Hobbs House Bread Making Masterclass

PUBLISHED: 14:05 14 October 2013 | UPDATED: 17:33 21 October 2013

Hobbs House Bread Making Masterclass

Hobbs House Bread Making Masterclass

Brooke Cleave

The Hobbs House Bread Making Masterclass offers up an invaluable new skill that will endlessly impress friends and family.

Hobbs House Bread Making MasterclassHobbs House Bread Making Masterclass

Hobbs House Bakery and Butchery has a superb reputation with locals, having launched over 90 years ago. More recently its popularity with foodies has grown considerably following the Fabulous Baker Brothers show on Channel 4. Its stars, brothers Tom and Henry Herbert, were brought up into the Hobbs House dynasty and always had food in their sights.

After the successful growth of their flagship store in Chipping Sodbury, Tom launched his own branch of the Bakery in Nailsworth, where he has been baking and teaching for over 12 years. He’s also the mastermind behind the hugely successful Hobbs House Bistro, where you can expect to find wood-fired pizzas and homemade burgers, made with meat fresh from the Butchery.

Hobbs House Bread Making MasterclassHobbs House Bread Making Masterclass

Having converted the former familial home above the Chipping Sodbury store to classrooms and bakery, Tom and Henry are joined by a host of experts to offer classes to the public throughout the year. Unable to resist the temptation to learn from the master, I decided to head along to the first of their Saturday classes earlier this month. The so called ‘Bread Making Masterclass’ is a full day of kneading, baking, learning and of course compulsory eating.

Turning up promptly at 8.45am, we were welcomed by a vast array of freshly baked pastries, lardy cakes and fruit buns to start off the day. After a quick whip round of names and abilities, it emerged that we ranged from complete bread-making beginners to keen enthusiasts. Sitting somewhere in the middle, but absolutely clueless as to the difference between sourdough and soda bread, I was eager to get stuck in.

Hobbs House Bread Making MasterclassHobbs House Bread Making Masterclass

First up was sourdough - which for the benefit of complete beginners, uses a sourdough culture instead of yeast and as such is ideal for people who suffer from dietary problems as a result of excess yeast consumption. A rather messy ‘volcano’ method of mixing was followed by an exhausting 20 minute kneading session; definitely enough to banish the wobbliest of bingo wings.

Whilst leaving the sourdough to prove, we moved onto bread number two – a spelt soda bread. Spelt flour is naturally higher in fibre and protein than wheat flour, so much so that spelt bread was known as ‘marching bread’ by the Romans, thanks to its ability to keep soldiers marching for hours on end.

Hobbs House Bread Making MasterclassHobbs House Bread Making Masterclass

With no need to knead or prove, soda bread takes a matter of minutes to make. Having been popped in the oven for 15 minutes to cook, we soon had a delicious warm bread to eat as a quick snack with homemade butter and hummus.

Undoubtedly the star of the day was the simple white bread dough. Using a few crafty techniques, one dough was transformed into a batch of beautifully soft white rolls, pitta bread, crispy pizza, parmesan breadsticks, delicious rosemary and sea salt focaccia and a sweet jewish Challah bread.

Of course all of this hard work resulted in a healthy appetite, which was satisfied by a glass of chilled wine, delicious chicken and chickpea tagines made by Tom’s lovely Aunt, Tory and our communally made focaccia bread.

A superb end to a brilliant day which was absolutely full to the brim with hints and tips, new skills and Tom’s infectious enthusiasm.

Hobbs House organise a large number of classes throughout the year, with topics including bread, butchery, game and patisserie.

All classes can be booked through the Hobbs House website www.hobbshousebakery.co.uk

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