I was invited to do a chef demo with the Wot’s Cooking team at The Great British Food Festival at Weston Park on Sunday 28th May. I hope my passion for real bread shone through and convinced at least some of the audience that making bread at home is doable and reaps rich rewards.
Here are some action shots of me doing my thing.
I had a great time and I got to meet the very lovely Howard Middleton of Bake Off fame who was on after me. What a lovely chap!
The table of goodies at Grow Local
On Sunday, Veg Patch Kitchen spent the day at The Greenwood Centre in Ironbridge at the annual Grow Local event run by Transition Town Telford. It’s a lovely community day, with lots of plants available to buy from local growers or you can take your garden tools to be sharpened and experience how to look after chickens in your garden. I had been invited to have a stall to promote Veg Patch Kitchen as a local business and shared a space in the barn with Taste Not Waste and Molly’s Vegetarian Kitchen. Taste Not Waste takes surplus food from local supermarkets and sells it cheaply to encourage people to eat healthily whilst avoiding food waste. Molly, of Molly’s Vegetarian Kitchen has recently set up her catering business providing vegetarian food for events or to eat at home.
It was a great event, busy with local folk buying plants and enjoying the sunshine. It was the first time I have baked bread to sell and it’s quite a different experience from teaching people to make bread. I took along white sourdoughs, brown sourdoughs using freshly milled Shropshire Soissons grain (milled with my Komo mill), focaccia, Chelsea buns and Shropshire butter buns. I had sliced a loaf or two as samples and we sold out. I later had texts and tweets to tell me how much the buns and the bread were enjoyed. It was a great day and I loved the experience.
We always strive to make sure that your day with us at Veg Patch Kitchen is enjoyable, fun and informative and I really love getting emails, messages and Facebook reviews that confirm that we are delivering just that. Annabelle from Hundred House Coffee joined us for a day of bread making at my sister’s house in Clun and enjoyed her day so much that she wrote a review about it on her blog. You can read about it here.
Annabelle bought along some of the coffee that she and her partner Matthew roast at their micro-roastery in the Shropshire Hills and it was so good that I have subscribed to their delivery service so that we can enjoy their coffee at future bread making courses. One of the many good things about running a local business is supporting other local businesses.
Veg Patch Kitchen has been running bread making courses for two years now. We started in Leena’s house in Clun in January 2015. We introduced evening classes at the local village hall later that year and now, since July 2016, we have our very own purpose built kitchen that most of the courses run from in the very beautiful location of Ironbridge.
It has been an amazing two years, meeting lots of lovely and interesting people along the way and inspiring many of those to make bread making part of their daily or weekly routine. The rest, I hope, enjoy bread making as an occasional but very enjoyable part of their very busy lives.
It feels the right time now to introduce a sourdough course into the mix of available courses. The new course is for those that have always wanted to make their own sourdough bread but are a bit uncertain about how to make a start or how to fit it into their routine. It is also suitable for those that have perhaps tried to get going with sourdough but have fell at the first hurdle. The course is designed to show you how easy making a very good sourdough loaf can be and how this delicious and nutritious bread can be fitted into your daily, weekly or fortnightly routine. Making sourdough can suit everyone, it’s just a matter of seeing how.
For those of you wondering what sourdough is, it is a bread raised by wild yeasts rather than by the yeast that you can buy from your nearest shop. The wild yeasts are all around us, in the air, in the flour. All they need is time. Very little commitment is needed from you, a few minutes here and there during the day and you can have a wonderful loaf of bread that is full of goodness and reported to be easier to digest than breads made with shop bought yeast.
So if you want to delve into the world of sourdough and find out how to fit bread making into your routine take a look at the Ironbridge Courses page to find out more and book yourself a place on our next course.
We had a really successful bread and butter course on Wednesday at Ironbridge. The room was set up for the four course participants and we had a busy and fun evening of bread making and butter churning.
Ready for pizzas
Bowls at the ready
We made a wholemeal wheat or spelt dough using the folding method, a white dough, kneaded on the table. We shaped these into bannetons, tins or focaccia and baked them off ready for the participants to take home with them. They all turned out beautifully.
White, wholemeal, spelt and focaccia loaves made by the participants.
