Last night we had another wonderful cookery demonstration from the fabulous Rosemary Moon - the subject was bread making!
Rosemary is the author of several cookery books, and runs a fantastic foodie blog as well as having local links with West Dean College and Transition Chichester.
Rosemary soon had us all giggling, her self deprecating humour combined wisdom and experience made a very inspiring evening - it has given me the enthusiasm to try my hand at sourdough bread. (it is Scott's favourite!)
Rosemary introduced us to the mysteries of bread making, taking us through each stage - she brought some ready prepared bread in true blue Peter style, although we had to battle to use the stove from the lady who was trying to run a slimming club in the other room! (Freshly baked bread might have led her slimmers into temptation!)
Rosemary covered the following-
The importance of the Ingredients - what type of flour to use, and how to combine flours - using a mixture of wholemeal and white flour. In addition the importance of good quality food - quality ingredients give a better result - if you are putting in all the effort - you want something that is superior to shop bought bread. By making your own you can have a choice to support local farmers by using British flour. You can also decide what flavourings to add, herbs, nuts or fruit which have to be added before the final proving.
weighing (critical for sourdough but not so much for other types). We were able to see how the dough should look - giving us the confidence to add more flour or more liquid because we saw how the dough should be.
Yeast - the varieties an differences between fast acting, dried yeast, fresh yeast and sour dough starters.
The process, the importance of patience and time - really the hardest element of bread making is having the patience to allow it to develop and rise. As well as giving the dough a proper knead for 6 to 8 minutes.
One of the many valuable tips she gave was to put the bread into a cold oven, which was a new idea to me, it prevents the loaf splitting during the cooking process. She also suggested that some loaves need to return to the oven to brown the bottoms when they have come out of the tin. I also picked up a tip about gas oven temperatures - it seems the middle is the right temperature, the top a little higher and the bottom lower. Common sense but sometimes these things pass me by!
By the end of the evening, when everyone had tasted both loaves warm from the oven, we all went away likely to try out the recipes clasped in our hands. Thank you Rosemary!