The upside: Learn to bake bread properly, from a true baking expert.
The downside: Class sizes are small and sell out quickly so plan ahead.
The flipside: Rhiannon is super organised and a fantastic teacher!
Working in local government Rhiannon Abbot was in need of a new direction and ten years down the line, she made her move. Friends loved her baking and convinced her that she should create a new career in the kitchen. Attending a course at Four Gables Academy run by culinary local hero David Gilliat gave her the motivation to take it further. After attending Jane Mason’s Virtuous Bread course Rhiannon emerged as a fully fledged bread angel providing bread to local people within her community. Joining twitter to promote her new business and a setting up a stall at an Enterprise Market is Epsom I started to follow her. I was intrigued by the bread angel concept and went to Epsom find out more.
After meeting Rhiannon at the market I arranged to go and interview her in action at her home in Epsom. We chatted as she effortlessly made a perfect white loaf of bread. Three years down the line and a new addition to the family, Rhiannon no longer bakes for the community but has taken her training one step further to teach bread making. This she feels fits in better with her home life.
Sitting in on one of Rhiannon’s bread courses just before Christmas I got to see first hand how this talented baker has grown and developed her craft. Held in a youth centre in Epsom I arrived to find a perfectly set up room. As soon as the session started it was clear this was going to be an informal and relaxed day. It was really carefully structured too, keeping the information flow engaging and production on target.
On this introduction to bread making course , you will make five types of bread and go home with a large bag of freshly baked treats that you have made yourself. Rhiannon demonstrated each step and explained why certain rules apply. Add the water to the yeast when it’s too hot and you kill its potential, knead in a certain way to stretch and work the gluten and carefully select your ingredients.
First up was a classic white flour bread dough which formed the introduction to the skills of bread making and set the scene. Leaving this to rise the group made sourdough rolls using a ferment or biga (sourdough starter) that had been made in advance. Once made these were left to rise and baked became lunch served with some cheese and cured meats. Simple and delicious.
Next up was a soda bread which uses baking soda not yeast for the rise hence its name which was enriched with seeds and buttermilk. An effective loaf that tastes gorgeous eaten just cooled from the oven and which does not need to rise prior to baking.
Knocking back the dough made earlier after a rise it was formed into rolls and a small loaf. While these were placed for a second rise the final bread of the day was made. An olive oil infused focaccia with fresh rosemary.
For a five hour course, it was amazing how quickly the time passed. Summing up the course we agreed that we had enjoyed, great company, expert tuition and gained a new skill set.
If you want to learn how to make bread from an expert it’s a brilliant way to spend a day.
For more information on courses and costs follow the link below.