Haunted by Flatbread

Forgive me, it's been about 10 days since my last post, in which I mentioned that there was no baking for the upcoming week (last week).  This was because I attended a Breadmaking course in Chester - not to learn how to make bread, but more to pick up ideas and tips about baking in the community. I met some truly inspirational people - not so much the course leaders, but fellow delegates, that selflessly give up their time to devote to those of need within their communities and they themselves living on the equivalent of Shameless' Chatsworth estate and prefabricated accommodation.   It was a humbling experience.  Most of the people I met (including the course leaders!) knew very little or had never baked a loaf of bread.  I did, however, meet one fellow bread-head, and I enjoyed talking to him the most.  We shared information and he put me onto two books that are now on my Amazon wishlist.
On the first day of the course, we were to bake our 'first' loaf of bread.  Unfortunately, the 'cocky' in me, merrily threw together the ingredients provided, without stopping to check whether things were as they should be. Unfortunately, my loaf was to be doomed from the start, as I didn't read the instructions on the yeast (never used this type before) and didn't check the temperature of the water before I poured it in.  In fact the instructions that we were provided on the recipe sheets for the novices, omitted to tell us how to prepare the yeast so we were all doomed.  Also, I would have thought that most people would know that water for bread-making should be blood-heat, not ice cold....

After an over-extended proving session, some of which were placed on radiators(?!) and a bake in a not-hot-enough oven, there we all were, gazing at our bounty of flat loaves.   I felt it was such a shame for those whom it had been a first time, as the misplaced gasps of satisfaction and delight went around the kitchen.  It could have been so much better for everyone and I could kick myself for not stepping up to the plate and getting a bit more involved.

My 'bread' and many others went back with some lovely ladies from Coventry to feed their pigs in the community centre and suffice to say, I have been haunted by the memory of that flat loaf ever since.

There are just 2 days to go until the Christmas Fair at the Stopsley Baptist Church on Saturday (10am to 2pm) where I shall be selling as many loaves as I can muster and also children's aprons that I have sewn myself (something that I did before I became obsessed with flour).  So in between childcare, my proper job (which I earn money from), housework, cooking and sewing I have been experimenting, failing and stressing over the method and production of my bread.  The day before yesterday, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown, but today, I am feeling marginally better and a little more confident.  After all, it is only bread.



BAKING THIS WEEK:-


Saturday, 26th November, Christmas Craft Fayre, Stopsley Baptist Church, st Thomas's Road, Stopsley, Luton, 10am until 2pm, Collection from here only, not taking orders, but there should be:-
White
40/60 White/Wholemeal
Malted Wholegrain
Rosemary & Seasalt Focaccia,
and possibly one other...


Thursday, 1st December -  Ring/text/email me before 3pm on Wednesday, collection from Hullaballoo, SBC
Saturday, 3rd December - Collection from 54 Tameton Close Luton 9.45 until 10.30am -Ring/text/email me before 3pm on Wednesday

DATE FOR THE DIARY:
Saturday, 26th November, Christmas Craft Fayre, Stopsley Baptist Church, st Thomas's Road, Stopsley, Luton, 10am until 2pm,

On the 12th Day...


 There are just 12 days left to go before my first ever Christmas market and I am trying to get organised.   Thanks to a special friend, I have borrowed lots of lovely wicker baskets that I can arrange my bread in.  The biggest challenge ahead is keeping enough natural levain (sourdough yeast) to make all the loaves I need.  I have worked out a strict diet for it's flour-feeding regime and even roped in my husband to help feed it at the times I won't be here this week (more on that later). 
 I am so proud of my new sourdough off-spring; it is making some amazing loaves (even if I do say so myself).  I took a photo of my white loaf at the weekend - just look at that lovely crumb structure!


Upon seeing my beautiful white bread, I have had a handful of comments from people saying, "but it's brown!" I delight in telling them that it's because there is are no bleaching agents in the flour that I use.

