Tag Archives: Fun

Twitter Tagliatelle Tutorial – almost as good as being in someone else’s kitchen

Tagliatelle making

For the full Tweety Conversation pulled together by Lynne using Storify click here :  Twitter Tagliatelle Tutorial

My abbreviated version with mainly Carla’s tweets and photos  – loads quicker or if you have a slow connection – click here) of the tutorial on Twitter that Carla gave us yesterday on making pasta with the Imperia pasta machine. I was given this wonderful gadget as a birthday present last year by my lovely sister and this was its first outing. I had borrowed one last year from Mitch who lives in Bristol but there was something lacking in our technique the one time we tried and we felt a bit out of our depth, so when Carla, expert chef,  (in Rome) offered to teach me yesterday, I jumped at the chance!

The Imperia

I could write it all out here as a post but that doesn’t give the feeling of the fun of doing this yesterday and this way you get to see all Carla’s wonderfully detailed photos and read her instructions. She is a fantastic tutor and I feel really confident now that I can do this again!

Freshly cut tagliatelle

Lynne, who tweets as @josordoni, another Twitter friend of Gibassier fame, has kindly spent some time to make the Storify story. I had a try at using Storify, but left out my own tweets.  Lynne joined in and made the noodles by hand, an act of great determination!

I served the tagliatelle with chestnut mushrooms, onion, parsley, and a sauce of Charvroux goats cheese and some Serrano ham

I served the tagliatelle with chestnut mushrooms, onion, parsley, and a sauce of Charvroux goats cheese and some Serrano ham

So thank you Carla and thank you Lynne so very much for the company and the joy of sharing.  You are both such kind and generous friends and I wonder daily at this world where one can be friends with people who one has never met in person and have such fun.

Have a lovely weekend!

Zeb Eats Tagliatelle and Dreams of Carla

My pasta was made with

  • 3 eggs weighing about 140g unshelled
  • 150 g of 00 Italian flour
  • 150g of Semonlina Rimacinata flour (the finely milled durum wheat, which has a fine slightly gritty feel)
  • 1 tbsp of water
  • and a lot of love from Carla


A Home Loaf and Britain’s Best Bakery on TV

sourdough with braided top, Zeb Bakes, What I made today, (except of course I started yesterday)

The Day Before Baking

Mix together well

  •  50 g of once refreshed starter
  • 200 g  breadflour
  • 250 g water

Leave for 12-16 hours in a cold kitchen;  6-10 hours in a warm one

The following day

Mix a dough with :

  • 450 g of the above
  • 400 g water (approx, may vary depending on how much strong flour you use)
  • 350 g very strong bread flour
  • 300 g regular bread flour
  • 150 g dark rye flour
  • 1 tablespoon of dark malt dissolved in water
  • 5g dry yeast
  • 20 g fine sea salt
  1. Mix well and knead or not as you prefer.
  2. First prove 3 hours with two folds at hourly intervals.
  3. Shape and Second prove of about 2 hours
  4. Turn out onto peel
  5. Bake in a preheated oven  with steam at 220 °C for 25 mins and then reduce heat to 200 °C for a further 20 – 25 mins.
  6. Cool on a rack.

Baking notes:

Despite the extra bit of yeast, this dough took about three hours to do its first prove. My kitchen was around 18 C most of the day so after an hour or so I put the dough inside my top oven with the door held slightly ajar with a teatowel in the door so the oven light would stay on.  The light was enough to bring the internal temperature of the oven up to around 24 C. I needed to rotate the bowl occasionally as one side got warmer than the other but it works very well and isn’t as expensive as putting the heating on just for the dough!

I then split the dough into two and thought I would have a go at making a loaf with a braid on the top.

