A friend emailed me this week and asked me about the Dales Dough Do and I realise I didn’t tell you how it went and what we got up to. So here goes: We arrived after a very long and slow drive in a beautiful part of the Yorkshire Dales, checked in at the Bridge Inn and made our way finally to the farm.
We pulled into the yard only to meet a tractor towing a bread oven on a trailer. Firebeard had been working amazingly hard building a new oven for this event, and doing all the other myriad tasks that he, and Birdbread’s family had taken on in order to put this on. FB carried on working on his oven over the weekend, anyone who has ever made their own oven will know that it just isn’t as simple as those books make it look! He had already built an oven indoors the year before but the new one is to a different scale and is designed to be mobile.
Old friends and some new ones, people coming and going, much chat, good food cooked by our hosts, exchange of breads and flours and general orientation going on most of that night. Phil made some flat breads to go with the fragrant curries that we had, along with the bread I had brought from the loaf in Crich which was enjoyed by everyone. Starters were set up for the following day, and we went down to the Inn to get some sleep. I think some people were up most of the night, well they would be, being proper bakers – unlike me!
On Saturday I baked a large loaf of bread from one of Nils’ recipes using ‘grunkorn’ which Mick had brought for me to try and I had a go at baking some 100 % spelt bread using Andrew Auld’s formula with a mixture of white and wholemeal spelt.
I guess I am a bit spoilt at home as I have ovens that tell you what the temperature is and have glass doors so it is really easy to see what is going on, and the range cookers that we were using were quite unfamiliar to me, so everything was a bit hit and miss when it came to baking the breads. I am a creature of habit, and I am now full of admiration for those rare creatures, who can turn up in someone else’s kitchen and just cook brilliantly.
Brian went off for the day to explore a local steam railway, the Wensleydale, and won a ride on the footplate in a raffle.
He hasn’t been on the footplate since he did his engine driver’s course down in Minehead on the West Somerset Railway so he was delighted! Edited, Brian feels you need a picture here – and has asked me to tell you that the engine was quite unusual, one he hadn’t seen before – an ex British Rail Standard Class 4MT 2-6-4 Built in Brighton in 1955 but spent most of her life working in Scotland. So now you know!
These young swallows found their way up into the top half of the barn, while we were there, they should of course have been outside, practising their flying and getting ready for the long trek to Africa, but they found our antics far more fun and kept us company twittering around on the beams.
Saturday night was pizza night and lots of people turned up for dinner and it was a bit of a scramble to get everything organized and people fed, but we got there in the end.
On Sunday we went for a walk, sunny and windy, and then I helped Robin set up his brioche and baked biscuits and made dough with the children. Joe’s niece also helped on Saturday night making the pizzas and the children were a delight and a joy to be around as were the very nice household dogs.
We went home around lunchtime, as we had a deadline to be back. Zeb and his sister were being looked after at home. As I went, Robin’s fragrant brioche was being pulled out of the oven and I was really sorry not to be there to try it and all the other lovely breads that I saw being prepared, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. It was lovely to see you all again, Chocveg, Stig, Mick, Sideburns, Ben, Robin, Mick, BigG and of course Firebeard and I enjoyed meeting M and C, Phil, Fran, Terry and Stef and Val. It was great fun, thank you!
It was a great opportunity to be somewhere completely different and share your passion with people that normally you only ‘talk’ to by email. We had a good time and I hope to see them all again next year, maybe in North Wales in Bethesda? There’s a plan……maybe some of you will join us – now that would be fun !
There are other photos: however we didn’t really crack the challenge of taking great photos in the barn, as we hadn’t thought about lighting and barns, by definition, are not designed with huge windows so I have decided not to add them here. If you are curious, email me using the contact page and I will send you the link to the Flickr group photos if you haven’t found them already.