In a bleak and exceedingly damp day we were up bright and early to prepare for our Covid safe, Christmas Loaf Coaching lesson. It's always a pleasure to turn on the ovens in winter.
It's a lovely aromatic place in the bakery on an ordinary day but at Christmas time all that fruit, spice and liquor adds a heady and extremely festive ambience to our somewhat humble premises.
As our student arrived (a repeat customer so we're doing something right) we launched into preferments and soakers and the necessity to have a large bowl of flour and a dough scraper to hand to unstick the stickier doughs. With these doughs, laden with soused fruits, less is definitely not more!
It was a lovely relaxed atmosphere with plenty of conversation and discussion about all things bread. It is wonderful to share our passion about food and ingredients with an avid student.
The damp weather didn't affect our spirits or the proving times (too much) and our wonderful student turned out some amazing breads and pastries! 12x perfect deep filled mince pies, 12x festive buns, 4x perfect little kletzenbrot cobbles and 2x impressive Stollen. I think this lady's family and friends are in for a treat this Yuletide!
Traditional Christmas cakes are of the bread type: yeast leavened, kneaded by hand, baked in hot oven. Yeasted dough seems to be shunted into the ‘Bread’ drawer. They are all cakes, scrumptious, jewel spackled, spiced deliciousness. Kletzenbrote, Julekake and Stollen are three of Kelp Bakery's Customer favourites which is why we've put them in a hamper together!!!
The pictures left to right are as follows,
Kletzenbrote; Is a delicious, naturally sweet Austrian celebration bread and takes it name from one of its main ingredients; dried pears! In Austria they are called Kletzen and lend their name to Austria's oldest “Taste of Holidays”. This juicy fruit bread also contains nuts, raisins and all sorts of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, aniseed and fennel.
Farmers baked Kletzenbrot hundreds of years ago as a nutritious winter food, to make sure they would have a good source of energy through the cold season. The Christmas classic, which is called Zelten in Tyrol, is baked early in the Advent season, because the longer the bread is left to mature, the juicer it will be.
Julekake; translates as 'Yule Bread' in Norwegian. It's a rich, flavorful bread which is traditionally served at Christmas in many Scandinavian countries. It is particularly popular in Norway and Denmark. Like many holiday breads, Julekake involves candied fruit and nuts, and it is heavily spiced. Some people frost Julekake with a sweet white icing, which makes it even more like a Christmas cake.
The traditional spice is cardamom, it's heavenly fragrance is a diversion from the ubiquitous clove/nutmeg/cinnamon combination permeating many Christmas kitchens.
One of the best things for Christmas Day breakfast and even better on Boxing Day, toasted and thickly buttered. Julekake is better than a brioche: firmer and more substantial, and not so rich. Arguably it is a little more like a bread than a cake, unlike panettone, as it cuts into neat slices.
Stollen; has been around for nearly 700 years is prized throughout the world as one of the most famous and beloved of all Christmas pastries. Flaky, moist, aromatic and divinely flavourful, handmade Stollen is INCREDIBLE!
Christmas stollen, known in Germany as Christstollen, is a yeast bread that is baked with dried fruits, candied citrus peel, nuts and spices.
Stollen are famously dusted with a thick coat of powdered sugar, reminiscent of the snowy German landscape, and baked with aromatic spices conveying the warmth of the Christmas season.
The most famous variety of stollen is the Dresdner Christstollen and can be dated back to 1329.
The Dresdner Stollenfest featuring Germany’s largest Christstollen is held every 2nd Saturday of advent. So far 2013 broke the record for the largest stollen at 9,400 lbs! Each year the giant fruit bread is paraded through the streets. The mayor of the city tastes the first piece and the stollen is then cut into thousands of pieces that are sold with the proceeds going to charity!
Typically the Stollen is tightly wrapped and kept in a cool place to age for 2-3 weeks before eating (this allows the liquid from the rum-soaked dried fruits to soak into the bread creating both flavor and moistness).
NOW, while letting Stollen age will allow the flavors to fully penetrate the bread, it's also superb straight from the oven!
So here we are on the eve of LockDown 2.0, loaf coaching has had to be suspended #sadface but we are continuing to deliver and attend food markets where possible. So we'll keep you up to date as and when we know.
