This week I started a four week bread making course with Arbutus Breads, and it was something I have been looking forward to for ages and ages. Food is one of my favourite things about coming home to Cork, and Arbutus is one of the best artisan food companies around, it’s certainly the best bakery in Ireland. Their Latvian Rye with caraway seeds is my favourite, but all their breads are amazing, you really have to just taste them to understand where are the hype is coming from.
Declan Ryan was the first Michelen star chef in Ireland with his famous Arbutus Lodge restaurant which he ran for many years. After retiring from the restaurant business he started up the Arbutus Bread Company which is now a household name in Cork for the best in artisan bread. He trained with some of the most famous French bakers using traditional methods. The Arbutus Breads course is ran with his son Darragh one night a week for four weeks, and we will be doing a couple of breads a week.
The first class was really educational and it was so nice to listen to Declan’s stories of how he learn the art of traditional French bread making from great names in baking such as Pierre Nury and Xavier Honorin. He even had an old photo album of pictures of the bakeries he learnt in, the types of bread he made and methods he used which was amazing to get to see.
This week we made Ciabatta which is so handy to have in your repertoire. I think successful bread making at home is all about confidence. It seems really intimidating at first but you just need to keep trying and not be disheartened by the fact that your first attempt may be an epic fail, and the second may not exactly win a beauty pageant. But persevere and you’ll get the knack quickly enough!
420g (approx) T65 or Type 00 flour (Strong white unbleached will do, but try a good deli for some of the T65 or Type 00)
64g sourdough starter (for recipe on how to make starter click here)
4g Fresh yeast (Or 2g dried yeast)
190ml water (tepid)
1. Mix ingredients together in a mixer with a paddle attachment, or by hand for 5 to 10 minutes. It’s a very wet loose mix so don’t worry that it looks a bit sloppy. Declan suggested mixing it until it becomes glossy.
2. When all ingredients are combined put the dough in a large container, cover it and let prove (sit) for around two hours, in a warm area if possible. It should double in size.
3. Take out dough and it knock back on a floured surface. This is as simple as patting down the dough, you can’t knead it again as the loose mixture won’t allow it.
4. You can either leave the dough as is or portion it into smaller pieces for ciabatta buns. Let the dough prove on a floured cloth for another 30 to 60 minutes.
5. Pop into a hot oven at 250C for about 15 minutes or so. Declan said not to get too worried about time, and just go with your gut “When it’s done, it’s done”. It will be done when it sounds hollow when you tap it. You can always make a batch and freeze some smaller individual portions when baked for use when you need.