You know how it is when it comes to Christmas presents for your parents. Well for me it’s always tough to chose something that I could possibly give them and they would enjoy. So this year my sister and I thought we would go that little extra to show Mum and Dad how much we love them and how much we are grateful for all they do for us and our families.. Dad’s gift will be blogged in mid march when it’s happened.
But this post is all about my gift to Mum.
I have recently got into some home baking and I know my Mum always has had a love for it, so what better than a cookery / baking course. I looked at various options, most seemed very over priced for what they were.
But an article in the North Devon journal for a small artisan bakery in North Devon really caught my interest.
The Red Dog Bakery is based in Black Torrington and is run by Sally and Roger. From the minute I spoke to Sally on the phone to arrange booking Mum in on a course I knew she would love it. In fact, I wasn’t originally going to go with her, but just speaking to Sally made me book a place on the course too and I am so glad I did.. Not only do Sally and Roger teach bread making classes but they also attend a lot of the local food markets selling their amazing breads with Roger working 16 hour days prior to market day baking the bread fresh.
So the day of the course came and it was time for a day out with my Mum. Something I haven’t done for years and I was looking forward to it..
The course started at 9.30am and there was just 4 of us on it (that’s the maximum number), I won’t go into too much detail of what we were taught as I am still getting me head around it but also I strongly suggest you book up as soon as possible and experience the Red Dog Bakery for yourself.
The majority of the morning was spent preparing our doughs for proving. We were to be making 5 different breads from 4 different mixes. The pizza and Grissini are made from the same dough!
Now I have done some bread making myself using a few books the wife has and I thought I knew enough, but just listening to Roger talk so passionately about making bread, made me realise I knew nothing.
There was little tricks and tips he taught us that really made the whole bread making process an enjoyable experience and I think the biggest eye opener for me was the amount of rubbish that went into making a processed loaf, the list of additives is huge and scary. So it’s easy to see why Roger and Sally campaign for real bread, made with decent flour, water and yeast, plus a little salt.
So with our doughs made and proving it was time for lunch, which was included in the price of the course. And what an amazing spread it was.
After lunch it was time to get baking. Again Roger taught us lots of little tricks and tips to help the bread cook better.
By the end of the afternoon we had all baked the following breads… (these are my efforts!!) Which we got to keep and take home.
Pane Di Como
Olive and Tomato Focaccia
Mozzarella, Olive, Tomato and basil pizza
Grissini (there should have been 6 but the kids ate them before I could photograph them.)
For me the day was amazing on two levels. Firstly I got to spend a day with my Mum and give her a christmas present she can continue to enjoy for years to come and secondly Roger and Sally made us feel so welcome and taught us so much about bread and how to bake a better loaf. Mum and I did the italian bread course and already I am keen to head back and attend the french bread and even possibly the sour dough course. But whatever happens I strongly recommend anyone with an interest in bread and baking a better loaf, attend any of the courses Sally and Roger have on offer. Or if baking isn’t your thing then at least head over to one of the numerous markets they attend and grab a loaf of 5 of what they have to offer. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.
Once again I can’t thank Sally and Roger from the Red Dog Bakery enough for a brilliant day. Thank you.
If you want to check out what Sally and Roger’s amazing site follow this link here – http://www.reddogbakery.co.uk/