We've also added our Christmas Hamper selections and delivery dates to our order forms, its separate to the everyday items list and has set dates. You will of course be able to order individual Festive loaves very soon.
So we're 2 lessons in and everyone seems to be enjoying the experience. I'm going to write a bit down here incase you'd like to know more.
It's a relaxed atmoshphere, where you get to pummel, slap, stretch and fold the doughs until you produce a cracking loaf or two. There's explanation of the whats and whys and questions are always welcome.
We start at 9.30 and all our students have got stuck right in.
We cover direct doughs on this course (no faffing with preferments and such).
First off the bat is a Classic French White dough, which is lean dough (no dairy or egg added). It's dry enough to traditionally knead and we worked up a sweat with some intense stretching, folding and turning and boom thats your first dough proofing.
Next we cover a Pain de Mie, which is a soft white loaf. The dough has some dairy and is a mix with a high hydration. It definitely doesnt look like a dough when you mix it. Its a little scary as you cant imagine this wet looking goop will ever look like a loaf of bread. To work it we use the 'french method' or slap and fold, it is quite literally lift it up and slap it down on the counter to stretch it and then fold the edge you have in your hand over the top to trap air, a bit like cracking a whip. Its noisy, alarming at first and rather satisfying, especially as it becomes a workable dough once it becomes silky its ready to proof.
So with x2 loaves on their bulk rise you get a choice of which of the 3 flavoured breads you want to work with next. Depending on what you choose the dough could be wet or dry.
We have some elevenses which involves fresh baked cake and biscuits and then on to shaping the dough.
First we cover the standard farmhouse loaf tin for the classic French White and discuss the importance of folding, strength of structure through tension and sealing and positioning fold seams for the second rise.
We use a Pullman tin for the Pain de Mie, this type of tin has a lid and some small holes to let out a just a little steam, it creates a really beautiful soft, square loaf. perfect for sandwiches.
Finally we move to the free form loaves. A batard, square boule/miche or a Couronne (which translates as crown, it s a circle) depending on your choice of loaf.
Then more biscuits or cake and topical discussion waiting for the finale.
With the ovens all preheated, and the plainer tinned loaves in and baking, its time for some fancy work. Using a 'lame', pronounced 'lahm' (which is a blade on a stick) right before the loaves go in the oven, our students get to try their hand at scoring. Scoring isn't just decorative, it allows a more controlled expansion of the free-formed dough so it doesn't tear in random places, it can also be an identifier of the type of bread, or the baker.
Once we're all done we pack your bread up for you to take home to show off to your nearest and dearest.
It's a joy to share what we know and how we do what we do with people, keep your eyes peeled for new courses they'll be coming soon.
The newest addition to Kelp Bakery's evolution is going to be personal tuition in the art of bread making.
For £50 per person (max 2 given current restrictions) we'll be offering a day course at the bakery learning different techniques, making free form and tinned loaves using a variety of doughs.
We'll make you hot drinks and feed you cake.
If you're interested please get in touch via the contact form or our Facebook page Dates available are Saturday 18th 2020 and Saturday 25th October 2020
Hi there folks! Well 2020 has been a bit of a funny one so far hasn't it?
Today I am hunting Internet Gremlins fudging up our order forms *facepalm.
Hopefully you're aware that we're now doing deliveries across Kerrier and Penwith AND that we have a Pop-up shop at the Unit, where we support and encourage other small Cornish business'.
We are proud to supply Hard Pressed Cornwall cold pressed rape seed oil, St Ewe Free Range Eggs, organic flours from Stoat & sons (stone ground) and Shipton mill plus fresh fruit and veg from Westcountry foods.
We also stock variety of Cornish cheeses including Yarg, Cornish Blue, Helford Blue, Miss Muffet, all the Curds and Croust bries and camembert, plus scrumptious milk, yoghurt, butter and cream from The Free Range Dairy.
We plan to continue delivering to you even after the current 'lock down' restrictions are relaxed and it's always lovely to catch up with our customers at the shop so that may continue too.
We took the leap and invested in a contactless card reader ('Boop' can be a bit hormonal, though we're settling it in!). It has made it even easier to shop with us.
So The Little Shop of Fabulous will be open 10 til 2 Tuesday and Wednesday theres still time to get your orders in for a Tuesday delivery too!