Friday, 3 July 2015

Basket alert

This week the Heron Corn Mill team were "On the Road" to Kirkby Lonsdale, showing people what the mill is all about, and honouring the "tramping" movement of former times.

Kirkby is a lovely place, full of old and interesting things, and road names like "Jingling Lane" and "Swine Market". Despite being decidedly upmarket, it still has room for a couple of charity shops, where the canny buyer could find Mark Haddon's 2nd and 3rd novels (after the Curious Incident etc) for a pound each. I settled for a Lebanese cookery book, satisfyingly published at "Grub Street".

The community centre where we were based was very nicely equipped, and had good baking facilities, and a supermarket on hand for any last minute ingredients.

In the afternoon we had a really interesting talk about old buildings, including Heron Corn Mill, and how they should be "read" and cared for.

Lunches were prepared on site during the morning, and mostly consumed during a very busy rush hour round noon. The good burghers of Kirkby are people of fixed habits.

The rolls were weighed to within a gram of their lives -

And then left to rise under the customary tea towel.

As well as the kitchen, the venue had a large room for refreshments. This is where the talk happened after lunch. Beyond this was a second reception room, where the bread samples, banner display, hand milling and flour sales happened.

Our good friends the "Dinner Lady Gentlemen" did sterling work rounding up passers by and getting them to come in and have a look. Once past the front door, the smell of fresh bread was enough to guide everyone towards the kitchen.

We got through quite a lot of baking during the day, what with lunch rolls and various breads. I was really in the groove, and produced one loaf's worth more dough than was strictly required, so it ended up as the "play dough" for the public to have a go with. I was very glad to see that it had been knocked back by someone when it threatened to flow over the top of the bowl. Meanwhile my spelt in the kitchen really did go over the top, and was a right royal mess on the way into the oven, although as usual it sorted itself out and came out looking none the worse for its little adventure.

I am a bit of a sucker for a bowl of dough with a sob story to tell. So the play dough came home with me and stayed in the fridge till Friday. That's 4 days! But today I had a mission for it.

Home Bargains are currently offering two small bread baskets for 99p. You see where this is going. I bought a couple to see if they would work as proving baskets as well as serving baskets to go on the table. The playdough came out of the fridge today and went into the baskets, well floured. A few hours later it went in the oven, turning out of the basket with no problems, and the result was 2 small loaves of an unbelievably springy bread, full to bursting with flavour, and a complete joy to eat. See for yourself -

I think the moral is, it doesn't have to be expensive to make proper bread, but it really does have to be fun.