We were at an antiques fair admiring a collection of very beautiful carved wooden breadboards when my friend mused, this would look beautiful with freshly baked bread on it, apparently it’s quite easy to make your own sourdough bread. My murmured reply went, yes it is just takes preparation, starting wild yeast in advance, she continued, I really must get on and get round to making some.
Living in the middle of nowhere with an AGA pumping out the heat I was determined to use it productively bread making. In those days bread making was an esoteric lost skill and workshops hardly existed, so I taught myself from books without pictures, Elizabeth David was inspirational. Luckily for me, my mother in law, a brilliant baker was generous with lots of handy hints. And yes my bread was delicious, as my confidence increased it was incredibly satisfying making and selling bread raising funds for playgroup. Later with an adventurous friend we shared the drama of cultivating our own wild yeast culture. Though I cracked bread making, how much would I have given to share the learning experience with like minded novices.
It’s that time of year for plotting learning new skills that will gently ease me out of my cosy comfort zone. After the conversation with my friend maybe the time’s right to go on a bread making adventure with her? The next question is where? Looking around what’s on offer on the internet I am really taken by the ethos at Juniper Rose Kitchen Garden School run by Vanessa Kimbell. This capable, can do lady knows what she’s doing, she’s baked bread in bakeries, been a chef and uses some of her incredible exuberant energy running a pop up bakery and cookery school from home. Seems like a great alternative to a spa day with the girls.