I am wondering what the collective noun is for challah. They seem magical things like dolphins, so i am calling them a pod
I loved baking this challah – seeing them laid out proudly, they seemed to gain extra pride from their number stength . I always like the careful braid from three (or four or five or six) unprepossessing ropes of dough, and then a bread with life and magic glazed with egg (or honey solution) and scattered with poppy seeds.
Not long ago i had a brief, almost throw away conversation, with people at Regather. We were talking about where our food comes from and how important it is to understand what happens before it gets to our plate.
This subject spans a wide spectrum of topics – from GMOs to multinationals to deforestation to imperialism to poverty, war….and more.
One aspect is fostering an experiential approach to understanding food production.
So, children have been seen increasingly at city farms over the past 30 years; our own Heeley City Farm being a great example; and schemes like Food for Life are dedicated to ensuring we widen our collective understanding of food production and can access tasty and healthy food sustainably.
With regard to bread, the growth of sourdough bakeries has both stimulated and been a product of a discussion about and move away from manufactured bread products. Even so it seems there has not been a discussion at the next level of where the grain comes from and how it is processed . And this contrasts with wider discussions about organic vegetables, for example, or ‘food miles’.
Grain to plate experience.
When I learnt Regather might be linking up with Friends Field, some dots started to join in my head.
Friends Field is a social enterprise in the wonderful Moss Volley.
15 acres of land that has had green manure for three years cut three times a year and mulched for worms to do their magic.
So last week i hear they will be a planting winter wheat (i.e it is sown in the winter) in an acre and half of the field; and next year via harrowing, planting, harvesting, threshing , milling, bagging and baking, it may land on a Sheffield plate!
There is still lots to find out and do. Not sure yet if it is hard or soft, red or white …. but we will find out soon as it has to be planted by November 5th.
I love sport. And i love seeing people do great things with it. It is one of the reasons why i wanted to sponsor AFC Unity this season. Their inclusive approach is so encouraging when so much around us seems to shut people out.
At whatever level we play our sport – and by and large mine across a range of sports can be categorised as ‘competent and energetic but without flair’ – we can have times that trigger, years later, emotional memories. These can be ones of joy (or ones of deep regret) but alwasy emotion
I was struck by this when I read AFC Unity’s Rachel Rodgers’ ‘random fact’ – a delightful sporting memory. I imagine she crackles with glee each time she remembers her moment.
Me? My best memory is scoring no points but exhibiting that hard work trait against an international squash player. The phenomenon of being on the court with an athlete at a world class level was breathtaking (literally!)
Good luck to AFC Unity this season. It is a privilege to sponsor this team.
Running from 10 am – 3pm , the first Sunday of every month between November and April next year, in the commercial kitchen at Regather, you learn how to shape bagels, the type of dough mixture you need to get that familiar bagel chew and get to learn tips and tricks to make them come out just right.
No need to bring any equipment, just a spirit of fun and curiosity.
You will take away your clutch of bagels and a specially designed tower of bagel notebook.
Summer baking it was blast
I had some bread, proofing so fast
I made some bagels with sesame seeds
They split their crust like shelling peas
Summer days so hard to bake
Oh oh – from night to daybreak
This is the first change of season in the new bakery. I have been amazed at how the flour is no longer cool but warm to the touch. How the dough is warm coming out the mixer and already feels airy. And with increased demand (cannot knock that!) this variation makes it hard getting the product absolutely right each time.
I imagine that in big manufacturers where they don’t really bake the bread (:>) they have control of the environment: heaters, air conditioners, humidity injectors and hi tech proofing cupboards.
So in my bakery the only tech i have is my own biological feedback system : my brain and my eyes and they don’t work so well some days.
The problem does not come from leaving a single mix longer to proove or shorter, though that is part of it. But more how can further mixes be done in tandem so that the bakery is as efficient as possible?
Whereas before i could do all my mixing and be confident that the first batch would be ready to shape by the time the mixing has stopped, the warmer weather means i have to mix two or maybe three batches then shape; then resume mixing any further batches after this.
It can feel disturbing to change a routine: the routine represents control, long worked for in the early hours, and is also a guarantee of quality – ‘if i do this then this then this, the quality is assured’. But it is also exciting, a new problem to wrestle with, a new challenge and once sorted, renewed confidence that the process can change and the bagels still be as good.
At the end of last year I moved (again) to something that will be the Tower of Bagel home for the next 18 months. Based in Attercliffe, and part of a sparkling little community of business – sewing , ice cream making, fashion photography and pottery – in a CADS-managed building.
Having got 5 on my inspection (hooray!) i could steam full ahead and celebrated by breaking out into cinnamon and raisin.
I have often been asked about this variety and it has been some time coming together.
This followed a trial into gluten free bagels. I had struggled for a year to get this right with the first efforts going in the bin before they got to the oven!
With the new varieties have come new customers – New Roots on Glossop Road take a Friday delivery and every day you can get a filled bagel at the Showroom Cinema Cafe