I grew up with homemade bread and had dabbled over the years with mixed results. Visits to inspiring bakeries and a days training with Aidan Chapman, had me dreaming about opening a bakery.
After 28 years working in mental health and other fields of health and social care, I became more and more aware of the need for purposeful activity in people's lives. I studied this at length and this culminated in 2013, with my gaining a BA (Hons) in Mental Health Practice, focusing on Stress Vulnerability.
A happy set of coincidences led me to have the opportunity to change direction and potentially bring my two areas of interest together.
I took the plunge and set off to become a baker at The School of Artisan Food. A year long Advanced Diploma later and the dream became a reality.
During and after my training I have had some great opportunities and experiences, both with bread and people. This led me to have two goals. The first was to establish a successful micro-bakery, making and selling artisan breads in the village where I live and maybe a couple of villages nearby. The second was to give people the opportunity to experience the joy of making bread.
Knead Good Bread micro-bakery was established in 2014 and I am now producing a wide variety of breads for sale once a week in Woodhouse Eaves, and at last count had notched up over 30,000 loaves.
I now teach bread and baking at Homefield College on a regular basis. The college is for 16-19 year olds with learning difficulties, most of whom are on the autistic spectrum.
In terms of my second goal, I believe that the process of making bread is therapeutic, much healthier than buying bread, fits well with the current focus on mindfulness, can be an effective strategy in balancing stress vulnerability and it is FUN.
Some of my bread experiences so far are:-
- Teaching several groups of people with learning disabilities, including some people without speech, to make bread. The finished results were great and the satisfaction the participants gained was clear for all to see
- Demonstrating and then helping dozens of children and adults to make pizza, dough balls and learn about sourdough starters, using a wood fired oven, at Clumber Park Food Festival in 2014 and 2015
- Helping on short courses at The School of Artisan Food
- Selling artisan breads and Focaccia, with savoury and sweet toppings at various events in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017
- Teaching small groups of individuals on my Breaducation courses. I ran an Introduction to Baking course and a more advanced French and Italian Baking Course. I now teach people and their friends, baking in their own home
- Showing people with mental health issues the joys of making soda bread and dough balls, how to shape and bake bread rolls and bread sticks
- Teaching 16-18 year olds housed by the local authority to make pizza
- Running two six week sessional courses on baking for adults with learning disabilities at their local college.
- Preparing and giving talks on the history of bread and sourdough to a variety of groups
- Running bread sessions at Loughborough Wellbeing Centre for adults with mental health problems
- Running a special session as part of The Edible Forest Food Festival in 2016
- Teaching at The School of Artisan Food
- Giving live demonstrations in the Artisan Theatre Kitchen at RHS Chatsworth 2018
I am keen to share my breaducation, If you have any ideas let me know!