A bread masterclass with Warings Bakery

23 Oct

A post in which I learn to make a decent loaf of bread. The Man and I have had a bread maker since last Christmas and have really enjoyed “making” our own bread but I’ve become more interested in the hands on process of making bread. However, despite having a brilliant book about on the subject and my Mum being pretty good at making bread I’ve never really made a hand-made loaf (apart from soda bread) that resembles anything other than a house brick! That is until I went on a bread making masterclass with the lovely team at Warings Bakery in Reading.

I joined 6 other keen bakers for a four-hour masterclass which we were assured would leave us much more confident; as well as leaving with our own freshly made bread. Under the knowledgeable, funny and supportive guidance of two of the Warings family we worked our way through 5 types of dough, different shaped loaves and a variety of rolls. There is a lack of photos from the early stage because I very rapidly got flour and dough all over my hands. It was the first class they have run and if there were any teething problems or nerves it didn’t show.

This is the haul I went home with, glowing with pride that I’d made proper bread and it was all pretty darn successful!

Clockwise from the top, white coburg, seeded brown vienna loaf, my attempt at a four strand poppy seed plait (enriched dough) and a humble but very tasty brown tin loaf.

Rolls, loads of them! Cottage rolls, knots with poppy seeds and some cheese topped soft rolls; I had to share these with The Man something I was not entirely happy with, they were so lovely). My favorite bread was the focaccia we made we the enriched dough (we also used this to make the plait and some rolls)

I’ve made focaccia before but this one; made  with a rich dough, topped with rosemary, garlic oil, sea salt and olives and brushed with even more oil when it came out of the oven it was delicious.

I found the 4 hours going very quickly,  we had an introduction to the principles of making bread including stretching the gluten and  how yeast works and then began mixing and kneading, knocking back and shaping furiously, working on one dough at a time while others rose and proofed. Baking is hungry work, so while our creations baked we were treated to a cream tea using Warings bread and some cracking scones which apparently they don’t make very often ( but really should).

I have to admit, much to the amusement of my fellow bakers, it was very excited at the prospect of my bread coming out of the oven, it felt a bit like Christmas and I had a stupid grin on my face for most of the afternoon!

We had the opportunity to taste the bread as it came out of the oven and look at the texture and crumb. We went home loaded with what we had made, a Warings apron, recipe cards for everything we had made, the smell of fresh bread in my car was so powerful I had difficulty not tucking in on the way home and saving some for The Man, lucky I’d filled up on scones.

I really enjoyed myself, being taught in a small group by such enthusiastic knowledgable people was great fun and I’m pretty sure I got better as the course went on and I’ve made bread since and it’s much better than before so I must have remembered something! Warings are going to be running more masterclasses and covering different breads and pastry and if this first class was anything to go by they will be great. I’d recommend them as a great way for beginners or the baffled like me to develop your skills and confidence and have a great time doing it.


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