On Friday we just had one class which was a demonstration of making bread with chef Graeme.
He started with a white bread dough. Strong flour plus a little salt and sugar were sifted together, then warm water and melted butter poured into a well in the flour. Fresh yeast was worked into the liquid and then the flour worked into the liquid. Once combined it was kneaded for 10 minutes ont he bench then allowed to rise until doubled in size.
While it was rising he made soda bread. Soda bread uses a chemical reaction to provide lift, rather than yeast. Strong flour, salt, sugar, sodium bicarbonate and cream of tartar were sifted together and a little butter was rubbed in. Then milk and buttermilk was added and all mixed together to make a soft dough. This was formed into a ball, brushed with water, dusted with flour from a sieve and a cross cut in the top. It was then baked in the oven. The chef incorporated raisins into some of the dough to make one loaf of raisin soda bread and one plain.
While it was baking, he returned to the bread dough. He portioned it into 45 g portions and formed each into a ball. Then he shaped them into lots of different shapes and topped some with seeds, olives or sundried tomatoes. The rolls were baked in the oven for about 12 minutes.
Here are the chef’s finished soda breads and bread rolls:
On Saturday we had 2 practicals back to back, firstly making the eclairs and then the breads.
The choux pastry was easy enough to make, though I learned I needed to have piped the eclairs a little further apart in places as some of them didn’t rise fully. The chef said it was because they were too close together and the steam from them prevented them rising properly. Looking around the class, the eclairs had a huge variety of sizes and shapes. Some were very wide and high, some were more like biscuits and were actually less high than when they went into the oven.
We made creme patissiere and flavoured it with coffee extract (we had no choice in this, even if we, as I do, loathe coffee) and piped it into the eclairs via holes we had poked into the bottom of each. Even the rather flat few of my eclairs filled with the creme ok, though I thought it might not flow inside easily. The chap who made biscuits rather than eclairs had to present his creme patissiere as an accompaniment.
Next we warmed the fondant to a coating consistency, flavoured it (more coffee, yuck!) and draped it over the eclairs to cover them. Then we had to pipe some chocolate on each to decorate them. I’m not great at piping yet so my decorations weren’t perfect, but passable.
Then it was on to the bread. Fairly easy to make the bread dough, though one person did ask when they should add the yeast while he was already kneading his dough! Surprisingly, he was ok to add it to the dough and work it in that way. I think everyone managed to make some decent rolls, though the shaping was very variable.
The soda bread was pretty easy, though 3 people managed to leave out the sodium bicarbonate so ended with a pale brick rather than a light loaf.
Here are my finished breads: