Ciabatta Bread


Crusty ciabatta loaves fresh from the oven

When was the last time you licked the plate clean?

In a previous post on sticky toffee cupcakes, I talked about dishes that look ‘too good to eat’. Today it’s the turn of another favourite food expression. While ‘finger licking good’ is a phrase that is sadly slightly tainted (for me anyway) by its association with greasy fast food and a certain white bearded colonel, the idea that something can be so delicious that it makes you want to lick the plate (as well as your fingers) clean is not. It’s appealing and enduring. And something that we all do. Continue reading

An Introduction to Bread Making with Richard Bertinet


There are few things more delicious than the smell of freshly baked bread

‘Hold the bread close to your nose and breathe in deeply. What can you smell?’

My mum and I are standing amidst an assortment of aspiring bakers in the cosy kitchens of Richard Bertinet’s eponymous cookery school in Bath. Any grumbles about leaving London at crack of dawn have long been suppressed by rounds of toasted Bertinet bread and butter on arrival, and we’re bright- eyed and ready to learn. Having undergone a set of AA-style round-the-room introductions – ‘my name’s Kate and I’m a baking addict . . .’ – we’re now ready to address the task at hand. Bread.

We all clutch a piece close to our noses and breathe in. There’s a slightly sweet smell, the unmistakeable tang of vinegar, and vague undertones of…

‘Armpit. Your bread smells like a sweaty armpit’. Continue reading

Fougasse two ways: September Fresh from the Oven challenge


Fougasse – plain & with semi-dried tomatoes

Baking bread is something that scares a lot of people. The chemistry and craft involved in each stage of weighing, kneading, proving and baking can seem like a daunting task, so it’s important to approach the process with some background knowledge, and even a guide to hold your hand. When I first embarked on the mission of making my own bread, my helping hand existed in the form of the River Cottage Bread Handbook.

I’ve sung its praises countless times on this blog; from simple wholemeal loaves to home made croissants, this lovely little book will guide you through the world of baking in a simple, straightforward way. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’m also a massive fan of Guardian columnist and baking guru Dan Lepard; I’m yet to make a recipe of his which hasn’t turned out wonderfully. But there’s one more person I’d like to add to this list, completing a holy trinity of baking brilliance – award winning chef, baker and all round good guy, Richard Bertinet. Continue reading