A Bread Baking Workshop with Danielle from Severn Bites
I have always really enjoyed baking. I love food, and I love making it and being able to feed the people I love. Now, I won’t pretend that I am good at it. I mean, I get complements and people eat what I make, but I am definitely an enthusiastic amateur rather than a particularly talented baker! Bread baking is something I enjoy when I have a bit of time. It is so therapeutic! A good old knead is great for getting rid of a bit of tension, and the smell of bread baking in the oven is wonderful.
Local food blogger Danielle Ellis, who writes at Severn Bites, invited a few of us to attend a Bread Baking Workshop she was running at her home near Slimbridge. Danielle professionally trained as a bread baker in France a few years ago and runs classes to share the techniques she learnt in France, adapted for a domestic kitchen. I was keen to learn how to improve my baking skills, but also to meet Danielle as last year she won the World Sloe Gin Championships!
Joining me were Sarah and Adam from Lewis Loves and Roseann from Honeybourne Line. Danielle got us on to making dough for our loaves. The level of precision involved in making the dough was quite surprising. When I have always followed certain celebrity chefs in their bread recipes, they have very much focused on getting “the feel” for the dough and never afraid to add extra flour. Danielle’s recipe involved precise measurements of the ingredients and their temperatures. The dough was far stickier than I was used to, and had I been doing this at home I would have added a bit more flour and stopped kneading far sooner!
During the three hours of the class we made a round loaf, a baguette and 6 rolls each. Danielle showed us the various techniques needed to make each of these basic bread types. She also provided us with a recipe sheet to take away with some other varieties too. The class size of just four of us meant that Danielle was able to give us lots of individual help.
Bread baking does involve a lot of time where dough is being left to rest, or during the baking. We switched between making the three types of bread, so no time was wasted. The whilst the bread was baking we had lunch. Danielle provided us with a delicious lunch of homemade soup and some of her focaccia. Her bread was amazing, and got me really excited about how my own bread could turn out!
Our finished breads looked and smelled absolutely amazing. Of course, the real test is in the taste, and they didn’t disappoint. I can’t believe just how amazing my bread tasted. I am so proud of myself for being able to make something so delicious. At the end of the class, I left Danielle’s laden with my own bread, recipes, new techniques for baking bread and a great confidence in being able to do this myself at home. I really enjoyed the class, and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about making bread.
And for those of you interested in gin I had a little taste of Danielle’s award winning sloe gin. I can indeed confirm that it was amazing!