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Bread-lovers are being invited by the bakers at The School of Artisan Food to rise to the real bread challenge by honing their sourdough skills at quickfire, starter sessions with resident expert, David Carter.
The School of Artisan Food is committed to teaching people, whether complete beginners or professionals brushing up their skills, to handle artisan produce with care. Located on Welbeck Estate in the stunning scenery of Sherwood Forest, The School of Artisan Food’s very setting lends itself to learning about artisan food. Although it’s technically hopped over the border into Nottinghamshire, the Yorkshire Food Guide support its ethos, that precious artisan knowledge should not be lost and should be available to learn as a skill.
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David is running the 2.5-hour, evening workshops at The School on the 12th of September and 9th of November. The workshops take their inspiration from Sourdough September, the month-long event by the Real Bread Campaign to raise awareness of the real thing vs ‘sourfaux’, the name given to inferior mass-produced fake sourdough using cheaper ingredients, additives and baking shortcuts.
“I’m keen to show how easy it can be to make a fantastic loaf. All that’s needed to make real sourdough bread is flour, water, time for the yeasts to develop and a few simple techniques. The flavour is far superior to mass-produced bread and it will last longer too,” he says.
Sharing his tips and secrets to making, looking after and using a sourdough starter, David will finish a part prepared loaf during the workshop. Each of his bakers will get to taste some delicious bread and to take away a small portion of sourdough starter to practice bread baking at home.
Set up to teach all aspects of artisan food production, The School is well placed to share its expertise in the making of ‘real’ bread using the slow fermentation artisan process, which rarely features in the supermarket version of so-called ‘sourdough’. As there is no legal definition for sourdough or artisan bread, there is little to prevent those terms being used to market any loaf regardless of how it’s made, leading to the Real Bread Campaign to call for better labelling.
Wayne Caddy, Head of Baking at The School of Artisan Food, who has made a series of how to make Sourdough videos for the School’s YouTube channel, explains: “A good sourdough should reflect the character of the grain. It’s the baker’s job to get the best out of the grain. Similar to wine, the grape often determines the character of wine; sourdough bread is no different.
“Dough with very little fermentation, such as a mass-produced loaf, contains much higher levels of gluten. If you imagine gluten like an elastic band – tough, strong and resistant – this gives your gut a rigorous workout. Long-term consumption of gluten-rich breads may lead to gluten intolerance.”
PART 1 -How to Make Sourdough (Mother Dough)
Alison Swan Parente, the Founder of The School, ‘wants everyone to have the opportunity to understand food provenance, be adventurous about what they eat and to be confident and creative around food’ – a concept we can all get behind with the artisan food movement exploding in popularity as more and more people seek out food with provenance and quality. ‘Artisan’ is a term used to describe food produced by non-industrialised methods, often handed down through generations but now in danger of being lost. The school is keen to hold onto these precious food preparation and cooking methods, so teaches its students with a passion that the love of good food may continue through the generations.
For exceptional teaching, the school has recruited the very best artisan producers and practitioners from around the world – but don’t feel daunted if you’re a complete beginner as they have ensured that courses are accessible and informative for everyone. To mark a decade since opening its doors The School of Artisan Food the UK’s first Advanced Diploma in Artisan Baking, accredited by FDQ. This six-month, full-time, intensive course is the equivalent of a foundation degree level qualification. It combines practical, contextual and business training for a well-rounded qualification. As well as the new degree courses, the school has a wide range of classes available in all different fields; from French baking to cheesemaking to food photography. The school champions the fact that artisan producers should understand and respect the raw materials with which they work. With the school being particularly concerned with understanding the produce as well the actual production skills, students will leave with ample knowledge of their field as well as having enjoyed a friendly and fun experience!
School of Artisan Food, Lower Motor Yard, Welbeck S80 3LR – 01909 532171 – www.schoolofartisanfood.org