Work, rest, shape …


… prove (if necessary), bake!

Baking my own bread (even though it’s not Paleo and all that jazz) is something I have wanted to do for a long time.  If truth be told I was always a bit afraid of it.  Not afraid in the sense of being attacked by a large bowl of fermenting dough, but afraid that all the effort wouldn’t pay off!

Then, about 3 weeks ago I had the privilege of helping out some of my food heroes at the annual Castle Ward Bread Festival.  I met Atul KochharRichard Bertinet and Angela Hartnett.  Watching Richard’s effortless approach to making some of the most amazing bread I have ever tasted really inspired me all over again of giving it a blast.  This time without the fear.

L-R Atul Kochhar, Richard Bertinet, The Hungry Waffler, Angela Hartnett

Armed with my signed copy of Dough by Richard Bertinet (see below) I left the Bread Festival with my hopes held high that I too could become an ‘brilliant baguettest’ or a ‘fantastic fougasser’!  The book comes with a DVD (see the YouTube video below) which just reinforced what I watched Richard doing on the day.

So, on Saturday morning I got my plastic scraper, a large mixing bowl, strong flour, sea salt, yeast, water and started on my adventure to become one of the above masters (baguettest or fougasser)!

It really is amazing how Richard’s ‘no flour’ method of working the dough, actually works!  At the start you think you are playing with porridge and then, with a little bit of patience, it starts to become less sticky as you continuously trap air inside the dough, thus giving it the beautifully light texture that we crave when we see a proper baguette!

I think I may have been bitten by the ‘good bread’ bug.  If you can’t find me on a Saturday morning I am more than likely in the kitchen (avec apron), covered in flour and basking in the smell of freshly baked bread!

So, the picture at the top is my first attempt at making a Fougasse!  I was pretty pleased with it, but I will get do it better the next time!

Go on, watch the video and give it a go!  You won’t be disappointed when it comes out of the oven all crunchy as you dip it in some cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.  Amazing!

Just for your info, here’s a wee comparison between shop bought bread and homemade bread: 

Shop bought bread Homemade bread
Wheatflour Flour
Water Yeast
Yeast Sea Salt
Wheat protein Water
Soya flour  
Vegetable fat  
Emulsifier E472e  
Flour treatment agent E300  
Calcium propionate
(to inhibit mould growth)