Monthly Archives: July 2014

Good bread

Now that we no longer sell our bread through Farmers Markets I thought I would list a few bakers who sell really good bread and other baked goods.  The list is far from comprehensive and please let me have details of others you know but here are five to be getting on with.

Hitchin Bakehouse;  Weekends only and to order

Quotidien, Sun St, Hitchin.  Great Patisserie as well as artisan bread

Cafe Knead Bakery at The Blue Egg, Great Bardfield, Essex;

Little Buzzard Bakery, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire;

Adilias Norfolk Street Bakery, Cambridge;


A good giggle with the WI!

Seven Ladies from Puckeridge WI joined us for an evening demonstration of bread baking last night producing some great home made cottage loaves, plaits and swirls.  Concentration levels were high when doing the four plait but lots of laughter too.  A really fun group.

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Some lovely feedback:

“Have had a fab time and learned lot of tips”

“A fantastic evening, really informative, great fun and a good giggle too!”

“A great evening in a very friendly environment; Neil convinced me that even I could make bread”

“Had a a really enjoyable time; very easy to follow; very relaxed”

Bread course for children  

We have had a lot of interest in these now both from parents and grandparents looking to treat their children or grandchildren or arrange a different type of Birthday party.  This is an outline of the course which we would run over 2-2.5 hours either 10.30/11am to 1pm or 3-5.30pm.  Actual activities can be varied according to age and abilities.  This is a new venture for us so please email or call to discuss your requirements.

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The children will work with several different doughs to make traditional loaves and rolls as well as some fun shapes such as hedgehogs and turtles.  A pesto swirl/rose loaf is another popular and attractive option.  While their bread is proving we will run through some theory and mixing.

Karls' spiced apple and marzipan swirls.

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How bread is made: the ingredients, different flours and where they come from, why bread requires ‘strong’ flour, the action of the yeast etc.


The children get the opportunity to mix a batch of dough by hand, following a recipe and learn the difference between strong flour containing gluten and weak or gluten free flour.


The children will have access to water, fruit cordial or similar together with home made seed bar, tiffin or fruit during the course.  Please let us know if your child has any food allergies when you book.  At lunch or tea they will eat some of the bread they have made, together with cheese, cold meat, jam, honey etc plus salad and fruit depending on time of day.

Take home

Each child will take home the bread they have made together with recipe cards and a dough scraper.

Price: £25 per child or £30 to include a birthday cake and desserts.


Minimum age: six years

Four children minimum, six maximum.

Please bring aprons plus notebooks and cameras if you wish.

Children must be accompanied by an adult

Payment in advance please includes 50% transferable deposit should you have to cancel within four weeks of the event.


Focaccia dough with tomato, onion and garlic added; left to rise then chorizo, sausage, olives, cherry tomatoes and mozarella pressed into the dough.  Light covering of finely grated cheddar cheese and baked for 25 mins @200C.  Looked good and tasted great after a mornings paddling.  Might leave out the tomato paste addition next time and go for a plain white dough, possibly slightly thinner but a great meal in one.  Will add to the course!DSCF4087

Also made Brioche including one with smoked bacon and sausage; another one for the men.


Pizza/focaccia hybrid

Had some great pizzas at the weekend from Woodleys Pizzas (pizza oven mounted in converted horse trailer!) but the topping kept sliding off the base!  One a course some months ago, one of our students made this which was essentially a focaccia with lots of pizza ingredients embedded.  Going to give it a try this weekend maybe with tomato and onion added to the dough.  Will let you know Monday how it worked out.  Good baking.DSCF3396 - Copy

One for the boys

We used to make a delicious bacon slice which was an enriched dough with Bechamel sauce (plenty of pepper and nutmeg) and a line of smoked bacon through the middle, folded over and sprinkled with Emmental cheese.  Went down very well with stallholders at farmers markets: breakfast in one!

Trying out Danish pastries at the weekend thought I would try a variation so this one was a Danish pastry dough, smoked bacon and cheddar cheese (and lots of pepper).  Tasted great but next time I am going to add a good quality sausage and wrap the bacon round it.  I miss the Bechamel but it did tend to ooze out as you ate it.  Maybe just add some nutmeg.  If I get this one right will add to ‘breakfast breads’ and ‘meals in one’ courses.

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Had a go at Danish Pastries at the weekend, one of our ‘Breakfast breads’ course.  Basic (Danish) dough then tried pain au chocolat, pain aux raisins and some plain ones.  Relatively straightforward dough though takes some time adding the butter rolling, resting and rolling again.  Rather than Creme patissiere I cooked some apples down to soft and added a little sugar and cinnamon. Slightly more healthy and went well with the raisins.  Used plain chocolate from Lidl for the pain au chocolat which worked very well.