Friday, 20 August 2010

putting bread on the table...

I spent today up to my elbows in dough, learning how to make bread with Gillian Hancock. Gillian throws open the doors of her Cotswold Cottage and shares her love of baking at the kitchen table, in the heart of her beautiful home. She kept us busy, firstly with a basic white bread recipe, mixing, kneading, then shaping the dough into rolls, plaits and loaves, then moved us on to focaccia, seed bread, fruit and herb bread, using oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley freshly picked from her garden.

Throughout the morning, the Aga is fired up and one batch after another is baked and turned out onto the cooling rack, until we have more than twenty loaves in various shapes and sizes ~ even little hedgehog loaves to take home to the children! The loaves were cooked in tins, and the plaited bread was placed onto Aga baking sheets, that looked like distressed pieces of leather, and a great product that I am definitely going to invest in. We added poppy and sunflower seeds to the top of the loaves as desired or left them plain.

Once all the bread has been cooked and turned out onto the cooling racks, the table is laid out with olives, parma ham, tomatoes, grapes, salad and the fresh bread still warm from the oven, and over a glass of red wine, the bread is broken and shared with both Gillian and her lovely husband Mark, who joined us from his office. At the end of the day, the bread is shared out for us to take home along with beautifully handwritten recipes, so that we can repeat what we have learned today!

Gillian hosts bread baking days (usually 9.30am - 2pm) from her home in the Cotswolds, contact her for further information about these bespoke and intimate courses. More of the pictures from today can be seen here.


  1. This looks like so much fun, and there is nothing better than homemade bread!!

  2. this is exactly the kind of lesson that i need. lucky you. the breads look delicious.

  3. what a rewarding experience! ;)

  4. isn't bread making the BEST? i love making my own bread - it's one of the things i always head off to do when i need to relax, or mull something over. kneading bread is like meditation for me.

    i am now hoping for some freshly baked bread when i come to visit!

  5. Oh I love this!!! I could so do with a day off making bread!!! Lovely!!!


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