We made Panettone and Stollen last Christmas and very popular and tasty it was too but I thought we could make it look and taste better. Research revealed a huge variety of recipes, some involving feeding a starter every two hours, including through the night! Other recipes took 24 hours or more. Being a pragmatist and knowing most people don’t have this amount of time to devote I pooled the recipes and baked a trial batch.
They turned out OK and rose well but did not have the necessary open, light structure. A second batch came out very well, nice colour, very open texture and the smaller ones had a nice rise and dome. The larger ones were a little flat but I think that was because the dough was very wet.
So, another batch planned for later this week and photos will be posted as well as the recipe!
LH loaf: 1st batch; RH loaf: 2nd batch with good colour and texture
Another beginners course on Saturday with a couple, Regan and Karl from Southampton and Emma from Royston. None had made bread before so we started off with white, seeded or granary flour mixed by hand to get a feel for the dough and the different flours. We moved on to focaccia with olives, sun-dried tomatoes or garlic and rosemary and finished with our famous swirls: pesto, cheese and tomato or spiced apple and marzipan. The results speak for themselves:
The final batch of swirls.Karls’ spiced apple and marzipan swirls
Emma mixing by hand, cool hand Karl rolling his dough
and Regan concentrating hard on spreading pesto!
Feedback was good:
“Very relaxed, friendly environment. Lots of fun”
“Neil made baking less scary than I believed it to be”
“This was an excellent course! I could not believe how easy it was to make the bread. Great gift”
Seems everyone wants to learn to bake bread. Maybe it is the Great British bake off effect? We are also getting a lot of bookings for families: Sisters and Mother or Mum, Dad and children which is great. Also teenagers very confident with cake baking but want to try their hand at bread. Our Seasonal bread evenings are also filling up; two booked in Late November/early December so if you do want to impress friends and family with some amazing bread over the holidays, please book soon.
Our bread is now available from the Black Barn farm shop in Hare Street near Buntingford on Saturdays and Jo is regularly selling pesto swirls, spicad apple and marzipan swirls, Turkish Pidé bread as well as garlic and rosemary, focaccia etc. She also has some great meat direct from the farm as well as cheese etc. and there is a cafe next door.