Fantastic Bread Workshop at E5 Bakehouse

This was a fabulous Bread Workshop at the E5 Bakehouse in Hackney!

I have tried my luck with baking my own bread during my teens but I had to realise very quickly that it is not that straight forward. My first attempt back in the day was neither looking great nor was it edible to be honest. It was so dry, I could throw it against the wall and it would not even change shape…

Despite my failed attempts to make bread myself, I still love eating it! After all, I grew up in a country that celebrates rye and sourdough. There is a bread bakery on every corner in Berlin offering bread rolls of all sorts – dark rye, country style sourdough, pumpernickel, potato bread, multi seeds, brezel, Laugenstangen and so on…

Anyway, having moved to Holland in 2005 and England in 2009 really put my love for bread on hold. Please don’t take it personally dear Dutch and Brits, of course, you also have lovely breads, but Zie Germanz just make better ones! 😉 To be fair, there has been a surge of Artisan Bakeries in London in recent years, reflecting the growing demand for quality and particularly British products. Consumers in London are becoming a lot more food savvy and keen to explore, which is great!

So! I had not given up and I was keen to move on from my epic ‘stone bread’ failure. Therefore, I decided to learn from the pros! I made myself a present and signed up for the bread workshop at the E5 Bakehouse, which was recommended to me by a dear friend. The E5 Bakehouse is an East London artisan bakery and coffee shop and I had heard great things about them.

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When I arrived at E5 I was introduced to the rest of the group – a lovely bunch of all ages – I think I was the youngest…

 

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Eyal, E5’s head baker, who swapped his career in neuroscience for bread baking, was our teacher for the day. We started with a short introduction to the world of bread and we received our own little ‘Bread Bible’.

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We learnt a lot that day. Although they said making sourdough is not as complicated as one might think, I am not convinced. I was quite overwhelmed but this is what I remember:

1) There are only three essential ingredients to make sourdough: wheat flour, water and salt

2) Wheat contains the protein gluten, which gives the dough its elasticity and the bread its texture. Different types of flour contain different levels of gluten

3) When water and flour meet, gluten is formed and starch gets broken down into sugars. The more gluten, the stronger the bread. The less water, the denser the bread

4) Salt is used for flavour

5) Yeast is only required for certain type of breads, hence it is not mentioned as a key ingredient. Yeast is a fungus, which grows anaerobically (without air) and converts fermentable sugar in the dough into carbon dioxide, which helps the gluten to expand and rise (leavening the bread)

6) The more we ‘stretch & fold’ the dough, the more strands of gluten are built giving the dough more structure

Trying to remember all that, it was time to get our hands dirty and we made 66% Rye Bread, Ciabatta, Bagels and Hackney Wild! I was so impressed by the outcome. What a great day! The workshop was worth every penny of the £120 I paid including a delicious fresh lunch.

Bread making is really a craft and it takes practice and more practice to master it. The beauty is that no bread is the same. Ingredients, temperature, length of fermentation and the amount of ‘stretch & fold’ make every loaf taste different.

I am very excited to try my new skills at home now. In case you are wondering…no, I do not have a bread stone oven in my backyard but I bought a cast iron from TK Maxx and that is almost the same!! 🙂

Here a few pictures of the day! I can highly recommend this workshop and if you want to share your own experiences, leave a reply! x

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: When the days are getting shorter and colder…I love Autumn! |

  2. Pingback: When the days are getting shorter and colder… |

  3. Pingback: Three Berlin Brunch Pop Ups Later – A Small Update | Foodie in Brixton

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