I have discovered three big things about myself during the global pandemic.
1) That I love to play drums
2) that the LWS Writers’ Hour is an absolutely magical place where creativity and friendships blossom – it’s international and free folks!
3) that much joy is to be had getting out of bed early on a Thursday morning to bake bread with Julie the Bread Witch
Julie runs community baking projects and luckily for us, during lockdown she began running baking sessions on Zoom. She guides folk through an easy bread recipe, chatting away as she kneads her dough, answering questions and occasionally, if we are lucky, singing us a song.
Kneading dough in the early morning seems to open the mind to conversations about all kinds of things and some of the topics of chat between 7.30am and 8am have been – lost ferrets, wooden soled shoes for a particular type of traditional dancing, the benefits to our gums of teeth pulling, and how to celebrate the summer solstice.
My favourite of all our conversations so far was hearing about Julie’s expeditions to discover ancient wells in the countryside near where she lives. I just love the fact that there is a drinking cup for pilgrims hidden away somewhere in Nottinghamshire. Check this out!
Glorious! As I write this, some dough is rising and at 9.30am we will gather back together to punch our dough down, shape it and pop it in our loaf tins. Who knows what we’ll chat about while we do it?!
A couple of weeks ago I made some of Vincent’s Herb Bread during the Eat Bake Sing session and I was so busy chatting that I forgot I planned to make half the recipe. The loaves were HUMUNGOUS! Massive! At first I shaped two freeform loaves on one baking tray
But I realised they were going to puff up BIG so scooped one off and transferred it to another baking tray and that was the right decision.
So if you are going to be making a full batch of Vincent’s recipe beware! I would recommend halving it – you would still have two hearty loaves. There are some strange ingredients in this bread dough – a chicken stock cube?! Powdered ginger?! But it makes a really tasty loaf, lovely toasted and you can use whatever herbs you have in your garden, or knocking around in your fridge.
This recipe will included in the Supper With The Stars book – click here for news about the publication date.