‘I like bread and butter, I like toast and jam,’*
And good job too as we’ve been on a mighty baking-fest these last couple of weeks… Regular readers will know that we’ve been baking our own bread here at Hen Corner for years now, and love to pass on our skills through our series of courses, but recently we’ve significantly stepped up a gear with the flour and yeast. I’ve been following the wonderful world of Jane Mason at Virtuous Bread for quite a while and have marvelled at her army of Bread Angels that aim to bring good real bread to their local communities. Her Bread Angels often bake from home for friends, family and neighbours and also offer classes that enable others to get to grips with the dough and begin to bake for themselves with confidence. I’m thrilled to say that, over the last month along with a couple of friends, I’ve completed my training and am now a new Bread Angel in Brentford! We ran our first course since the training today and were delighted with the selection of bread, both sweet and savoury, that we were able to bake using a couple of simple doughs that can be adapted to create many delicious recipes.
Our time on the Bread Angel training helped us get to grips with both the science and the skill of bread making as we mastered 4-5 types of bread each week. White Farmhouse, Herbed Soda Bread, Dark Rye, Chelsea Buns and Thyme Rolls were the creations of week one with a lovely pizza for lunch. Jane encouraged us to think who might like to buy our bread and set us the challenge of finding a customer that would buy one loaf of bread from us during the week. As a result of a short post on Facebook, I had 3-4 orders – one of which asked if I did mail order! The other homework task was to conduct a controlled comparison trial by making the same loaf of bread with three different brands of flour. One of the three loaves was considerably better than the others, but I need to try that flour again to see if the kneading, proving or baking helped or whether it was the flour alone that made the loaf so lovely.
We were back at the bake school for week two and worked with mainly wholemeal flour, including a Stuffed Spelt Plait, a Date Loaf with Scalded Flour, Bran Dusted Wholemeal Loaf and a wonderful Focaccia for lunch. We told our stories of the homework tasks and started to consider what the next floury steps might be for each of us. As I’d done the course with a close friend, Katie, we were able to plan together and are very excited about our offer of a Micro Bakery to our local community of Brentford. Hen Corner is already registered as a food business with the local authority and with our recent training we are ready to go…
Coming up at the Corner…
Our ‘Micro Bakery’ starts this week! Bread, buns, cakes & focaccia will be baked throughout the day, put your orders in early, and can be collected along with eggs, honey, jam and preserves between 5-7pm.
We are planning this for the first Friday of each month and hope that it’ll be a great start to the weekend!
If you fancy brushing up on your own baking skills, we have a family course, Baking Together, in Half Term where we will be making bread, cakes and pastries
- Sadly, one of our older chickens died last weekend, she’d been very faithful in laying beautiful eggs, and didn’t seem to be ill so hopefully wasn’t in pain
- Pesky squirrels have eaten all the almonds again, they nibbled a hole in my netted cage!
- We’ve made two huge jars of Damson Gin and are trying a recipe for green fig jam
Jobs for this week:
- Paint the new proving baskets with cornflour starch to stop the sour doughs sticking
- Practise wrapping a loaf of bread in tissue paper – like they do in France!
- Get the timings right for all the baking for Friday
Join us on the Journey!