Bread Making @ Creative Coffee Morning

Mmmmm, it’s divine!
In my mouth, there was a large chunk of focaccia with olive. What was so special about this focaccia? Because…. (an imaginary drum roll please), I baked it myself!! How about that! Last Wednesday morning, Kate, aka “Madam Bentley”, invited me to Creative Coffee Morning in Balham and we learnt how to bake bread together.

We met up at the station at 9:30 and walked to Sophy’s place in which the workshop was to be held. It was a beautiful morning – the weather was behaving impeccably since the previous weekend, birds were chirping cheerfully and the air was sweetened with blossoming shrubs and trees. It would have been just perfect if I weren’t a total wreck, physically though. I joined an ice hockey practice the night before. After two years of staying away from skating and puck-handling resulted in my body aching all over, especially my thighs and arms…

At Sophy’s, we were greeted by Sophy and Aminta’s, our organisers / teachers and two other pupils. Aminta handed us aprons and poured us mugs of coffee which was greatly appreciated…


While we sipped the cups, they explained that we were to bake focaccia and hot cross bun.
We studied a list of ingredients and carefully adding them up in the glass bowl…


To the flour mixture, an egg and tepid milk were added. Then, kneading commenced on the well-floured surface…


At first, the dough was very sticky. It clung to our fingers like glue. Aminta demonstrated how to knead and we emulated it the best we could. Then, the stickiness gradually disappeared as we kept on working on the dough with more flour on the surface. Aminta smeared the surface of the bowl with butter, explaining how important not to forget to spread butter up to the rim of the bowl, ‘The dough can’t rise to full if the dough sticks to the side of the bowl’. While the bowl was covered with a tea towel and put aside, we had another cups of coffee with a slice of cake. I was still knackered from the last night’s strenuous activities, if Sophy didn’t keep on offering me a fresh cup of coffee, I might have been nodding off on the spot…


By the way, Kate dropped her sunglasses while we were measuring the flour! It proved that we couldn’t be too cool when we were baking bread…


Another round of kneading started after an hour of resting the dough. I never knew that bread making was so physical! The dough became bouncy and tough to roll out so I had to rest my body weight on my wrist in order to stretch it out over the surface.
Kate was doing likewise, next to me…


After the dough was expanded, it was folded in to half. This process was repeated for considerable duration until my hands got really tired…


Then, each dough we were kneading was cut into 6 pieces, rolled out, shaped into balls and arranged on the baking tray. Aminta placed a kitchen towel over them again so they could rest for another half hour…


Then, we worked on focaccia, the same process minus adding dry fruits…


The dough was rolled out and indentations were made, using a wooden spoon handle…


Into the indentations were olives. And then, the surface of the dough was smeared with olive oil and sprinkled with rock salt and rosemary…


By the time we had finished preparing the focaccia, the hot cross buns were ready to be given the finishing touch. Beaten egg was glossed over the balls…


In the meantime, Kate was mixing flour, water and sugar…


The light-brown mixture was placed into a piping bag and each ball was x-marked, gently pressed with a backside of table knife. Then, we decorated our would-be hot cross buns by carefully squeezing out the flour & sugar mixture and tracing over the dents on the dough. Once all of them were decorated, they were placed in the oven. How exciting…


Voilà, the real piping hot cross buns straight out of the oven!!


Quickly, they were transferred to a wire rack and glossed over with the syrup made of sugar and water so they would stay glossy and moist…


Don’t they look divine?


Then, my focaccias came out of the oven too…


My lovely plump beauties!!


As soon as we were out on the street, Kate & I gobbled down a hot cross bun and it tasted so heavenly.
That evening, Hubbie came home much earlier than usual and we devoured all hot cross buns with tea. ‘It’s soooo delicious!’, he exclaimed. Honestly, it tasted miles better than any hot cross bun produced commercially. It was a real eye-opener for both of us. Comes this Easter, we are going to bake our own hot cross buns from scratch. While Hubbie is doing all the kneading, all I have to do will be supervising him. What a winning formula (for me)…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

15 thoughts on “Bread Making @ Creative Coffee Morning

  1. They look fabulous!!! Homemade bread does taste scrumptious, don’t they? Well done! I’m sure your arms had another good workout kneading the flour after your hockey session! 🙂

  2. I do hope you really enjoyed your bread making experience. My father is 81 years old and likes to make a loaf (not in a machine) every fortnight. I usually do some yeast cooking a couple of times a month – at the moment I’m having a cinnamon brioche craze!

    • I really really enjoyed my first bread-making lesson! The breads were so delicious and I was very glad that I did it!!
      Your father bakes every fortnight? My mom used to do it but with a machine. Even though I loved the hot buns straight out of the oven, I am not sure if I can face kneading every other day. It may sounds rather pathetic but I had a muscle ache in my hands next day and found it difficult to squeeze toothpaste out of the tube! Cinnamon brioche? Mmmmm…, sounds great!! 🙂

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