I took three balls of 60 g of dough each and rolled them into long even strands and made a three stranded plait which I put in the bottom of the banneton. Then I added a boule of dough on top of that, so that when I turned it out the plait would be on the top.

sourdough with braided top

If I do this again I will make longer strands and a fatter plait, maybe 90 g per strand.  The dough that forms the main part of the loaf weighed 850 g. I made the remaining dough into a smaller loaf.

Why the braid? I have been watching Britain’s Best Bakery on ITV1 for the last couple of weeks, cheering on all the wonderful bakers, patissiers and cake makers who have been brave enough to let a TV crew into their workplaces and film them.

I was very taken with the wonderful showpiece sourdough loaf made by the Metfield Bakery  in Suffolk which had a plait on the top. The judges thought their sourdough was amazing and I had never tried putting a plait on the top of a loaf so I thought I would try for a bit of fun and a sort of homage.   Predictably mine has come out looking nothing like the one I saw on TV, mine looks a bit like a drunken Roman Emperor, whose laurel wreath has tipped over the side of his head after imbibing a bit too much wine…. (Edit: Stuart from Metfield Bakery has left some helpful tips in a comment below, thank you Stuart!)

sourdough, homage to Metfield Bakery

Watching the shows I was struck by how passionate the bakers are, how much they care about their craft.  The show has a competitive element, but in some ways that is the least important part of the show for me. I just like to watch the teamwork involved, the dough being shaped, admire the different ovens, the mixers, the hustle and bustle, and the icing on the cakes.

The judges have a delightful manner and accentuate the positives they find in each and every one of the bakers they talk to; the challenges they set the bakeries are quite fun, but a bit random and not necessarily equal in skill difficulty.   The section where they visit the bakeries and have a look round and a quick chat and a few words from enthusiastic customers is for me the best part of the show. They showcase the bakeries and their warm, inviting interiors and beautiful displays of cakes and breads, their cafés and delighted customers really well.  I found myself making mental notes about where they all were and hoping that one day I would get to pop in and sample their baked goodies for myself.

I really enjoyed seeing my friends at the Loaf in Crich who were on this week, the judges were very complimentary about their big green olive sourdough and it was lovely to see the shop and café humming with life and happy customers. I have almost got the 100% spelt sourdough (my personal nightmare) right now, thanks to expert advice from Andrew at the loaf.

100% spelt sourdough

Here it is looking decidedly more airy than my usual bricks. One of the most rewarding things about dabbling in breadmaking has been all the wonderful people I have come across while doing it. Andrew is one of those people who has always been kind hearted and encouraging. We all need encouragement.

It is well worth having a look at, recording or using Catch up TV options to whizz through the adverts and share in the delight and see places that you might want to visit if you were in that part of the UK. The series is in the second of four weeks, so plenty of time to catch some of the shows as they travel around the UK.

By the way….

In Bristol we have the brand new East Bristol Bakery in St Mark’s Road, Easton and Laura Hart is opening her new bakery this Saturday 8th December, both highly recommended!

I get so excited when I walk past a bakery and I always have to go in and buy something, even if I have a breadbin full at home I can’t resist.

More Groupie activity…this time Instagram!

I am incredibly late to this party, but it is so easy. You have no idea of the number of half-realised blog posts that emerge in my mind and never make it up here.

 Instagram makes it all too easy to share images from the day with anyone who is around. Great fun and very easy to play with and somehow the format seems to make the relatively poor quality of the iPad2 photos look quite respectable!

I have put a link that I hope will work in the sidebar so you can see these images full size and any comments. Join in if you feel like it…. what are you all up to this weekend? I might drag Brian out to hunt for waxwings… they are supposed to be everywhere right now and they are the prettiest birds!

Edit: July 2013 I gave up on Instagram a while back and deleted my account. One day I might try again but in the meantime it is all too much for me :)

Dogs, birds breads, dogs, food, plants, toads.....

Dogs, birds breads, dogs, food, plants, toads…..

Have a good weekend everyone, don’t work too hard and enjoy the moment !

