One of the lovely things about getting involved with the local food community is becoming acquainted with the many talented people who are on my doorstep. I finally met the wonderful baker, Nina Oortman when she was trialling a stand at our local Sunday Artisan Food Market. Shortly after, I received an email inviting me, Pauline Milligan who is the director of the Streatham Food Festival and Anna Nolan; both huge champions of Streatham; to a trial run of Nina’s bread making class. And last week, we spent a very enjoyable and productive 4 hours learning how to REALLY make bread, under Nina’s expert guidance. Over the course of the session, I found out that Nina worked as an architect before leaving the practice to pursue her passion for baking.
Armed with our pinnies, we watched Nina demonstrating before following suit, using silky organic flours from Shipton Mill and fresh yeast. I picked up lots of tips along the way, my favourite being that liquid is more accurate when it is weighed so 100ml of water is the same as 100g. I have included that little gem on my Tips and Tricks page. We stopped for a delicious lunch of nibbles, homemade soup, bread and cheese before popping in the last of our proved dough into the ovens to bake. By the end of the session we had learned how to knead, shape and prove yeasted dough and had produced a white loaf, bread rolls, a soda bread and a rye bread. And we got to take it all home together with the recipes and instructions. Nina will be teaching 4 classes in January and February, two on Friday mornings and two on Saturday afternoons. If you have never made bread before or just dabbled in it, this is an excellent class to really learn what the dough should feel and look like. I have made bread and rolls before but I learned so much from Nina. May I suggest that a voucher for one of her classes would make a marvellous Christmas gift? And you would be supporting a small local business.
Click the link to be taken to Nina’s Bread Angel profile and site where you can find out more about Nina, book classes y and also purchase gift vouchers. The excerpt below is from her site:
“In this 4-hour class you will learn how to bake a basic yeasted loaf, shape and bake bread rolls, learn about 100% rye bread and bake a quick soda bread. This is a hands-on class suitable for the bread baking novice. I will explain about bread ingredients, how easily you can fit bread baking into your life and why your own homemade bread is so good for you. You will get to take all the bread you bake home with you, including recipes and notes so you can easily replicate them in your own home kitchen. A light lunch or afternoon tea and some home baked sweet treats along with tea and coffee are included. Classes are small in order for you to get maximum individual attention. Be prepared to get sticky and floury – please wear appropriate clothing and bring along an apron if you have one.
Nina has moved to Malvern, Worcestershire (which is very sad for me but lovely for her!) where she is working in a bakery but also teaching bread making. Her gorgeous new web site is http://www.ninasbakery.co.uk where you can find information on her, book her classes, find out what to bring and how to find her.