Eat and Mess
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Every home baker, at one time or another, has bought a bag of strong bread flour and attempted to knead their way to the perfect loaf. If their attempts are as pitiful as mine they’ll have been woefully toasting slices of under-baked, crustless wonders with soggy bottoms. Time to get some professional help.
Eat and Mess is a sister-run baking school in a mews cottage in Crystal Palace, but don’t panic: it’s more Anthropologie-chic than gingham-apron twee. I signed up for their Scandinavian bread class, and spent a Saturday morning kneading until my arm creaked with exhaustion in a sunny conservatory.
Kate Mooney’s recipes and instruction are very much aimed at the home baker – in a good way. She recommends ingredients you can buy in Tesco and substitutes you can make for fussy eaters, as well as using only basic equipment. Which sadly meant I wasn’t allowed to touch her shiny KitchenAid. Mooney’s years of bakery training mean that she’s got a real knack for knowing where you might have been going wrong, and the only downside to the breads was how tortuous my journey home was thanks to the smell of Nordic spelt and wholemeal walnut focaccia rising from my bag of freshly baked goodies. Best to BYO butter for emergency snacking purposes.
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