Of course my Mum did most of the food, but she put me in charge of breads and as she was going to do a buffet table, we thought the Festive Christmas Bread would make a nice centre piece.
But Mum had invited quite a few friends, so more bread was required and I decided to try my hand at épis, which is French for ear as in the ear of grains like wheat. They are very decorative and quite easy to do and my Mum would be pleased as she likes crunchy crust on bread. Plus I quite fancied the idea of being able to tear, rather than slice the breads.
The tricky bit was the festive bread of course, but I managed to work out a a schedule to slot in the different steps of the two breads and managed to get everything done on the day of the party.
For the épis, I used Mr Bertinet's trusty basic recipe for white bread, double amount. This resulted in 5 good sized baguettes, which is what épis are. But rather than slash them prior to baking, grab a clean pair of scissors and snip the dough along the length of the baguette, but not all the way through. And with each cut, move the cut piece alternatively to the right and left. That's it.
I also now know that my Mum's oven bakes very unevenly, even though it's fan assisted. Hopefully I'll remember that for the next time. I managed to burn one of the épis and also a couple of the petals of the festive bread. Still they all went as Mum had made a selection of lovely dips.
Despite my intentions for the guests to tear pieces of bread, none of them dared to start on the festive bread and I got the honour of pulling away the first piece. At the end of the party, the festive bread looked like it had been attacked by a lawn mower.