So…… way back in December Becksie went with her lovely friend Sara to Denman College – the most amazing WI college! Now this trip was fabulous and whilst we were there we made several decisions that for Becksie have been extremely exciting! Firstly as Faringdon’s WI group meet in the afternoon and we have small people to look after we have…….. set up another group that meets in the evening! This has been so much fun so far and Becksie has met some truly lovely ladies. We have called ourselves the Folly Dollies and we meet the second Wednesday of each month so……. if you are a lady and local to Faringdon please come and join us! The second thing we did on that most excellent day was to book ourselves on to a baking course at Denman College (Becksie booked it and went back and told Ian she had indeed purchased her birthday present from him)!
Now when we booked it February 17th 2013 seemed a long old way away but…… as time flies these days (isn’t it funny how time speeds up the older one gets?!) today was the day!
So Becksie set the alarm nice and early, Lizzie was woken up for her morning feed and then Becksie left daddy day care in charge and went off to meet Sara at the lovely Denman College! On arrival they were greeted with a lovely drink (Becksie had a hot chocolate) and the NICEST shortbread biscuit in the world – it literally melted in the mouth! At 9.30 on the dot we were called through to the kitchens and our day began! First on the list Walnut and Raisin bread! The teacher (Teresa Coen) was amazing and gave us lots of hints and tips to make the perfect loaf!
Off we went and made our dough! All the ingredients were nicely weighed out and it felt like we were TV chefs (Auntie Leah would LOVE it). Whilst our bread was proving we were shown how to make Red Velvet cupcakes! AMAZING!!
Then it was cakes in and a baked cheese cake demo (AMAZING WITH KNOBS ON). Then a cupcake frosting and piping demo whist the cakes cooled then we were let loose to decorate our cakes whilst our bread cooked! A wonderfully fab amazing day! If you ever get the chance to go you really should it is amazing (and……. if you are a lady reader Becksie can highly recommend checking out your local WI group it really is a fab organisation)!
So if your thinking this all sounds great but how do I have a go at home well……. Never fear we shall try to share our new found knowledge over the coming weeks. But for starters here is the yummy (truly yummy) walnut and raisin bread.
Oh and one more thing………… the only downside of the day was that the cookery school is sponsored by a supermarket (along with a few other companies)! Oh well we paid the WI not the supermarket so we don’t think we’ve broken any rules and anyway our rules state we can eat supermarket food at other people’s houses so……….. we are covered! Phew!
And now the recipe (recipe credited to The WI cookery school, ingredients as taught, method with a twist of Becksieness):
Raisin & Walnut Bread
150 grams (5oz) spelt flour
150 grams (5oz) plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
1 slightly rounded teaspoon of salt
200ml (7 fl.oz) hand hot water
1 slightly rounded teaspoon easy–blend dried yeast
1 tbsp. walnut oil
1 tsp. brown sugar
100grams (3 1/2oz) walnut pieces
50 grams (2 oz) raisins
Method (with a bit of Becksieness):
Take a large bowl! Weigh out all of your ingredients, place in cute ramekins and on a tray (this has been some what of a cookery revelation to Becksie since starting this blog, now normally Becksie does this in a haphazard style but after today’s experience she vows to use little dishes and place on a tray hehe).
Combine the two types of flours avec un fork, add the yeast and the salt – give it a mix up. In a jug dissolve the sugar in the water and add the walnut oil. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour in the water / oil / sugar mix.
Mix until you have a fairly sticky dough (the bowl should be clean). Turn out onto a floured surface and knead, knead, knead (for approximately 8 minutes).
Roll out the dough and put the raisins in the middle then roll the dough up swiss roll style, then……. Knead again.
Roll out the dough and do the same with the walnuts. Knead again!
Flour a heavy bottomed baking tray (our teacher said it’s well worth investing in one as the lighter ones warp effecting ones bread). Flouring the tray as opposed to greasing it is a great tip Becksie picked up!!
Shape the loaf as desired and place on the floured tray! Loosely cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for approximately 1 ¼ hours.
Pre heat the oven to 200c.
After 1 ¼ hrs remove the cling film. Put some cuts across the top of the bread. Sprinkle with flour (another fab tip to make your bread look uber professional ) and bake for 25mins!
Remove from the oven and tap the bottom – if it sounds hollow its ready. If not put back in for a few minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.
Allow to cool and eat!
Thank you WI cookery school (i’ll be back)!
PS – if you are one of Becksie’s friends or family and are ever stuck for a gift for her………………