we were learning from a friend rather than from a teacher. For a nosy person like me, baking in the home is the best place for something like this. Not only does it make it more personal and informal but I got to have a peek at someone elses house! What a beautiful house it is too!
I highly recommend this class and would love to try out some of the other classes on offer. There are a list of classes on the One Mile Bakery website and for the amount of time and the amount of bread I went home with, not to mention Elisabeth’s excellent teaching, I think it is value for money and a great day out.