The White Cottage Bakery's Tuscan Baking Retreat May 2024
Saturday, 4th May 2024 to Friday, 10th May 2024
Tuscany in Spring. The leaves will be in full shoot, the last of the wild asparagus will be popping out around the olive trees, and there might be fresh broad beans in the vegetable garden. Join us for 5 days (6 nights) of baking in the ancient castle kitchen at Potentino. Using seasonal ingredients from the surrounding hillsides and local antichi (heritage) grains, together we will bake the traditional regional breads of Italy.
Working with a variety of different grains, from the ultra-fine flour of grano tenero, to the hard durum wheat from the south of Italy, we will bake breads, savoury biscotti and a variety of sweet pasticceria favourites. And of course, we have to make fresh pasta!
Your week will include:
Making regional breads, such as Pane Toscano, schiacciata, Pane Pugliese, tarallini, ciamballe and rondelle using a traditional biga, and locally grown antichi grains.
A visit to a nearby water-mill, still producing stoneground flour for the local area.
Making cantuccini and biscotti with a visiting local artisan.
Making pasta in the castle kitchen with fresh Potentino eggs and olive oil.
Wine, salumi and olive oil tasting from the estate and local region.
Making pecorino and ricotta with the cheesemakers whose sheep graze on the local hillside.
Foraging for wild herbs and salads.
Mid-week visit (and swimming possible) to the hot springs and a day of sightseeing and relaxation.
Spring is a wonderful time at Potentino, when the valley begins to shrug off its winter colours and everything is vibrant green and the dawn chorus is particularly loud- the nightingales may even have arrived from Africa. Come and join us at this special time, learn traditional Italian baking techniques and share with us nature’s glorious bounty.
Helen Underwood is anaward-winningartisan baker specialising in sourdough.
Helen founded White Cottage Bakery in 2013 to put into practice her belief that delicious and wholesome bread should be accessible to all. She believes passionately that absolutely everybody can make great bread—and now spends her time running workshops that aim to help bread-lovers to do just that.
Whether you're a complete beginner or a real bread buff, Helen's expertise and enthusiasm will help you along the way on your very own bread journey. Each student will leave their workshop with the skills they need to produce their own beautiful bread to share at home.
Day 1 (Saturday)
Guests arrive pm
Early evening Welcome drinks
Wine tasting with Charlotte
Day 2 (Sunday)
Morning: Talk on Italian grains, flour and the importance and
tradition of bread within Italy.
Make schiacciata, Tuscan-style focaccia, to be baked for lunch later in week.
Make ricciarelli dough and refrigerate.
Afternoon: Visit grounds to pick grapes for grape must.
Make pane Toscano loaves to refrigerate and bake on
Make grape must, ready to make starter on day 3.
Day 3 (Monday)
Morning Feed grape must, to begin Potentino starter.
Bake pane Toscano from fridge to eat for lunch.
Make pane Pugliese and ‘pucce’, incorporating the semolina from grano duro.
Talk on ancient grains, their place in history, their resurgence today
and their advantages over their modern-day counterparts.
Lunch: featuring pane Toscano, salumi, roasted vegetables & Potentino olive oil.
Afternoon Visit to Hot Springs/waterfalls/explore grounds
Early evening Make tarallini for aperitivi
Day 4 (Tuesday) RECREATION DAY
Morning Bake pane Pugliese
Make pecorino and fresh ricotta with Francesca and Lorenzo from Caseificio Murceti.
Lunch: featuring pane Pugliese with Caseificio Murceti local cheeses
Afternoon Visit to Castel del Piano
Early pm Make Charlotte’s gnudi with fresh ricotta
Day 5 (Wednesday)
Morning Talk on sourdough, ‘lievito madre’: its tradition
dating back to Roman times and beyond, its maintenance and its health benefits within the modern diet.
Make sourdough loaves, using our own starter, and flour from local grains.
Bake schiacciata (from fridge) for lunch.
Afternoon Bake mini rondelle all’uva, using our grapes and
Potentino grappa – a perfect accompaniment to our evening aperitivi!
Bake cantuccini con mandorle e finochio.
Day 6 (Thursday)
Morning Bake our sourdough loaves that have proved for 24 hours.
Honey tasting/olive oil tasting or olive picking
Afternoon Pasta session.
Make and shape fresh pasta to enjoy for our final
Make castagnaccio with locally milled chestnut flour
Day 7 (Friday)
Please note: Whilst the retreat will
broadly follow the order outlined here, the programme may change in either detail or order during the week.
If you would like to pay a deposit
The payment system asks for payment in full. If you would rather pay a non-refundable 25% deposit at the time of booking, please enter the code DEPOSIT25 at checkout. The final payment will be due one month before the start of the course.
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