Saturday, 4 May 2013

Learning a new skill - Bread making with 'Cracking Good Food'

Bread! Its the new black in baking isn't it really, with Paul Hollywood's recent series on BBC 2 getting us all a bit keen and interested? My bread making hasn't been up to much to be honest, I made bread years ago and it was pretty OK but of late my attempts haven't been too good. I have thought my problem was the kneading (I can't knead for toffee) but even with a stand mixer and a dough hook I couldn't hack it. So I did no more than took myself off to a bread making course a few weeks ago on the outskirts of Manchester to try and improve my limited bread making skills.

Granary breads.
I spent the day at a school kitchen in Manchester with a number of other keen potential bread makers and in the company of Rob our very knowledgeable tutor, and not just up to speed about bread making either.
My knowledge of nutrition and some aspects of digestion improved too thanks to Rob's tuition/advice. On the day we made a loaf (with our choice of flours), a rye cob, sourdough starter, soda bread and bagels. We had a delicious lunch of freshly baked pizza with a nutritious salad.

My bread making day was run by Cracking Good Food, a non for profit organisation, they put on various courses connected to food and foraging, well worth a look if you live in the north west. I paid £75 for a full day's course and I thought that was an excellent price, a lot of other courses locally are much more expensive. One of the aims of Cracking Good Food is that the courses they run should be as accessible as possible so everyone has the opportunity to learn how to cook.
Milk loaf.

I didn't take any pictures of the day as I just wanted to enjoy it and learn as much as I could. You can see photos of the type of things that go on at these courses on Cracking Good Foods Facebook Page.

Since the course I've been making bread like a good 'un and we haven't bought bread since. I have made sourdough and I have my sourdough starter which began life on the course, I have made white breads (tin loaves and cobs), malt loaves and bagels. Of everything I was most pleased with the bagels as they always seemed a bit tricky to make and not worth the effort but trust me they are! Apart form those you can buy fresh in the USA these are THE BEST I have tasted in this country. My confidence in bread making has improved a great deal and I understand so much more now about yeasts and flours and kneading and proving and how to make a pretty decent loaf and a bagel!

Watch this space for my bagel recipe and tips, which will be coming up in a future post.
A selection of home made bagels.
Testing Paul Hollywood's malt loaf recipe.
NB. I am writing this review because I enjoyed my day baking breads with Rob at Cracking Good Food. I paid for the day myself and was not asked to write a review and Cracking Good Food did not know I was a food blogger when I went on this course. All opinions are my own.


  1. Oooh nice work! What a lovely course to go on. Love baking!

  2. Lovely looking bread. I do fancy that malt loaf too - not one I've ever tried but yours looks delicious. I'll have to check out those courses too - sounds really interesting and a perfect location for me!

  3. Well done! Your bread looks great, I enjoyed the course I went on with Jac and Louise, but have not made much bread since, however there is the Random Recipe challenge to contend with so I might do that tomorrow.

  4. Paul Hollywood can kneed my buns anyday

  5. Thanks from Cracking Good Food for your lovely feedback! Do you mind if we quote you on our Testimonials page?


Please leave a comment...if you have tried one of my recipes I'd love feedback, and thank you for taking time to pop by to read my blog.

Susan x