Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Sourdough at the Handmade Bakery

I don't mind admitting I'm a bread geek. Baking bread, for me, is far more than the simple combination of ingredients to form what, on the face of it, is a basic foodstuff

So you will understand why I was looking forward to my course with Dan and Johanna McTiernan at The Handmade Bakery in West Yorkshire. The course set out to dispel the myths that surround sourdough baking and that make it sound so difficult. If you've read my blog before you will know that sourdough is easy.

What I was hoping from the course was more about the pleasure of baking in a commercially run bakery with a really passionate expert. I wasn't disappointed.

Dan and Johanna weave practical baking craft with, what for me, is the heart of bread making, the social challenge of producing sustainable, local food. I couldn't help thinking though that in the case of our course he was preaching to the converted. Most of us arrived at Dan's back door because we already knew that his and Johanna's views resonated with our own. And yes, it was great to be among fellow geeks sharing pleasure in the deck ovens and the baking rotas on the walls, And it was great to ask bread-head questions and not be thought nerdy, but the challenge for all of us who feel this way about bread is to show people who probably would not usually access Dan's excellent courses that good food is a right, not a privilege.

The second challenge is to show people that they can afford really good bread by making it themselves - it's easy. 

I think though that our evangelising about real bread does not help. My colleagues sum it up when they say: 

'Crofty's bread's lovely, but I wish he wouldn't go on about it so much.' 

That then, is the answer. Let the bread do the talking. 

I heartily recommend anyone who is interested in bread to consider a course at The Handmade Bakery with Dan and Johanna - you will not be disappointed. If you do not want to become a bread geek like me, and aren't, for example,interested in where Dan got his ovens (a Greggs bakery, second hand, I loved his comment - 'it was like rescuing a battery hen'), you will come away with armfuls of absolutely delicious bread, and the means to make it for yourself.

Here's what I made. 

I made this!

If you want to know more about real bread and why it is important check the Real Bread Campaign website here. 


Bill said...

The course sounds brilliant - I will have to give it a go!
Hope all is well in World of Crofty.

Katherine said...

Lovely looking bread!

Are you still making it? It's been a year...?

Paul said...

I would like to make contact with you but your e-mail address might have changed...

pablo1961 at gmail.com

All the best


Bill Blunt said...

Hi Crofty

Are you still there?

Best Wishes

Bill Blunt


Bill Blunt said...

Hi Crofty

Hope all is well with you.
Haven't heard from you in too long!


New project - www.forgottenlancashire.co.uk

All the best


Dona martha said...

I was taking coffee while reading your blog and now I am feeling I should try it and use it as a breakfast as I do not like something else then truecoffee so I can take this bread with coffee only thank for this good article.

Dona martha from truecoffee said...

Nice post as I am coffee lover and I like this bread for breakfast only and was thinking to make this one and use it with my true coffee in morning that sounds good idea thank your for such a nice blog.