We churned some cream into butter to finish the evening off.
I received some lovely comments from the course participants:
“It was a really great evening Kath, thank you, already had a taste of the bread and butter for supper .. Lovely. Thanks again for a really lovely evening….. Definitely going to do more bread baking, you have really inspired us..going to take some to a team meeting tomorrow for a tasting session.”
“Thank you so much for a lovely evening. I had a great time and am looking forward to trying the recipes again – hopefully with the same success as last night.”
The last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy. On Saturday 23rd July I demonstrated bread making at Cosford Food Festival. It was the first time I had presented on a chef demo stage and I absolutely loved every minute of it.
In full flow
The next weekend saw me on the chef demo stage at the first Telfood Feastival in Telford’s Town park. This time I was demonstrating bread making in the context of additive free. I discussed the difference between the Chorleywood bread making process (the supermarket loaf) and the loaf you can make at home.
I enjoyed both weekends very much thanks to the organisational skills and professionalism of the Wots Cooking team and I am looking forward to my next time on stage.
We had a great day of cheese and butter making at Acton Scott on Saturday. We started the day with making a curd cheese with vegetarian rennet. We had a very interesting visit to the farm’s dairy to watch Ingrid turn two gallons of cream into butter in the farm’s end-over-end butter churn and we benefitted from the skills and knowledge that Ingrid has developed over her years of working at Acton Scott. It made us all realise what a skilled job that of dairy maid was and how important her role was to the Victorian farm.
We had a delicious lunch in the School House cafe and then returned to the Black Barn to make our own butter and then, in the tradition of the farmhouse, we made scones using both the buttermilk and the strained whey.
It was such a fantastic day that we have now added another Home Dairying course to Acton Scott’s diary. On Sunday 9th October we will be making a soft cheese and flavouring it with rum soaked raisins and churning cream into butter to make a delicious brandy butter. We will be popping down to the farm’s dairy to watch Ingrid working her magic with the butter churn too.
If you would like to join us in October then book your place quickly as this course is popular.
Exciting times ahead for Veg Patch Kitchen. We now have our very own bespoke kitchen in our garden at our home in Ironbridge. My Dad has done a lot of the hard work of getting this building from a shed that contained plant pots, tools and old furniture into something wonderful.
Most of our courses will be run from here in the future and I can’t wait to get using it properly. It was finished at the weekend and I have been practising in there making sure I know the ovens and the space well.
The course list is now available and I look forward to welcoming you to Ironbridge and our lovely new kitchen soon.
Last Saturday saw me taking my first class at Acton Scott Museum. I was joined by eight lovely students for a day of bread making.
Here they all are doing a fold of their spelt/ wholemeal dough. We kept ourselves very busy. We made a wholemeal or spelt dough and shaped it into a tin, an olive oil dough that we shaped into a fougasse or a focaccia and a white dough that we shaped into a boule and proved in a banneton.
The highlight of the day was cooking our white loaves in the Bailiff’s cottage’s bread oven. Mike, the Bailiff, had lit the wood fired bread oven and made it ready for our loaves. It was fascinating being able to step back in time and cook our loaves the traditional way.
Whilst we waited for the loaves to cook it gave us all a chance to have a wander around the farm yard and coo over all the new babies that had recently arrived. There was a litter of nine day-old Tamworth pigs, some week to ten day-old calves and some very adorable chicks. The working horses are always worth a look and I never miss the opportunity to steal a glance at Dusty the Donkey (if only he fitted into the back of my car…).
Acton Scott is a working farm museum following the farming methods of the Victorians and is well worth a visit if you find yourself in Shropshire.
I am looking forward to my next couple of courses there, Home Dairying on 25th June and Sweet Doughs on 24th September.
More lovely people joined us on Sunday to learn new skills in bread making.
Here they all are with the breads that they made throughout the day. We made white and spelt loaves using the folded method, an olive dough using the kneading method which we shaped into fougasse, focaccia and pizzas. We also made an enriched dough making iced fingers, Shropshire butter buns, chelsea buns and hot cross buns.
The loaves made during the bread making class
If you would like to join us for a full-day or evening class of bread making then please do contact us.