oundle food festival and meeting Dan Lepard
In another life I would have my own little bakery shop selling beautiful loaves of bread, delicious cakes and pastries.
The shop would be in a little village and housed in a lovely old building, its wooden shelves laden with baskets of tempting baked goods.
In fact, it would be very similar to the small bread company's wonderful shop in the market town of Oundle.
It was to their shop that I headed last week with lovely daughter no.1.
The shop was teeming with customers, but we made our way upstairs to the recently opened cookery school for a bread making demonstration with Australian baker Dan Lepard.
The demonstration was part of Oundle's annual food festival which sees the little market town bursting with stalls selling all manner of tempting food goodies.
Lovely daughter and I spent an entertaining and very informative hour and a half listening to and watching Dan as he spoke with great enthusiasm and passion about all things baking related.
There was so much to take in but the main thought I came away with was how relaxed he made breadmaking seem.
Dan's recipe for easy white bread which he demonstrated involved none of the hefty kneading and knocking back usually associated with breadmaking but instead, was a gentle routine in which the dough was lightly folded and rested several times.
And if you were distracted whilst the dough was resting and went over the time allotted - so what! It didn't matter!
Or if you ran out of time completely it was ok to put the dough in the fridge overnight to rise and it could then be finished the next day.
Dan also explained that it was better to let the dough rise until only 50% bigger rather than letting it double in size as baking a 'young' dough gave a lighter and ultimately bigger loaf.
We were shown how to fold and shape the dough for a freeform loaf (top photos) ....
.....and then how to use the dough to make pizzas.
Lovely daughter and I came away feeling inspired and I just had to buy Dan's latest book short and sweet which he very kindly signed for me!