The perfect start to the year…
One of the advantages of running your own business is that you can choose when to take a longer than usual break from work and book in for a fabulous training course with food hero Richard Bertinet, BBC Food Champion of the Year 2010. It was Katie’s idea and after seeing Richard on Great British Bake Off Extra Slice last year, I was convinced that this would be a great investment for Hen Corner. Nestled in the heart of beautiful historic Bath, Richard runs a fabulous range of courses from his cookery school with a structure and style that encourages delegates to return again and again to develop more skills in this wonderful environment.
Five Day Bread Making Course
Katie and I deliberated over which class to choose and, whilst we already felt confident as bakers, decided to go for the full five day training. We were so glad that we did! The structure of each day was breakfast at 10am, with toast, preserves and coffee followed by a long morning of bread making and baking. A quick coffee with a sweet baked treat and prunes soaked in liqueur around noon kept us going until a celebration lunch around 3pm based around the breads that we’d mastered that day. This daily feast, washed down with lots of wine, was also a great opportunity to get to know Richard and our fellow class mates a bit better before carrying bags of bread back to our hotel room ready to revise the class notes in preparation for the next day.
Building on foundations
Day One was an introduction to bread making, demonstrating Richard’s unique methods and emphasising the importance of working the dough, shaping the dough and good baking skills.
Day Two found us making French breads with wonderful baguettes, pain de campagne, filled breads and delicious walnut rolls.
Day Three brought an introduction to Italian breads making ciabatta, focaccia, grissini, pizza and filled breads, mmm…
Day Four we were working with sweet & dark doughs to make wonderful creations. pain viennoise, fruit loaves, wholemeal buns and doughnuts!
Day Five built upon the whole week’s foundations as we mastered slow doughs, sourdoughs, brioche and more baguettes.
It was a wonderful experience, a real privilege to spend the week with Richard, and we are now trying to incorporate all that we learned into both our weekly bakery and our courses throughout the year.
- We’ve been practising our baguettes regularly since returning, selling them to our customers each week
- The GCSE students at Elthorne Park High School really got to grips with cheese making in our recent lessons, their hand stretched mozzarella was fantastic
- We were delighted to enter our cider in the first Lateward Local competition and were thrilled to bring home the first prize trophy!
Jobs for the Week:
- Keep an eye on the hens, they’ve been locked up since early December and can’t free range for at least another month, poor things seem a bit fed up, well I would be…
- The peach tree is now protected but we need to plan for the almond tree, how can we keep the squirrels away?
- Source the best pork and oranges for our Simply Sausages and Toast & Marmalade courses this week
We had a great time making and baking a huge variety of breads at the Bertinet Cookery School, do you have a favourite bake? Have you mastered making it yourself?