Dough boys from Bread 41 get The Irish Times baking

Eoin Cluskey and Chris McCann lead sourdough workshop for #ITFoodMonth

The smell of freshly baked bread drifted through the newspaper's offices on Thursday as Food Month at The Irish Times kicked off in-house, with a sourdough bread making demonstration for staff members.

Well, not exactly. The absence of an oven prevented any actual baking being done. But master baker Eoin Cluskey from Bread 41, the new organic bakery and cafe on Pearse Street in Dublin 2, came armed with hot-from-the-oven supplies of the six different breads that he and his team of bakers make every day.

In a fascinating 45-minute session, Cluskey demystified the process of making and baking a loaf of real bread, from natural sourdough starter to finished product.

The process of mixing, kneading, proving and shaping a variety of loaves gave participants the knowledge and skills to turn flour, salt and water into something delicious.


“You own that thing; it doesn’t own you,” was Cluskey’s advice when sharing a variety of different methods of kneading and proving the dough. There are lots of ways of getting from the mixing bowl to the oven – find the one that suits you and your lifestyle, he suggests.

Cluskey also passed on instructions on how to care for (meaning not kill), the bakery’s own sourdough starter, a pot of which the would-be bakers got to take home to kickstart their baking journey.

Chris McCann, head chef at the cafe, showed just how easy it is to make butter from scratch, using only organic cream from The Village Dairy in Co Carlow, and a little Oriel Irish sea salt. The fresh butter was then turned into a garlic and parsley flavoured butter, horseradish and rosemary butter – brilliant on steaks he suggests – and a miso butter that was a definite winner with the classroom. For the miso butter, McCann mixes two parts butter to miso paste and resulting flavour bomb would be good anywhere a umami hit is required.

Bread 41 runs monthly Thursday evening baking classes, and the four-hour sessions have proved so popular they are booked out until February. However more classes are being added to the schedule. Bread 41 opens for breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday, with Saturday brunch starting this weekend. See