Have you ever made bread at home? The full process, combining ingredients, kneading, proofing? …and no I don’t mean watching a bread maker do the hard work 🙂
I hadn’t even attempted it before. To me, bread was one of those things which was bound to go wrong, either not rising, being uncooked in the middle, tasting horrible, all because I thought it was SO difficult, and being more of a cook than a bake thought I would obviously struggle a lot! Well, I was recently proved wrong.
I was lucky enough to be invited along to an Autumnal Bakes, bread making workshop, at Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School in Westfield White City, with Hotpoint, Currys PC World and Joe’s Bloggers – an afternoon filled with learning new techniques, lots of fun and of course eating bread. What could be better than that?
After a coffee and a quick catch-up with a couple of familiar faces (Laura from Loved by Laura was there, as well as Lins from Boo and Maddie), we were welcomed by Jamie Oliver’s cookery school, and Hotpoint, who gave us the lowdown on what we’d be getting up to, as well as a bit of info about their brand new oven range.
Just so you know too – The new Hotpoint ovens offer Multiflow heat technology, so deliver an even temperature throughout the oven for thorough cooking results. They also feature a full-width tilting grill, perfect for crisping meats and vegetables quickly, are rated an A+ energy efficiency rating, AND are easily cleaned and maintained. So there’ll be no more burnt cakes with uncooked centres. And we got to try these bad boys out!
We all made our way into the kitchens, which were absolutely gorgeous, take a look…
After making sure we were apron-ed up, with clean hands and bags away, we were off. Gabrielle (or Gabby) gathered us together at the front, and introduced herself as the chef, and Dimo, her assistant. She then started going through the basics and all the knead-to-know info on making a whole meal dough. Haha I’m not apologising for the puns, and I can’t promise there won’t be more.
We felt the difference between wholemeal and white flour, passed around some dried and live yeast and watched Gabby demo the process of the wholemeal loaf. She talked us through kneading, and the poke test – a test done to check the dough is kneaded enough, and is bouncy so rebounds if you poke it.
Gabby was fab…
We then went back to our stations to have a go at our own.
My station was next to Laura, so we had a good old chat most of the way through, and obviously a few laughs too. The guy who was there to video said we were both smiling the whole way through the workshop!
For our wholemeal dough, our ingredients were measured out for us, so all we had to do was combine them, and then knead for 10 minutes, check our dough with the poke test and then leave to rest above the oven for it to proof, and rise.
After we’d done our arm workout for the day kneading that dough, we headed back to watch gabby talk us through shaping our white bread rolls, from dough made earlier, and also how to make a fab rosemary salt.
Back to our stations again, we all got creative with our white dough. Rolling, cutting, brushing with egg, milk or oil. And topping with pumpkin seeds to create some yummy bread rolls to enjoy at the end.
I went with a plait and a wheatsheaf, and then I couldn’t decide how to style the last one, so end up with a breadstick haha.
The egg coating definitely helped the pumpkin seeds we used to top our rolls better, but the oil gave a nice finish too.
Our rolls were put into the oven whilst we learnt all about focaccia and how to finish our brown picnic loaf.
The focaccia dough we made was a lot less stretchy and when you were kneading the dough it did tear, which was normal. We finished kneading, did the poke test, and punched all the air out, before pushing down into a rectangle shape using our hands. We topped with our own freshly ground rosemary salt and popped on the tray ready for the oven.
Finally we finished off our brown loaves. We checked for cobwebs in our loaf, which look like this…
Not an actual cobweb don’t worry!
Then we tipped the dough out onto a floured side and started pounding the air out. We then pushed the dough out with our hands to a flat square shape for rolling (think Swiss roll), spread with caramelised onions and walnuts, and rolled up, before bending into a circular loaf. We coated with our choice of egg, milk or oil (I chose egg) and once again topped with pumpkin seeds – they’re just so seasonal!
See… we were having loads of fun!
My Focaccia and brown wholemeal loaf ready for the oven
Our white rolls came out and our loaves went in for baking. I was so proud, look at my rolls!
We then all went to sit down, let our hair down with a glass of prosecco, and enjoy our rolls with some pumpkin soup and fondue provided by Jamie’s Italian.
The fondue prepared by Jamie Oliver’s Italian – It looked and smelled amazing – and obviously tasted delicious too!
My bread rolls might not have been the prettiest but they sure were ex-seed-ingly tasty! The pumpkin soup was yummy too, thick yet smooth, and the fondue was amazing, really rich and deep in flavour.
By the time we’d finished indulging our loaves were ready to come out the oven, and we gathered for a quick group pic…
We popped our loaves in brown paper bags, and headed off home, filling the tubes, trains and buses with the smell of freshly baked bread. I’m sure there were lots of tummies rumbling as they smelled exceptional.
I had some of my bread the following evening with a baked Camembert, and it was seriously tasty. The focaccia a bit more dense as you’d expect, it was oily and really flavoursome. I loved the addition of the rosemary salt on top. The wholemeal picnic loaf was delicious too, soft, with rings of onion and walnut – the combination of flavours made for one yummy loaf.
I actually took half of my wholemeal picnic loaf into work for my colleagues to try, and it’s safe to say it didn’t last long at all!
Both loaves were cooked perfectly, and thinking back, so were the white bread rolls, slightly crisp on the outside from the egg coating, but soft in the middle, and cooked the same all the way through. As we shared ovens with another, I also noticed that it didn’t matter if your tray was on the top or the bottom, our loaves still looked as good as each other’s, which is awesome – this definitely wouldn’t be the case if you used my oven at home, you’d have to switch them round halfway through! – so it just shows that those new Hotpoint ovens really do say what they say they do! I want one now!
I had such a fab time at Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School learning how to make my bread. I definitely learnt some tips and techniques I can take away to use at home, and I’m sure I’ll be giving bread a whirl again soon, perhaps another picnic loaf.
I need to start cooking with pumpkin too, as I love the flavour but have never been adventurous enough. Currys have written a piece on making the most of your pumpkins this Autumn, so I’m definitely going to be trying one of these recipes at home!
Have you tried baking bread? What’s your favourite to make?
*I was invited along to the bread workshop with Currys PC World and Hotpoint by Joe’s Bloggers. All views my own. Some images provided by photographer in attendance.