Fir Mount House
Higher Contour Road
Tel: 01803 752943
David and Holly Jones have hit on the perfect lifestyle. They work from home and make lovely food all day long. You can help them and in return you will be taught all the tricks and techniques to achieve professional results.
We were a party of three, Chris, Sue and me. David tutored us through the subtleties of making dough, avoiding the pitfalls and dispensing tips at every juncture. For example I didn’t know that to get that roll on roll off quality from the baking tray or stone you need a touch of semolina. The semolina acts as tiny ball bearings giving your loaf that professional slide we all crave so much after watching a summer of Bake Off.
David’s knowledge is vast and varied. He knows the answers to all the cooking and baking questions you have ever thought of and the ones you haven’t yet thought of.
We were there to make and understand the making of bread or so I thought. What each of us ended up making in an all day class from 10am to 4pm were Chelsea Buns, a loaf of white bread, a loaf of oatmeal bread, some muffins, some rolls, both white and brown, pita bread and a couple of other Mediterranean breads, phew! It was a full day that just flew by. But it wasn’t all work we did get to eat and try all that we baked as we went along and paused for a cold lunch of ham, tomato, cheese, grapes and of course our freshly baked bread.
Sue and Chris have both been on cooking courses before so were used to the ‘get your apron on and wash your hands’ routine. David and Holly have been running their cooking school and B & B for seven years now and cover all sorts of other foodie interests. If you are young and adventurous you could learn all about wood fired ovens or brush up on your knife skills. There are regional cooking themes too; Mediterranean, Asian, pastry and fish are regulars. If it’s keeping the kids in check then why not try one of their family classes. Your very own budding Jamie or Nigella can learn how to make pizzas or cakes while you join in. It’s really good fun and you learn a lot in the process.
After my time with David, Chris and Sue I left with a large box of what I had made and was quietly very proud to have achieved so much in a day. I will now try to make ‘proper’ dough and ‘proper’ bread more often. With the right planning there really is no excuse and the best reason of all? It tastes so good my family devoured the Chelsea Buns I brought home in minutes!
David has kindly agreed to share one of his recipes from The Manna from Devon Cooking School. It’s really straight forward and worth trying at home.
SIMPLE WHITE DOUGH:
White Flour 600 100
Salt 12 2
Instant Yeast 6 1
Water (luke warm) 390 65
Butter 20 4
Total Weight 990
The total liquid in this recipe is 65% of the weight of flour; enough to create manageable dough, which will hold it’s, own shape but which may be sticky to knead at first.
The addition of butter adds a little fat, which will soften the crumb and slightly improve the breads life. Breads fermented for a short time benefit from a small amount of fat, which might be butter, olive oil, milk, yoghurt, nut oil etc. As little as 30g of any fat added to the dough will have a significant effect on the final bread.
You could also add sweetness to the bread by including a little sugar, honey or malt extract but this is optional as flour contains plenty of sugar for yeast to feed on.
- Place all the ingredients except the salt into a mixing bowl and mix well. Cover and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes or more.
- Add the salt and mix into the dough. Turn onto the bench and knead until it becomes smooth and silky with plenty of bounce.
- Place back into the bowl and cover for at least 60 mins (but ideally longer) bulk proof. A longer fermentation will bring more flavour so relax and allow the bread to ferment quietly for a couple of hours if you can.
- Push the gas out without tearing the dough and form a tight ball, put to one side (covered to avoid it skinning) and stand it for another 10 minutes to fully relax. Mould into your final shape.
- When you have shaped, place on a little flour and cover. A cloth will dry the dough giving a little more crust; a plastic bag will keep the dough moist and give a slightly thinner, softer crust. Allow too stand at room temperature for about 30 mins final proof.
- Remember to test the dough to see when the spring is running out of the dough. The bread is ready to bake when it is well risen but still has a little resistance when gently poked with a finger.
- Bake at about 220oc for 30 to 35 mins for a large loaf, 20 – 25 minutes for a small loaf, or 10- 12 minutes for rolls or flatbreads.
Recipe courtesy David Jones, Manna from Devon Cooking School