Ballymaloe Bread Sourdough

Day 17 – Bread Heads

I had a productive morning today, and made brown seeded soda bread, French Peasant Soup, lamb and spring vegetable stew and a rhubarb fool with crushed shortbread cookies and meringue. I also made the dough for Ballymaloe white yeast bread and left it for a long, slow, cold overnight rise, which will be continued tomorrow.

This evening we attended an extra class on sourdough given by Tim Allen. Tim is in charge of the bread around here and produces a baker’s dozen of sourdough loaves everyday for the farm shop. Sourdough is not only more delicious than other kinds of bread, it is widely believed to be better for you too. Many people who are gluten intolerant find sourdough easier to digest as the fermentation process breaks down many of the gluten proteins so they are not as harsh on the body.

Out of everything I’ve made here bread is by far my favourite. It’s rewarding how just flour and water can produce so many different kinds of bread that you can use in so many different ways. Think bagels, French toast, baguettes, soda bread, flat breads,  sweet breads, not to mention what breadcrumbs can do!  So versatile. And I love the physical feeling of kneading a squidgy ball of dough that starts out as a sticky mess and becomes smooth and elastic.

I learned : Most flat fish are flat because they live on the ocean floor.

The Queen of Norway has a pair of shoes made of plaice skin!

Choux pastry was named such because it looks like cabbage, which in French is chou.

Food of the day : Chocolate eclair with chantilly cream and chocolate soil.

Line of the day : From Rory O’Connell. ‘Getting an eclair that doesn’t have enough cream is an alarming experience.’ Rory gets it.

Cute carrots for my lamb stew