A Taste of the Past

Historical and Traditional Cookery

Day-long Cookery Courses: Basic Bread Making | Further Adventures in Bread | Jam and Curd | Basic Baking | Sour Dough and Sponges | Fancy Breads | Mediterranean Breads
Evening Cookery Club: Christmas Treats
Other Services: Talks and Demonstrations | Recipes for Forty Hall | Catering

Sour Dough and Sponge Techniques

Sour dough bread
Sour dough bread

This course is aimed at people who have made bread before. You don't need to be an expert but some familiarity would be good. There will be between 6 to 8 participants.

Bread is increasingly being accused of being allergenic, fattening and generally bad for you. Diets and health advice often suggest avoiding bread and many people genuinely feel unwell after eating it. The exact cause of these problems has yet to be pinpointed but many people suggest that the issue might be with modern, high speed processing of bread.

Artisan bakers are working hard to change the high speed bread culture and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that bread that has been left to ferment naturally and slowly is easier to digest as well as having a more developed flavour and better shelf life.

On this course we will be trying out some of these slow bread methods to make really tasty bread. The first will be a sour dough bread made using a rye culture. We will look at making a fresh starter culture, how to look after it and feed and how to use it. Everyone will also take home enough starter to keep going at home.

The second method we will use will be a pre-ferment. I have come across different names for this, depending on the type of pre-ferment and country of origin but basically put, it is the idea of mixing some of the flour and water, and sometimes yeast, and leaving it for anything from a few minutes to several hours. This changes the structure of the finished loaf and impacts on the kneading and mixing of the loaf. We will use a long pre-ferment to make a ciabatta loaf.

The third loaf of the day is not actually a loaf at all but old fashioned, English crumpets. There is a lot of noise made about American sour dough and European pre-ferments but I have recipes for British household bread from 1615 that advise the use of a pre-fermented sponge. One of the best ways to look at making your own sponge is by making crumpets. They taste delicious, you get to see the yeast in action and you can take them home and toast them for tea.

The course starts with tea and homemade biscuits and a look at some of the loaves we will be making compared to more traditional loaves. During the morning we will be busy mixing, stretching and kneading our breads. The afternoon is a little more laid back but crumpet cooking can take one or two attempts to master.

The cost includes lunch and refreshments, course notes, all your ingredients and of course, your loaves of bread to take home, enjoy and show off your new skills.

Please bring your own apron, bread making is a lot of fun, great stress relief but potentially very messy. You will also need something large enough to take home 2 loaves of bread and around 6 crumpets.

Sour dough bread
Sour dough bread

Booking and Other Information

To find out more information about any of the courses or catering on offer please call Claire Passaris on 07999 871 053.

To book a course please send a booking form and cheque to Claire Passaris, A Taste of the Past, 80 Orpin Road, Merstham, Redhill, Surrey. RH1 3EY. I do require payment in full at the time of booking as I have to pay for everything before the course. However I will not cash your cheques until I have enough people to run the course. Please give me your e-mail address or mobile phone number and I will send you a message a couple of days before I cash your cheque. I will also use it to tell you of any changes to the course details.