I spent a day with my son last weekend learning to bake sourdough bread with Joe Fitzmaurice of RiotRye Bakery in Cloughjordan. I know his family for years (having been a customer a long time ago of Blazing Salads when it was in Powerscourt) and got to know him over the last 4 or 5 years as he reestablished his business in Irelands most famous eco-village. He is also a founding member of Real Bread Ireland.
The course was 7 hours long and it flew. Over the course of the day we made 6 loaves each – 2 each of wheat, rye and spelt sourdoughs. The wheat needs the most loving so we started on that and worked it each 30 minutes until it was ready for the oven.
The other two we mixed and prepared straight away :-)
I am mostly going to tell this story with the photos I took – keeping in mind that for most of the day your hands are covered in dough/flour so there is no way to take your phone out and snap!
There is also a video towards the end where Joe explains more about his (slightly famous in bread baking circles) wood fired brick oven.
Strongly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn and enjoy bread.
We start in a working bakery with 8 places prepared
Locally grown biodynamic rye. Joe talks about this a lot during the course.
This is some of that rye sprouting,
A small hand mill for preparing tiny amounts of flour
At scale Joe uses organic flours from Shipton Mill in the UK. Has bought directly from them since he started.
When you are working with a deep oven you need mechanical help!
Courses don’t run themselves and Julie, Joe’s partner, is around for a lot of the day helping him.
For participants who prepared their own starters (fermented flour) Joe gave feedback on each of them.
A free coating of flour goes with the day
Joe spends time both explaining the essence of bread and also sharing his views on food and people. Its great :-)
Take local timber, burn it and this is what you get.
This is the end result, in this case a white wheat sourdough
A full basket of tasty real breads was ours to take home
thanks to Joe and Julie for the day. Much enjoyed, much learned. More here and book a course for yourself online.