I have a passion for sourdough bread, my background is in training but I’ve made bread for more than 20 years, discovering the secrets of sourdough about 10 years ago. I’ve been fortunate being able to combine my passion with my expertise in teaching, to set up a baking school to help other people learn about sourdough bread.
When was South Downs Sourdough established?
The idea for the baking school was initially to provide an activity / experience for guests staying at our B&B – The Brick House Cheriton. During 2018 I realised the demand for learning how to make sourdough was greater than expected, so I set things up as a separate entity, under the name South Downs Sourdough.
What can visitors expect when they visit South Downs Sourdough?
My experience as a trainer has guided me in providing a highly hands-on, practical experience. It’s also a lot of fun, when groups of aspiring bakers all get stuck in together. Mine is a domestic kitchen, but it’s large enough to comfortably hold up to six bakers on a class. I like to answer questions as we go along and bakers produce two sourdough loaves and a sourdough pizza base to take away. They also create their own starter and take away some of my South Downs Sourdough starter too.
Which is your favourite sourdough recipe and why?
I’ve tried many different recipes, some are quite complex, but I try to keep things simple. The wheat flour recipe I use with the class can be very easily adapted to incorporate a variety of ingredients, a favourite has to be Raisin and Rosemary.
What is your favourite thing about running your sourdough courses?
I love meeting all the aspiring bakers who want to learn about sourdough. Many have found material available online quite complex and shrouded in mystery. I attempt to simplify things and provide a reliable process to follow.
It is very satisfying to see people enthused at having learnt new skills and confident they can repeat my process at home.
What measures have you put in place to ensure the safety of your customers and staff?
I’ve followed and adopted all the guidance and regulations that enabled me to reopen in the summer. The most noticeable difference being I’ve reduced the maximum number of bakers to two (unless the class is for a family or household group). This provides for more space to keep socially distant. Additionally, the increased cleaning regime includes use of anti-viral disinfectants, wipes, more frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitiser.