The Artisan Bakery School offers a wide range of one-day, weekend and mini-break courses in real bread baking, Viennoiserie, pizza making with a woodfired oven, running a microbakery / micropizzeria business and baking with gluten-free flours. The purpose of this ‘breadsite’ is to share our love for real bread, the art of making it and our passion for helping people learn to bake.
About the School
The School is run by Dragan and Penny at their cottage in the village of Sparkwell, on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. We use organic and more unusual varieties of flour, favouring independent millers. Our special interest is in heritage techniques and heirloom grains, but our courses include something for everyone, from children and beginners to true enthusiasts of any age! We offer family baking days, woodfired pizza parties, baking for busy lifestyles, and mini baking breaks.
Why learn to bake?
On a personal level, The Artisan Bakery School forms part of our response to what we see going on in the world. Globalisation, standardisation, the depletion of the soil and the chemical perversion of foods at every level have resulted in a population whose health is being compromised by what it consumes – in more senses than one. But none of this is inevitable. Increasing numbers of people are striving to shift the balance towards a more enlightened approach, including learning to bake. We all still have a choice.
Why bake real bread?
Real bread only needs three ingredients: organic flour, water and salt: the wild yeast leaven comes from fermenting the flour with water. If you use baker’s yeast instead of natural leaven, then that’s four ingredients. Baking your own bread ensures you avoid all the unnecessary chemicals used in industrial bread. It also makes you happy. Sharing it with family and friends makes you even happier! Baking bread to sell not only gives your local community a healthier alternative but gives you a chance to earn money at home doing something truly rewarding.
Given the times we are living in, we believe that it is not only possible but important for individuals and families to become more self-reliant. Baking is a simple way of doing that.
Sharing a life skill
In our grandparents’ time, learning to cook was as fundamental as learning to swim. Today there are millions of adults whose experience of preparing food is limited to ‘pierce and ping’. They have been robbed of one of life’s richest pleasures. That’s another reason why we love to teach baking, whether to children or their parents and sometimes both at once. It makes us feel we’re passing on something of value to generations to come.