mercredi, décembre 02, 2009

Making Bread at Il Piccolo Mugnaio

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

After school, with the help of a few mothers, we ferried Baby Girl's class to Il Piccolo Mugnaio for a breadmaking cum birthday party. The owner Maria knows me quite well by now, I have become quite a regular customer in the past year.

You would have thought that the kids would be tired after a day at school (plus there was P.E. today) but no, the minute they arrived they climbed up the hill behind the agriturismo. Then we gathered them for a brief lesson on how we obtain flour from wheat, using water from the mountains to move the mill and therefore the machines that would grind the grains. Ground wheat is not white in colour and has to be sifted for the flour.

Then the children settled in the kitchen where Maria showed them how to mix the ingredients to make bread. Bread here is the pane comune that the Modenese eat - tough on the outside and soft on the inside. Doesn't look very exciting, but is very easy to make, almost foolproof. And homemade is of course always better.

Freshly baked bread

Pane comune modenese :

1 Kg Flour
1 cube Beer Yeast
1 Tsp Salt
500ml Water (room temperature - lukewarm)

Add the salt in the flour and yeast in the water. Never add salt to the yeast. Put both together and mix till you get a dough that can be kneaded.

Pick out a portion of the dough to be formed into bread. Knead till smooth and shape it.

Preheat oven to 180°C and bake for 30 minutes.

The children kneaded their own bread and while it was baking, Maria brought out freshly baked bread that she has made and served everyone bread with mortadella, cured ham and home-made jam. Then she brought out a Nutella Tart that served as Baby Girl's birthday cake.

The kids got to bring their bread home to share with their families.

The children's bread before being baked

The children definitely have to be at least 6 if not 7 years to do this class. Some of the children were going crazy and started running in the kitchen. I felt bad for Maria, she must think that we are a bunch of monkeys.

But I think both the mothers who remained and the children had a good time. It had been a lovely afternoon and we enjoyed the fresh country air. The children ate really well too and Baby Girl was happy to be with her friends and to have received so many presents. Now I have to start thinking of what I could do when it's Baby Boy's birthday.

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