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James Street South Cookery School: Artisan breads

James Street South Cookery School: Artisan breads

There is nothing like bread–making to take the stress out of the daily grind and our bread class at the cookery school is one of the most popular on the schedule. Customers always talk about the nature of daily bread–baking being a dying art but we are lucky to be able to sustain the making of bread and also share the pleasure of a wonderful array of flavours with our customers. Our apprentices here in the restaurant learn to make bread and understand the process, which is a task they have all taken to well.

At the restaurant we serve our bread with the best butter in the north – hand churned from Alison and Will Abernethy in Dromore. The Abernethys are truly dedicated to their craft and their butter makes our bread taste even better. If you have not tasted this butter, buy some at Arcadia or Sawers delicatessens in Belfast and you’ll appreciate why it’s award winning.

GUINNESS WHEATEN

600g wholemeal all–purpose flour

150g white all–purpose flour

75g oatmeal

1 ½ teaspoons of bread soda

2 ½ tablespoons brown sugar

40g unsalted butter

480 ml milk

200 ml treacle

½ pint draught Guinness

Preheat the oven to 170C. Place all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the dry ingredients until it resembles fine breadcrumbs – I recommend working quickly as the mixture can easily become greasy if over mixed, or if it is mixed using hands that are too warm. Add the milk, black treacle and the Guinness. Mix to create a wet dough.

Lightly grease individual 200g tins with butter. Add the wet dough and bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes or until the bread is well risen and cooked through. Leave for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Eat while slightly warm if you like. Delicious with salty butter and Irish smoked salmon, cold meats or cheeses.

CHAMP BREAD

1kg strong white flour

30g yeast

240g mashed potato

280g natural yoghurt

140g milk

180g water

40g salt

2 bunches of spring onions, chopped

Mix the flour, potato and yeast. Add the slightly warmed milk, water, and the yoghurt. Once combined in mixer, add salt and spring onions and mix on a medium speed for 10 minutes. Once combined, allow to prove in a covered bowl (until it doubles in size), and then divide mixture into individual 200g tins. Prove once more and then bake at 200C for half an hour and cooked through. At this time of year, this bread goes really well with a delicious homemade summer vegetable soup.

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D.O.B