Bread & Schumacher
What a fantastic time I had at Schumacher College and what a great place it is to unwind and meet interesting folk. The course, Baking for a New Food Culture, gave me even more than I had hoped for. I now have a new food hero, Andrew Whitley, the authority on all bread matters!
We learnt about and discussed the history, politics and health properties (or not) of bread in the mornings and baked wonderfully nourishing and tasty bread in the afternoons.
Day one saw us “air kneading” Pain de Campagne (a wheat sourdough) and having a go at a Russian Rye (another sourdough). One of the reasons I wanted to go on the course was to learn to make a good sourdough that wasn’t actually too sour. Both of these turned out well, despite the unusual method of kneading and were completely delicious with just the right note of tanginess without being vinegary.
Day two had us air kneading again, this time making Ciabatta and Focaccia – again delicious and very quickly consumed during one of the gorgeous meals served at Schumacher.
Day three and we were making Challah, an enriched and sweetened Jewish bread traditionally eaten on the Sabbath. This one I didn’t get to taste as I gave it to my wonderful friends who had kindly taken in CT to look after while I was away on the course. They tell me it was lovely.
Sheila Dillon of the Food Programme
on Radio 4 spent some time with us. She showed the film The Real Dirt on Farmer John
and then led a discussion on the need to get everyone to understand the importance of eating real food produced by real people.
See Andrew’s site Bread Matters for further information about the importance of real, non-industrialised bread and a short video clip showing something very similar to what we were doing at Schumacher including air kneading. Here, you can also buy a copy of his highly informative book “Bread Matters: why and how to make your own” and / or join the Real Bread Campaign.
OK, this didn’t have a great deal to do with chocolate, but it was very much to do with real food AND on the last night we were served the most delicious chocolate and medlar tart!
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