I strongly believe that exploring the creative side of oneself gives more joy than the sum of its parts. I tend to be quite eclectic, having learnt enough to satisfy me,then wandering off and picking up a new thread that led off in often quite an obscure way. Knitting and crochet led to patchwork and quilt making which led to stained glass window making, which bought me back to sewing, whilst at the same time the allotment led to jam making, pickle making, cake making, bread making, chicken keeping, blogging and photography! Then sewing led to dressmaking and tailoring which led to note taking, bullet journaling and the odd dabble in water colours and fountain pen management and not forgetting my new loves as yet to be documented of weaving and tapestry. Now I don’t presume to be a master of any of these, but the pleasure they give is immense.
So when I saw a free taster course of sour dough bread making advertised on Eventbrite by The Learning Loaf, to celebrate Urban Food Fortnight, I immediately booked two tickets, one for me to fine tune a couple of details of sour dough making that I thought would be interesting to see how the masters do it and one for hubby for him to explore his inner creativity.
Graham was a wonderful tutor, not least in that he didn’t weigh any of his ingredients. That small detail gave me so much pleasure as I’ve always thought that often as not some bread making books can be a little too complicated, giving percentages as well as weight of how much water a dough should contain. I’ve always felt that bread should be made by feel and that one should trust in ones own instincts and often as not you’ll get something extremely tasty to eat. After all did the Ancient Greeks weigh their flour and water to the nearest gram, I think not.
It was a wonderful treat to be able to feel just exactly the give in the dough after mixing and kneading, and also quite reassuring it was very similar to my own at home. Hubby had a lovely time kneading his very first loaf, he really got into the swing of it. His technique was lovely, definitely a bread maker on the rise. Soon we were hunched over some lovely breads, tummies loudly grumbling in anticipation as they were cut up for us to try. Oh they were good, just so very, very good. Honest, good bread, the flour milled by a working windmill in Brixton – Graham tells of how he collects his flour by tube, how’s that for minimising your carbon foot print.
If you fancy a bread making course I have to recommend the Learning Loaf, not least because of all the other good stuff, how their business is growing from using the catering facilities of a school over night and how they are giving back to the children and the local community. And if that doesn’t make a good honest loaf, I don’t know what does.