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During the past week I have revealed both on Facebook and Instagram a few teasers from a sourdough bread workshop I attended in Brussels. In all honesty, I’m not the best baker when it comes to bread and was initially a bit worried as to the final outcome, but it was such a great experience that I simply had to share it with you!

The workshop is one of the many foodie events organized in Brussels through Bookalokal. Our host and teacher for the day was Arianna, a lovely Italian lady I had the pleasure to meet through Brussels Food Friends. Aside from sourdough bread, she also makes the notoriously delicious Un altro colore jams with seasonal, organic fruits that we also got to try in between our bread-making session. 

We all gathered at Arianna’s place on a sunny Sunday afternoon. After a cup of tea and a few slices of homemade Greek tsoureki we kicked things off by mastering the final stage of bread making, i.e. the actual baking in the oven, using a burnt wheat (“grano arso” in Italian) loaf that Arianna had kindly prepared for us. And then, it was action time! We put on our aprons, chose the flour of our liking, got a piece of sourdough and gathered around the table to start baking. I was fascinated by how creative, fun but also time-consuming the whole process is – carefully scaling the ingredients, mixing, whisking, kneading, shaping, letting it rest and then some more kneading and letting it rise again. Making sourdough bread, my friends, is a serious affair. Mastering the process is one thing but you also need to keep your sourdough starter alive and healthy by feeding it and making sure it’s warm – it’s a living thing after all!

In between our baking intervals and all the tips and tricks of bread making we got to try Arianna’s chocolate and raisins sourdough bread topped with hazelnut and white chocolate spread (heavenly!) as well as some of her jams. After a few good hours of baking together we had exchanged foodie tips, talked about our upcoming holidays and promised to meet again for a non-baking adventure this time! By the end of the workshop, our sourdough loaves were almost ready to bake and we were feeling happy and very proud of ourselves.

All in all, a great Sunday afternoon full of delicious food, great people and a new baby, i.e. my sourdough! If you are a Brussels-based bread lover or aspiring baker, make sure to check out Arianna’s workshops and subscribe for the sourdough bread one – I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did. 

*UPDATE Dec 16: Unfortunately, Bookalokal has stopped operating in Brussels.*

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Sandy (@smarksthespots)