Real Bread Buddies Day activities can be anything from a pizza-making session, to teaching children how to make flatbreads, to a breadmaking event like those held at Summerhill Community Centre.
The first ever Real Bread Buddies Day is on Sunday 27 February. The Real Bread Campaign is encouraging people to mark the culmination of Real Bread Week (19 – 27 February) by getting together with friends, colleagues and loved ones to bake delicious Real Bread – and we’d like to give away some Solidarity Bags of our genetically diverse, organic, wholemeal flour to help make that happen.
Apply for a bag of flour here by 18 February to receive it in time for your event. If you miss that deadline but are planning future Real Bread making events, you can apply at any time: if we have bags in stock we will be happy to provide one, completely free of charge.
The Real Bread Campaign says: “From making a family recipe flatbread with a relative at home; holding a bread club with handful of neighbours; running a bakealong in a nursery, school or care home; to running an affordable and culturally-appropriate everyday bread class for beginners, Real Bread Buddies Day is about baking connections with people within and beyond your family and wider community.
“Everyone is encouraged to post photos of themselves making Real Bread with others, and with the bread they have made together, tagged #RealBreadBuddiesDay.”
We’ve put together the following baking timeline to help you plan your event, and there are plenty of additional tips among our Flour to the People resources. Whether you base your event on this outline or do something completely different, we would love to hear about it!
The following timeline is based on the fantastic Doughlicious bread-making workshops, which take two hours. Many thanks to Doughlicious baker Liz Grieve for sharing her workshop tips with us.
Before the event
- Ask guests to bring a bowl with them to mix in, with a cover so they can take their dough home.
- Make your production sourdough (i.e. refresh the starter) before your event – the night or morning before, depending on what time you’re meeting and what temperature you’re fermenting it at.
A production sourdough is also known as a levain. It is starter + fresh flour + water, left to ferment in a warm place for 4 hours or a cool place for 12 hours.
- Weigh out the flour and salt for each guest. Liz prepares bags of flour + salt for each person.
On the day
- Each attendee will measure out water and production sourdough, mix their dough and prepare it for its final overnight prove.
The dough could be used to make a loaf, rolls, focaccia or pizza bases. Most sourdough breadmaking recipes (this one, for example) require just gentle kneading, or some simple stretch-and-folds (like this pizza dough recipe). Liz’s sessions usually take in three sets of stretch-and-folds, then group members do a final stretch-and-fold at home before leaving the dough in a cool kitchen overnight.
- Use waiting time in between folds or while the dough rises to discuss different aspects of breadmaking.
You don’t need extensive breadmaking knowledge to run an event! Liz suggests watching YouTube clips of breadmaking techniques together: she recommends Elaine Foodbod, Full Proof Baking’s clip on managing a starter, and Bake with Jack.
The Doughlicious group uses this time to discuss the recipe, talk about hydration and how to add steam to an oven during baking (Liz likes using a Dutch oven). She will explain the breadmaking process, including what they will do once they’ve left the event to finish off their loaf. They also talk about the flour they are using – where it comes from and the benefits of organic, traditional grains. You could discuss the concept of ‘landrace’ grains, for example, and the importance of biodiversity within a crop (find out more about these topics here).
- Guests will then take their dough home with instructions for how to finish and bake the loaf – for example do a final stretch-and-fold, prove in a cool place overnight then bake the following day.
- Don’t forget to share photos of your event and baking with us and the Real Bread Campaign!
Does anyone need extra starter to take home for another bake? Maybe you can refresh extra to allow this.
You could even use any waiting time to watch Zev Robinson’s fantastic documentary Real Bread Bakers with a cup of tea (at 28 minutes long, it’s the ideal length). It features Scotland The Bread and a number of inspirational Scottish bakers looking at how breadmaking, sourdough, local food, nutrition and a sense of community are all closely intertwined.
You don’t need special kit to get involved. Liz’s group discusses baking kit alternatives: for example, if you don’t have a banneton you can use a loaf tin, round bowl or colander lined with a floured tea-towel.