Yesterday I went on a brilliant day course about using a traditional bread oven. The oven in the old priory where the course was held can cook 40 loaves in one go!
It also included bread making and was extremely interesting for me to see how many different grains can be used in making bread. Examples of the grains were there and I now feel quite confident that I could identify them if presented with a sample in the future.
The guy also explained the difference between the types of wheat crop and that only one had enough gluten to make good bread - blé dur, hard wheat or winter wheat. Then he went on to explain the numbering system on the bags of wheat flour, something that had been puzzling me since our arrival here. We then ground some of own flour and seived it out to our desired 'number', then made our own bread. Even this was a revelation for me as I have always added butter/oil and milk but neither were on our ingredients list, plus I have always kneaded my bread for ages with my knuckles. Yet this man (a master baker) said that it wasn't necessary, just to use the palms of our hands to 'press' it firmly but gently and only for 5 mins or so until it's springy. Superfast, uncomplicated bread and easy to incorporate into our daily lives.
Now I'm hoping that Ben will build us a bread oven this summer as it's also good for pizzas.