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Bakerie Bread & Wine Bar really is the upper crust

GREAT British Bake-off, eat your heart out. Bakerie by name, bakery by nature – since setting up shop in 2011, the Northern Quarter’s award-winning bread and wine bar has been knocking out top-notch loaves on a daily basis, both to eat in and to take away.

And co-owner and resident baker (and great-grandson of the baker to the King of England, no less) David Cook has been showing students at his monthly classes how to make their own.

Held in Bakerie’s basement, the basic bread-making course (£60pp) is ideal if you’ve never tried baking before or only have a vague knowledge – so we thought we’d give it a bash. 

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David Cook

David clearly knows his stuff, and his enthusiastic approach to explaining the history and theory of baking was inspiring and (despite our reservations) not at all boring. He introduced us to the basic ingredients, what they do and how they work – ratio is really important, as is the correct hydration of the dough. Temperature is crucial in bread-making, and even how warm or cool your hands are can enormously influence the final result.

The rudiments out the way, it was time to get those hands dirty. In a bowl, we mixed a simple white dough from flour, yeast, water and salt; David showing us how to combine the ingredients correctly. Then we learnt how to knead in various ways, finally shaping our dough into a boule or ball. This was left to prove for about 30 minutes, before the top was slashed and floured, and the loaf was put in the oven, free form (without a tin).

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We made another batch of the same dough, but this time the “old-fashioned way” – without a bowl and just by making a well in the flour mix and gradually adding the warm water to that. This dough was flattened out before being left to prove for a while, then we added olive oil, salt and rosemary to make it into a focaccia, dressing it with olives and slices of onion, before popping in the oven.

Last up, David told us about enriched dough and how the introduction of milk, eggs and butter will affect your bread, making it more cake-like. We ended up with a traditional Panettone sweet loaf… just delicious.

Running from 12-6pm, it was a long day but totally worth it. All in all the class was extremely fun, and really interesting – I can’t wait to go to another – the intermediate level has my name on it!

Book your place on an upcoming class here. 

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