This week I had a lovely lady in my kitchen who had travelled especially from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. It’s such a compliment that she wanted to come and share my kitchen, and that she follows my baking from so far away.
It was also very close to my heart to welcome her to my home; I lived in Dubai as a child and I have a long connection with the UAE having had parents living Dubai and then Abu Dhabi across 30 years, as well as living there myself full time for 5 years prior to that. It is a place that holds a special piece of my heart and formed many of my food tastes as well as creative influences.
It was a joy to talk to someone who remembers the Dubai that I remember from the 1980’s and to listen to her speak Arabic is a sound I always love!
During the course we focussed on the basics of my master recipe and process, as well as working with wholemeal flour and using doughs for making rolls and other lovely sourdough goodies.
I always make sure that there is lots of dough to play with on my courses to get the feel of how different flours affect the dough but also to be able to turn dough out to make rolls in various guises, including the ones in the photos in this post.
There were all made with my master recipe dough, one portion of which included 150g of khorasan/kamut flour (hence the yellow tint), and another made up of 250g Mrs Middletons plain natural flour + 250g Mathews Cotswolds white spelt flour.
We chopped up the dough and roll some portions in toasted seeds (above), and some in some Middle Eastern zaatar spice mix (below), and left some naked.
You will find the details for making my various rolls recipes in my recipe index and all of the doughs were made using my master recipe.
I do love running my courses, I meet such lovely people, and it’s always an honour to welcome sourdough bakers from around the country and the world to my kitchen xx
Mrs Middleton is actually a lovely lady called Whizz, and Whizz’s farm is very very close to where I live. For several years Whizz has sold a lovely light rapeseed oil made from her own crops, and recently she also started to sell flour from wheat grown on her land and milled at a local historical mill. This flour therefore is grown and milled very close to where I live and therefore sits it firmly in my heart.
Whizz produces just two flours as shown above, and I love the plain natural white stoneground flour; but do not be fooled, this is not what you would think of as ‘plain flour’. This flour is 13% protein and therefore perfect for bread making. It also has a slight pink tint to the flour which bakes to a light brown, and it’s not just the colour that behaves like a wholemeal/whole wheat; this flour takes up a lot of water, which you have to take into account, and bakes to a gloriously flavoured textured loaf.
If used solely, the loaf will be quite dense and heavy unless you add extra water, which is what I did for the first 2 photos of this post; or, I lift it with some white spelt flour and it works perfectly, as these last 2 photos show. These loaves and the one below are made using my master recipe with 250g Mrs Middletons plain white flour & 250g white spelt flour, otherwise all the same quantities,
And this is definitely my most favourite flour mix to date, the dough is generated is so smooth, it’s beautiful to handle, and when turned out it’s always wonderfully firm and a joy to score…
I’ve also use this flour for making sourdough buttermilk biscuits/scones…
I can happily recommend trying Whizz’s beautiful flour, and I even had the honour of meeting her and teaching her how to make sourdough, which was lovely.
Trying new flours is so much fun, and this one has definitely been a successful experiment for me.
You can find Whizz’s lovely flour and oil here.
Having never made bread before, and always wanted to learn, I was slightly nervous at first as I had heard Sourdough was extremely complicated.
The workshop with Elaine – what can I say…..took away all my fears in the first few minutes, absolutely amazing and I loved every second. Elaine has a beautiful way of teaching and made it simple and effortless in the step by step process. I learned how to make my first sourdough bread and got to take one home…. I learnt how to use the same starter in so many other ways – cheese scones of all things… absolutely to die for and just melted in your mouth.
It was a fun day with a life skill of how to make sourdough bread and an experience that I will never forget……I am hoping to be baking my own loaf from this point forward and am no longer nervous. Elaine is a wonderful person who gives you so much more than you can read in a book and I would highly recommend her workshop to do on your own or with a close friend or family member. I had fun with my sister and it is a memory I will not forget…
Thank you Elaine for sharing your knowledge and making it such a lovely day and Oh I forgot to mention I loved your homemade salad and humous – please do a cooking class – I will be the first to book on…..!
I thought that I ought to write a review of the sourdough course that I did recently with Elaine Foodbod, at her home in Milton Keynes.
To put this into context I trained as a chef and have spent 40 years catering, and cooking for the military as well as various members of the Royal Family, as a Private soldier right through to Lt Colonel, but whilst that gives me a head start perhaps, as most of us know, sourdough pretty much breaks every rule I’ve ever known when it comes to yeasted products. Few other doughs are as ‘wet’ as sourdough, most other doughs require warmth for proving, none that I can think of would you cold prove, nor bake in a cold oven, put in a freezer for 45 mins before baking and most require some sort of vigorous kneading, not the gentle stretch and fold associated with sourdough.
Having said that, the day (really just 4-5 hours) was invaluable to me as a learning experience. Up to that point my home starter Herbert had made 20 or 30 loaves with each being a slight improvement on the ones before but I just couldn’t achieve the ‘open structure’ that is associated with sourdough breads. It wasn’t until I’d experienced handling a starter of Elaine’s that felt and looked so different to mine, and a dough that also handled different to mine which Elaine had prepared earlier, (which I was to make myself during the day) was I able to see where my errors were. It really did make so much difference being able to handle it all ‘in the flesh’ as it were. So, an absolute positive for me and that’s before I talk about Elaine herself, her instruction and her hospitality!
Elaine is clearly passionate about what she does, she does all in her power to make you feel at ease and comfortable and most importantly of all allows things to progress on the course at your pace, making sure that at each stage of the process you understand what you’re doing and why you are doing it! I couldn’t recommend Elaine’s course highly enough and I look forward to sometime in the future working with her again.
The sourdough workshop with Elaine is incredible!
This wasn’t just a baking class and Elaine didn’t just teach how to make great sourdough bread. No, what I got was so much more! I got a reminder to simplify life, to enjoy the process and not be scared when things get sticky. Elaine explained every step of the sourdough process with great flow and ease, she didn’t over complicate things and related them in a manner that was easy to understand.
The whole day was a fun and joyful experience from the minute we arrived. We went from talking about bread, Harry Potter and Game of Thrones to life, values, competitions and personal development with a beautiful home cooked healthy meal to finish it all off. I didn’t really know what to expect before attending except that I would make sourdough bread but I came away with so much more.
Thank you Elaine, let me know when the cooking workshops are available and I’ll be back.
Definitely book now if you’re on the edge, you don’t want to miss this gem of a workshop.
Leadership Coach and Trainer