Tag Archives: Bread Group

A Few Favourite Photographs


Now that I look back on my flower photos I wish I’d taken more. They are very comforting in the middle of winter.

I also wish I’d sorted them better as I’ve had to go through 1,300 images to find these.  They are cheering me up already, particularly the blossom. I’m looking forward to blossom time, which seems a very haiku time of year.

I’ve always like grasshoppers as subjects – something that hides in the grass and is prone to jumping when disturbed is a challenge, and a good shot is always a pleasure.

Finally, the Bread Group’s end of year curry. I miss the bread group, the smell of fresh bread and, of course, the curry.

I’m now feeling cheered, pleasantly nostalgic and inspired to write haiku, so it was worth sorting through a few photos.

The Bread Group – A Retrospective

The Bread Group was originally set up in 2012 when we did a school holiday project with parents and children. One of the parents asked about us doing similar things in the future and Julia decided to set a group up so local people could get together and learn to bake together.

Gail arrived shortly after and under her leadership the group went from strength to strength, proving to be popular both for social, baking and health reasons. The group was the driving force behind our successful run of Open Farm Sunday events, and also helped make our one and only Winterfest a great success. That proved to be a problem.

The first winter event, organised by the farmer’s sister and with me as a disappointing  Santa, attracted 11 children and made a loss. The next one, with Julia on crafts and Gail on catering, and with a less grumpy Santa, attracted hundreds of people and made about £600. Things looked set for an annual event, with craft fair and profit, but by the time we were ready to plan for the next one the writing was already on the wall.

Cynics might say many things at this point, but this is meant to be a celebration of bread and friendship, and that’s how I’m going to leave it, with a selection of pictures and memories of bread, Christmas curries and the group’s visit to India.

Thanks are due to Gail and all members of the group for cheering the place up on a regular basis and for all their hard work in helping run the centre events over the years.

Sadly, although the kitchen extension is now complete, they have not been invited back and it looks like the group has now passed into history.

The days of wine and roses, they are not long…




Today, it was ciabatta day for the bread group on the farm, and as I’ve missed a few sessions I thought I’d have a look in.

It’s a tricky dough to work with, and thus has a high potential for comedy. This is particularly true by the time it has had olives, rosemary or sun-dried tomatoes worked into it. The latter are particularly problematic because they can, in the hands of a novice, produce a loaf that looks like the result of a splenectomy.

Things have changed a lot since the early days,when the results were a bit hit and miss and often ended up on the bird table. These days we have a group of quietly determined bakers producing loaves which generally look like the pictures in books, so that we hardly ever have to use the words rustic or artisan. (If you aren’t familiar with the terms artisan denotes that the loaf looks hand made. Rustic means it looks like it’s been hand made by someone using a shovel.) Fortunately they still aren’t perfect, and I am grateful for that, as it makes things more interesting.


As you can see, ciabatta is open to a number of interpretations, including the rosemary shadow effect – I might try that next time I bake.


Ciabatta with the shadow of rosemary

If a picture’s worth 1,000 words…

Quick blog – just shove some pictures in. Simple.


It was brioche today in the Bread Group and the results were excellent, which makes it hard to make jokes about.


One tiny fault – if you put too much glaze on top it can run down to stick to the pan and stain the bottom. Doesn’t seem like much of a fault to me – who bothers to look at the bottom when you’re eating fresh bread and jam.

The samples that we had at the break were wonderful, helped by a brilliant batch of home made Hedgerow Jelly. Modesty prevents me from telling you who made the jelly, but I’m sure you can guess. It was so good we sold out.


I’m not sure about the calorific value of the samples, but while I was watching Gail mix the dough last night I was struck by the thought that I’d never seen so much butter outside a supermarket. The Titanic was sunk by something smaller than that! (It’s not a link to what you may be expecting – click it and see).

It was a great session and good to see so many people there.

Because of timings they can’t do the whole thing in one day so next time they meet (16th April because Easter intervenes) they will be making dough and then taking it home to bake.

Such is the life of a bread teacher.

We also had New College out doing their animal course, and as usual in Spring there was a lot of hugging of animals being disguised as work. Still, you’re only young once and it takes a really hard-hearted curmudgeon to look at a cute newborn lamb and think of food.


Have to go now, my mouth is watering.

Must check how the mint is growing…