Saturday, 22 February 2014


I once used to make my own bread but recent attempts have failed leaving me disheartened.  So when I saw a local class I booked up and this morning I had a wonderful time!  The class was run by Ann Hood who some of you might know from the tv Masterchef programme. Her relaxed style made every one feel at ease and I knew from the outset that I was going to have fun!

I wasn't quite sure how we would make bread in the 2.5 hrs that we were there... in my experience just the making can take that long without baking time! But I was told we would be making traditional bread, brioche, focaccia and walnut bread. Really?! Now that sounded even more of a challenge!!  But guess what?  We didn't just make one type of each, we made:
Traditional bread
Garlic tear 'n share
Bread sticks (3 varieties) some rolled in lemon zest - some with seseame seeds - some brushed with honey & sprinkled with pieces of walnut
Foccacia with finely chopped rosemary added to the dough for flavour and after baking brushed with olive oil, topped with cracked pepper, sea salt, and more finely chopped rosemary
Small rolls flavoured with chill flakes and brushed with crushed ginger infused in oil
Walnut bread which we dipped into a coffee sauce (try it before you knock it!!)
Brioche - individual chocolate chip ones with a chocolate sauce - and a plaited orange zest loaf
We also made a Balsamic and Oil dip to go with the bread sticks and the chocolate and coffee sauces.

Who would have thought this was possible in the time given?! 
But it was.....


And not only that... I also learnt so many tips and techniques! I now know that I can freeze fresh chilli's and ginger and use them as I need. I know about flour and yeast, how to get crusty bread and more importantly a light texture. This class has really boosted my confidence and de-mystified bread making.  

But how did we make so many kinds of bread in so short time? Well, Ann has developed her own technique and she warned us it was controversial.  And it is!  Forget traditional bread making with hours for proving, knocking back, kneading and more proving. Her method is revolutionary and as they say, the proof was in the eating. Luckily I took lots of notes so I should remember most of what I learnt and the recipes will be emailed later so that I can try them at home. I also popped into Tesco on my way to buy some fresh yeast. A whole block for 0.01p! I'm ready and raring to go...

So a big thank you to Ann for showing me how easy it is to make bread and to adapt recipes. I'm so glad that I discovered this class and booked it. If you want to learn some of her tips Ann has just had her first book published.  I do not get commission for mentioning it, nor have I looked through a copy, but if it is anything as good as her class it comes highly recommended. 

The Smart Book of Recipes & Tips CoverAnn runs the Smart School of Cookery    Classes are held in London and the South East and I  shall be
looking out for more to attend.

Thanks for popping by. I'll be posting again   soon about my recent sausage making experience.

There is a resurgence in my kitchen!


  1. Sounds wonderful, must check out book, intrigued by how you made so much bread

  2. Sounds wonderful.Sandie.
    p,s. I'm getting dozens of advertising posts from you pop up in Bloglovin....don't know if you've signed up to some sort of advertising site.

    1. Thanks for letting me know about the pop up adverts - I've not knowingly signed up for anything so I appreciate you letting me know. I will look into this.

    2. what a great way to spend a day!

  3. When I looked on the website I was pleasant surprised to see they also do classes in our town!

  4. Wow Sandie ,must be great to live with you at the moment, not an empty tummy in sight! The course sounded amazing and I will grill you in May as to the secret of quick bread making. xx

  5. Sounds a fabulous day Sandie. I've checked the website and like the look of a cookery class on board a sailing barge at Maldon. Very tempting.
    Patricia x

  6. That all sounds very intriguing....sounds like you really enjoyed it...and thanks for the tip on freezing ginger...should it be whole or grated?
    Alison xx

    1. Freeze the root ginger whole Alison and don't peel.
      Just take it out when needed, grate required amount and pop back into the freezer. If you like, you can also grate the ginger and then add a little oil. This keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days and this was a-m-a-z-i-n-g brushed over bread hot from the oven (especially if the dough is flavoured with chilli flakes!)

  7. Sounds (& looks) wonderful Sandie

  8. sounds like an amazing class and I love the photograph of you!

  9. Wow, that sounds like fun. You and bread both look fantastic - great snapshots. Good luck with the next culinary challenge.

  10. Oh My Sandie - what a feast of bred you have made!

  11. Great photo of you Sandie and it sounds like a brilliant day! Envious that you "souterners" get such great opportunities ... but they're probably available in Manchester too ... must have a look!

  12. That sounds like an amazing class. That would be a day out dream come true for TSO..she loves to make bread.

  13. Gosh, you made so MUCH! I am fascinated by the technique ... the only one I know is to add ascorbic acid/Vitamin C. That is a super photo of you!


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