River Festival

It’s a bit of a knackering and nerve-wracking time for an old chap like myself. The book arrived back from the printers on Thursday and it looks great – but that doesn’t stop it being scary. Plus this weekend was the Gwyl Afon Ogwen River Festival organised by Pam and Jeremy, official artists in residence to Bethesdabakin’ and related events.

I agreed to do two sourdough bread demonstrations at Bethesda Rugby Club one after the other on Saturday morning. It takes a lot of planning and organising to do the whole of the sourdough cycle in the 50 minutes that a loaf is baking.

First session I had about 20 participants. I was sure I had every bit of kit from the essentials to the gear you bring just for examples of what can be useful. I confidently launched into my presentation which started with a fully proved dough in a banneton being slashed and baked. Five minutes in I was starting to get into my stride. I was beginning to make an act out of not being able to find the things I needed. I set out to demonstrate mixing dough. Where’s my mixing bowl? Ha, ha – it must be here somewhere. No it wasn’t. The one thing I had forgotten to bring was a bloody mixing bowl!

I had a washing up bowl full of water on the bench for hand-washing which was quickly pressed into service but there’s nothing like making things difficult for yourself.

Anyway it was an opportunity to wheel out my party piece – the six kilo loaf
It’s still a little scary when the dough is touching the rack supports on either side and you don’t know if you are going to need a fireman’s axe to get it out two hours later.

But it always cheers me up when I remember Tom Herbert in the British Baker announcing that Hobbs House bakery were going to be launching a 5K loaf for event centre pieces and that it would be the biggest loaf produced in the UK probably in the world …



6 thoughts on “River Festival

  1. Well we’ve produced our first two loaves following Saturday’s demo! The rise wasn’t exactly even, the slashes didn’t open up much, and the crust is very……crusty…..perhaps even EXTREMELY crusty, but there isn’t much left! Also have a pizza dough supposedly languishing in the fridge, but it seems to be making repeated attempts to escape. Perhaps the oven and fridge are both too warm?

  2. Hilary – it’s good for your teeth! Just keep experimenting.
    As for the pizza dough – how about a larger container?
    Very pleased to hear you’re baking. I’ve had a few messages from people who went home and did exactly that.

  3. There were some 10k loaves at our local Farmers Market today which certainly attract your attention. I believe they were from Astons Bakery. He was selling it sliced as beef sandwiches though I bought a chunk of the bread and it was certainly very good.

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