Ingredients: Organic flour, filtered water and Sea-Salt.
Method of manufacture: All hand, no machine.
Time in production: About 17/18 hours.
Price: £2.00
Cost per Hour:. £0.11p


Warburtons Soft White Farmhouse Loaf
This is Warburtons Farmhouse Soft White Bread


Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Water, Yeast, Vegetable Oil, Salt, Flavouring,
Soya Flour, Preservatives Calcium Propionate, Emulsifiers E471, E481, Flour Treatment Agents Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), E920.
Method of manufacture: Machine
Time in production: About 1 hour (truly!)
Price: £1.15.  (Occado).
Cost per Hour: £1.15

Which bread is better value...?!

BAKING THIS WEEK:-

Tuesday, 15th November -  Ring/text me before 5pm for information
There will be no baking on Thursday, 17th November.
Saturday, 19th November - Collection from 54 Tameton Close Luton 9.45 until 10.30am

DATE FOR THE DIARY:
Saturday, 26th November, Christmas Craft Fayre, Stopsley Baptist Church, st Thomas's Road, Stopsley, Luton, 10am until 2pm,


Working Down the List

Surprisingly, Monday is one of my favourite days in the week.  I get up at a reasonable hour, have breakfast with my 3-year old son and then we play for a few hours before he goes to nursery at 11.  On other days, he's whipped in there from 9, and there is barely enough time to get teeth cleaned, washed and changed before it's time to head out.  This morning, I was playing with a different variety of dough  - the pink kind - and we moulded it into a treasure map and a pizza.  From 11, my day changes into what I can only describe as a sort of crazed mania, where I work down my A5 list of 'things to do' in the hope to cross off as many as possible, before I have to re-collect my son at 5 'o' clock. Writing this blog, being one of them.  As usual, I haven't quite got everything done (reviewing my rookie website being one - sorry Bro) but I am reasonably contented at seeing more scribbled out lines of text, than actual words, across the page.

I am baking tomorrow - or rather I have prepared my loaves for baking tomorrow; the thing about sourdough bread which is created with a natural yeast, is that it takes time; time to ferment, time to develop the flavour and time to rise.  Sometimes, I wish I was dough.

Next bake days are:

Tuesday 7th November (sorry, too late for orders!)

Thursday, 9th November - Collection from Hullaballoo from 10 until 11.30am
Saturday, 12th November - Collection from 54 Tameton Close Luton 9.45 until 10.30am
Tuesday, 15th November -  Collection from 54 Tameton Close Luton from 11.30am
There will be no baking on Thursday, 17th November.
Saturday, 19th November - Collection from 54 Tameton Close Luton 9.45 until 10.30am

DATE FOR THE DIARY:
Saturday, 26th November, Christmas Craft Fayre, Stopsley Baptist Church, st Thomas's Road, Stopsley, Luton, 10am until 2pm, I'll be there with loaves and aprons. Will tell you about that later).

And on to Christmas!!!


I was quite surprised that we had about 8 sets of halloweeners last night; I think last year, we only had a couple, so I was a bit anxious as my Haribo supplies were rapidly depleting.  Varying degrees of costume brilliance I might add; I think the booby prize, went to a couple of lads who were wearing hooded tops with no other recognisable ghoulish features. One of the hoodies was green, so I suppose that might count.

I have had an exciting milestone kind of week in the bakery; every loaf I have made since Saturday has been created with my own natural levain; (that's yeast, or sourdough to the unbaked). No one has complained, in fact I have had nicer compliments, so I lno longer have to skulk around the supermarket bakeries, scamming for their yeast.  I am now, what you'd call, 100% 'au naturale'.  So, on to Christmas then, I wonder what it will bring us all?  If you find yourself scrabbling for something to do on the 26th November, the Stopsley Baptist Church are holding a Christmas Crafts market from 10am until 2pm.  I shall be there on my very own stall, hopefully with lots of bread for sale and also some childrens' baking aprons that I make from time to time (I have many talents).

Next Bake days are:-
Thursday, 3rd November - Collection from Hullaballoo from 10 until 11.30am
Saturday, 5th November - Collection from 54 Tameton Close Luton 9.45 until 10.30am
Tuesday, 8th November -  Collection from 54 Tameton Close Luton from 11.30am

Don't forget, if you live in Tameton Close, Rylands Heath or Rowington Close, I will deliver to you approximately half an hour before the above times (Stay in your pjs, most people do!!)