Sourdough at The Loaf in Crich

I received this lovely email and photos from Anne yesterday and I asked her if I could share it with you all. So she has kindly agreed to let me post it as a guest post. 

Much to tell !

Baking Course at the Loaf in Crich

On Sunday, I attended the first Sourdough course held at the loaf in Crich, my first bread course ever.

And what a day it was !

it started with the drive to Crich in Derbyshire. After leaving the hustle and bustle of the A38, we followed quiet, narrow, windy roads, past Heage and its working windmill and up the hills to Crich. The village was still sleepy, enveloped in a blanket of fog. As I stepped through the threshold of the café, I thought I had entered a new world.

It felt as when I go back to southern France my home: as the plane lands and the exit doors open, I am engulfed in a warm comforting blanket of warmth, light, smell of my Garrigue and noise of crickets with one thought forming and dominating in my head: “I am home!”.

The café was inundated with light, cosy, the happy chatty community enjoying their breakfast.

Although the team was busy with an already important clientèle on this Sunday morning, they quickly served us with a choice of fruit juices, hot drinks, croissants and brioches.

Seven bakers were present to follow a day-long course on sourdough orchestrated by Andrew. Indeed, Andrew organised, planned the day and directed the bakers as a real conductor.

A very nice person and teacher, he passed on to us more than techniques and knowledge but his passion for the art.

Andrew was patiently demonstrating, correcting, encouraging and complimenting the bakers through each step of the bread baking process – weighing out, mixing, autolyse, kneading , rising, folding, shaping, proving, slashing, steaming, baking, and cooling.

I really benefited from being shown how to knead the French way:   until now, I had a tendency to ease my frustration at working wet sticky dough (usually 70% hydration) by adding a bit of flour on the counter. Here, Andrew even added more water to our baguette dough (!!!)  so we would understand how our vigorous slapping and kneading would start the gluten development and with it the elasticity and stretch. Reaching the point when the dough is smooth and silky was more obvious than any book description read so far.

The Crich dough with both rye and wheat leavens was prepared using the no-knead bread method. At 79% hydration, the dough was easier to work that way.

Understanding the pre-bulk was demonstrated by the 100 % rye bread: no vigorous kneading required, but learning to work with rye and judging the critical moment when the dough is ready to be shaped.

Bench rest followed by shaping: we formed bâtards, baguettes, boules and rolls.

Taken from Anne's phone! Wow look at those holes!

I have recently followed several times a Spelt and Corn rolls recipe from Dan Lepard adapted to sourdough but the polenta makes firmer dough and therefore facilitate the shaping. Rolls with the baguette sourdough excess were a different matter: I had to  understand the dough more and look at it: its aspect, its elasticity and how these are affected by how long/how we shape, how much flour on the work surface and our hands.

Slashing: That takes practice ! and practice and practice ! and obviously, I have not practiced enough on wet dough.

Many questions were asked always answered with expertise and honesty: bread baking is a science and who knows exactly what those millions and millions of wild yeast and bacteria will do! It was obvious that Andrew had more than techniques and books to share but also true passion, He presented different ways to work: machine or hand-knead, low / high hydration levain and its effect on flavour and acidity, wet dough or not depending on how aerated you want your bread to turn out. Never too technical or overly scientific but always all easily explained.

It was after 5 by the time our loaves were out of the oven and cooling. Andrew had been up since 5 o’clock in the morning but was the only one still alert: all seven amateur bakers were exhausted!

On Monday, his day off, Andrew will be busy baking in preparation for Christmas. With cafés in Crich and Matlock, supplying to wholesale, participating in weekly markets and Christmas market, organising many bread courses, one wonders what is next!

For me, I will wait impatiently all week until I can finally on Friday evening take from the fridge this magical starter and as it feeds on flour and water, it will come alive again.

In the meantime, I will enjoy savouring those lovely loaves baked at The Loaf !

Enjoy your week!

All text and photos taken by Anne and shown by permission.