Monday, 11 July 2011

Perfect bread rolls with a minimum of effort

Some rolls made at a recent Cambridge Cookery School bread class

This is the first of many posts on one of my true food passions - bread. Earlier this week I was preparing a barbeque for some of my lovely friends and their families and to keep the youngsters happy, I made be some homemade organic burgers. When you've gone to the trouble of making a tasty burger it seems such a shame to put them inside a processed roll, so don't, make your own. Making your own burger buns is easy and so satisfying - and they do your homemade burgers justice. 

When it comes to making any kind of bread, nothing beats fresh yeast for achieving gobsmackingly good bread, except perhaps a long, slow cold rise. The dough for the burger buns was mixed the night before our barbeque and left overnight to slowly rise in the fridge. I used 50g fresh yeast (you can get your hands on first class Richard Bertinet fresh yeast here), 750g strong, white flour from Rebecca Rayner’s Glebe Farm (just north of Cambridge) and about 120g rye. The liquid was 250ml cold milk and 250ml cold water. A pinch of Maldon sea salt and a squeeze of runny honey also went in. It took 10 minutes to measure up and then I left it in my trusted Kitchen Aid to be thoroughly kneaded for about 15 minutes. It then went in the fridge to slowly rise and stayed there until about 5pm this afternoon when the dough came into the warm kitchen and 26 little rolls were shaped and brushed with egg wash and topped with blue poppy seed. I prefer making burgers and the rolls small, so guests can try other food too without getting completely over-full. The rolls baked for 20 minutes at 200 degrees centigrade. 

I can never resist fresh bread, straight from the oven and so I always cut straight into one roll and spread it thickly with salted butter. The flavour and texture was absolutely stunning, almost like sour dough. This is what you get from slow-rising – depth of flavour and a wonderful, chewy texture. Bread at its best.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of homemade bread then do come along to one of our new Sunday morning bread courses.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Welcome to The Rolling Pin

Some of you may already know me as the chef and proprietor of Cambridge Cookery School. I set up the school back in 2009 as a place for local people to come to learn about cooking good food for their families. Since then it has gone from strength to strength. This blog will become a place for me to write about the food issues that I feel strongly about – for better or worse. Real food, real bread, home cooking, left-overs, sustainability, local farming, animal welfare, health and nutrition will be covered and mixed in with some fab seasonal recipes. I grew up in Scandinavia and a lot of favourite food is inspired by wild food and foraging so that will also play a large part.  

The Rolling Pin will smooth out food issues that I believe have become muddled; it will roll over and crush stupid comments, horrid supermarket campaigns, pompous celebrity chefs, bad products and fake promises; and it will roll out thoughts on how we can all live a happier and healthier life, while at the same time contribute to a better world by shopping and cooking sensibly. 

I can tell you that bread, real bread will be one of the main subjects on the blog. Commercial bread is a horrid, unhealthy product loaded with additives and I feel strongly about getting as many people as possible baking their own bread. Home made bread is amazingly good for us – it is a complex carbohydrate, it has low GI, it is easy on the gut and does not cause bloating or discomfort. 

Of course there will also be a recipe or two so that everyone can get their rolling pins out! 

So please read, enjoy and let me know if you have any subject area that you would like me to roll over.