A few weeks ago I finally managed to get around to using my Birthday voucher to do an Artisan Bread Course at The Dorset Smokery, courtesy of my husband. So off I tootled for a day off from mum duties to work some dough and pretend I was the next contestant on the Great British Bake Off. When I arrived, an amazing breakfast spread of meats, bread, cheese and fruit was laid out for us to tuck into. Clearly this was going to be a good day!
It was a nice small group of us doing the course with Todd (the owner and teacher) at the helm, which was lovely as it meant we could all get some one on one guidance. Todd is a real character, full of stories and jokes which makes the day very entertaining.
By the end of the day we would have made, Fougasse, puffed Tortilla shapes, Baguettes, smoked cheddar and Oregano Breadsticks, White and Rye Dough and Pizza! Better get kneading then….
The white dough itself has very simple ingredients. Flour, yeast, salt and water. Simples. No need for all the horrid things that get added to our supermarket bread. Remember this is an artisan course too, which means no mixers! This is all about elbow grease.
The technique for kneading is hard work, once scooped and folded you have to slap it down and slap it down hard then scoop, fold, lift and slap again and again……and again…..and you get the picture. After one batch of dough I was getting an idea of what it feels like to be a baseball pitcher and was daydreaming of being Gina Davis in ‘A League of their Own’.
The dough was left to ‘prove’ and once that was done we had to work the dough again. It was then rolled out and split up to make different things. The puff Tortillas, Fougasse and the baguette .
We then whipped up another batch of white dough to be used for the bread sticks. This was one of my favourites as you can get really creative with the dough. We covered our rolled out dough with cheese and oregano and folded it and rolled again. You then cut it into strips and twist or plait it, we then painted them with a Marmite glaze!
Next up we moved onto pizzas, the recipe for this includes white flour, rye flour, extra virgin olive oil, yeast, salt and water. Todd had thrown a whole batch of tomatoes seasoned with herbs, salt and pepper into the oven to make the sauce. When these were done he simply blended them up and voila. By now we had been kneading and mixing all morning, stomaches were rumbling, backs were hurting and arms were aching. Lunch was calling. So once we had put the toppings on our pizzas we popped them in the oven and sat down for yet another feast with a crisp glass of white wine thrown in for good measure. definitely my kind of course! Unfortunately for my pizzas though lunch was so good that I forgot to check my pizzas and managed to burn them! Oh well, they still ended up tasting pretty good.
Don’t think we are done yet, no siree. You get your money’s worth out of this course for sure. Lunch was cleared away and now we had the toughest of the lot to take on. White & Rye bread. If I had known how hard this was going to be I might have grabbed the rest of the white wine and nipped off to sit in a nearby field! The recipe itself is not complicated it’s just a lot more working of the dough than anything else and takes ages to come together. But we ploughed on and eventually the dough started to take shape. All we had to do now was to pop it into the oven and wait while the wonderful wafts of baking bread filled the air.
My gosh we worked hard that day and I enjoyed every minute of it. I learned loads and I will be sure to start making bread at home. As for The Dorset Smokery I shall be returning again and again. They do many more courses too including cheese and butter making, charcuterie, patisserie and a more advanced bread course. But if you don’t fancy doing one of those, stop by to buy something yummy from the deli, they do the most amazing BBQ sauce that is wonderful all year round. Their pate is award-winning and if you like smoked ‘anything’ then clearly this is the place for you!
So now for the big reveal, the full spread of everything I made that day. (I… er’hem might have swapped in one of the other pizzas as mine looked pretty scorched!)
It was a really fantastic day and I highly recommend you put it on your list of things to do.
Love Katy x