A couple of weeks ago I was able to attend the Greek Escapes cooking class, one of Valerie’s culinary classes. We learned how to make hummus, babaganoush, tzatziki, roasted red pepper salad, and olive oil flatbread.
Unfortunately I only snapped a few pictures because well, I was too busy learning how to cook. For that reason, I wasn’t going to do a post on this so I didn’t take anymore pictures when I was done cooking either. I was just going to wait for Valerie’s post so I could comment on how great the class was, but when I heard that Valerie’s pictures didn’t turn out and she wasn’t able to do a post either, I felt really bad. So my dear friend, this post is for you. I hope my flatbread makes you proud.
When we arrived at 8:30 in the morning, Valerie had already laid out this beautiful spread for us. Talk about treating your guests and customers right.
The cooking stations were all ready to go as well. Unfortunately, this was the last picture I got for that cooking lesson. There were 6 of us and believe me, we were all busy, busy, busy (in a good way of course).
Originally I wanted to take the class to learn how to make her amazing red pepper salad. I first got a taste of it at Valerie’s taste tripping party (if I remember correctly). Those were the best red peppers I had ever tasted, so I knew this class was my chance to learn.
As I mentioned above, we made hummus, tzatziki, babaganoush, red pepper salad, and flatbread. I had never even heard of babaganoush until that day, but my first taste blew me away. I absolutely loved it! Even though it’s a dip, I ate it by the spoonfuls when I got home – so good! Although everything tasted fantastic, I’d have to say that the star of the lesson for me was the flatbread.
I wished I had gotten a better picture of it, but when I got home my little savages tore right into it. Ok so did I, but can you blame me? Look at this beauty. Well, what’s left of it in this picture anyways.
That wonderful perfectly baked to a golden brown top, sprinkled with fresh rosemary and coarse salt fluffiness had me dreaming of bread making all week. I was in love, in love with the taste of this glorious bread and in love with bread making; and when you’re in love, you chase the object of your affection. Am I right foodies? 😉
Those smiles right there are the reason why I’m learning to bake.
Valerie is a Richard Bertinet fan, so the technique she taught us to knead our dough was the same technique she learned from Mr. Bertinet himself. For all you bread making lovers (yes Denise and Biren, I’m talking to you) here’s a link to a video of this unique technique. (Thank you for emailing me that link,Valerie.)
After learning this technique and tasting that wonderful olive oil flatbread, I fell in love with bread making. Valerie not only taught me the technique, but she installed baking confidence in me. Confidence that lead me to make my very first bread on my own (bread that involves kneading, that is). If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that baking and I aren’t very good friends, so for me to actually feel confident in baking is pretty huge.
This dough was so soft and smooth (yes, kinda like a baby’s bum bum), it blew me away.
Salting the bread before putting it into the oven. You’ll notice I chose to leave out the rosemary as my kiddies were not big fans of it. I highly recommend it though.
Such a classic baking picture isn’t it?
The bread is finally done. Putting one last layer of olive oil on it. Mmm…olive oil.
It didn’t look as pretty without the rosemary though. Valerie, I hope I’ve made you proud with this bread. Thank you for the wonderful cooking lessons, I will never forget them. I’m sorry your pictures didn’t turn out. Hopefully this will at least put a smile on your face and a warm feeling in your heart 😀
The next day, kiddies had this for a snack (one piece each). I don’t think I will ever buy a bread making machine, kneading is just too fun. Why let the machine have all the fun, right?
So tell me, do you have a favorite bread recipe? Feel free to add links to your comments. Until next time friends and family. Happy bread making 😀
Olive Oil Flatbread (recipe from the Greek Escapes class)
- 18 ounces, 475g, 3 3/4 to 3 7/8 cups white bread flour
- 2 tablespoons, 30g semolina
- 1/2 ounce fresh, 1/3 ounce dry, 1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons really good fine grain salt (sea salt)
- 5 tablespoons EVOO
- 11 1/2 ounces, just over 12 fl oz, 350g water
- 4 tablespoons EVOO or more
- few sprigs of rosemary
- good quality coarse salt
- Preheat oven to 500 F.
- Mix flour and semolina; rub the yeast with finger tips.
- Add salt, EVOO, and water all at once into the bowl.
- Mix ingredients until they come together in the bowl and mix for a few minutes more.
- Turn the dough out onto a very, very lightly floured surface and work the dough until it is ready to proof.
- Rest dough in an oiled bowl for one hour covered with a lint free cloth in a warm place.
- Use rounded end of the scraper and turn dough out on an oiled tray.
- Drizzle oil over the dough; use fingers to push and prod the dough to spread it from the centre toward the edges of the tray trying NOT to stretch or pull it.
- Cover with lint free dish towel and rest warm and draft free for 45 minutes.
- Prod the dough again, dimpling it with your fingers, and rest for 30 minutes more.
- Take rosemary needles and push them gently in evenly over the dough.
- Sprinkle dough with coarse salt and immediately put it in preheated oven.
- Turn heat down to 425 F for 25 to 30 minutes until light golden brown.
- Cook on wire rack and brush with EVOO while still hot.