Archives for posts with tag: bread

earths_crust

Had a great time on Sunday on an artisan bread baking course at the fabulous Earth’s Crust Bakery in Laurieston. Only a 20-minute drive from home, I think I may have written in a previous post about their delicious and highly-addictive spelt Galloway loaf. The course was a gift from my sisters-in-law Ally and Alex.

There were four other eager bakers on the course which took place in Tom’s converted garage-cum-bakehouse. The conversion work was carried out partly by Phil, the owner of the Hebridean sheep currently residing in our field. In fact, before heading off to the course we had first to check and feed the sheep as Jo and Phil were away.

We started the day by making a sourdough dough and being taught kneading techniques. Top tip – knead less, don’t add flour and let the dough rest more to get it doing the work for you. While the dough rested we prepared a focaccia dough Tom had made earlier. The technique for this is similar to that used for making puff pastry, repeatedly folding the dough in thirds before adding olive oil. The focaccia, once cooked, became part of our lunch, along with several breads and Paulina’s rich tomato and bean soup.

But before lunch there was tea, coffee and delicious Dundee cake and a lesson in shaping a tinned loaf (a seeded style of bread) for proving. Fortified by lunch, we then had a go at making the seeded loaf dough and turned out and slashed the tops of sourdough loaves which had proved in traditional bannetons. We used a lame for slashing the top of the loaf – I was a bit heavy handed with mine but the bread seemed to take it. Then our loaves were baked in a very hot oven, liberally sprayed with water from a mister to stop the crust forming too quickly.

I left with lots of tips and tricks, a sourdough starter, two delicious loaves and a banneton of my own plus more baking enthusiasm and the exciting news that there will be a farmers’ market starting in Kirkcudbright in March and Earth’s Crust will be having a stall. I think I’ll have to start making space in the freezer…

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We might even eat it with quince jam later. Other weekend bake was apple and cinnamon muffins. We have to keep the energy levels up for all that gardening.

Settling in to something of a routine now, with Monday often the most productive day of the week for me as Arthur does not need taking to nursery. Inspired by the lovely bread this weekend I set to on a baking binge, making a mixed flour and spelt loaf (one for now, one to freeze) and some orange and spelt loaf cakes, as well as a veggie stew with cheese and herb scones for tea.

While the bread was rising I set to work on the flagstones in the larder. Having ripped up the old lino there were still some stubborn black patches of old glue. I also wanted to try out cleaning the flagstones to see how they came up. I made up a bowl of warm water with some detergent in it (I ended up using a tsp each of Bio-D detergent and nappy cleaner) and set to with the scrubbing brush bought at the local agri supplies business Tarff Valley. Actually, I think it might be intended for grooming horses but it’s a nice shape to hold, made in the UK and has good sturdy bristles.

This did a good job of getting up the grime but not getting off the sticky black stuff. Cue what has to be the most versatile DIY tool ever – the paint scraper. The cleaning solution combined with the scraper and a bit of welly got it off in no time. In fact, I’d done the whole floor before the bread dough had proved. There is one stubborn patch which didn’t get completely cleared as the stone in that area is quite pitted so I’ll have to think of an alternative method for there, possibly involving the sander.

Next decision – how to seal the floors once cleaned. I don’t really fancy the chemical sealants on offer and had heard you could use linseed oil but am a bit worried about that turning rancid. Suggestions and experiences of sealing stone floors or tiles much appreciated!

The final task of the day was going to the open evening at Arthur’s nursery. Iris and Matt had not seen it and Iris seemed to particularly enjoy seeing what her brother gets up to. She also saw old pictures of her school friends who used to go to the same nursery.

Our Daily Bread

Had a bit of an indoor day today so indulged in making a proper roast dinner – braised partridge (bought at Ballards, one of several great butchers in Castle Douglas) followed by a bramble jam sponge and custard.

Despite all the above being yummy (even if I do say so myself) the best meal of the day was my tea of toasted Galloway spelt bread slathered with slightly salted butter and consumed by the fire with a cuppa.The bread is made in Laurieston by Earth’s Crust bakery and we bought it on a whim at the wholefoods shop. We’ll be going back for more!

When the weather improved – and it was a lovely sunny afternoon, if blustery – we did more garden planning and dragged up fallen branches and old logs from the undergrowth. I also waved goodbye to the summer and dug out my winter wardrobe – farewell maxi skirts, hello corduroy and jumpers.