BREAD BAKING AT PHILLEIGH WAY
I had heard great things about the courses offered at Philleigh Way, but had not yet booked to go on one. When the opportunity arose to learn the basics of bread making I jumped at the chance. I love to eat good bread but have never really invested the time and energy into making it. I don’t think I am the only one who views bread-making as something they probably can’t do successfully without the help of a bread maker.
I jumped in the car bright and early on Saturday morning, and hopped across to the Roseland via the King Harry Ferry. Tucked away down a well-signposted farm track next to the Roseland Inn pub, the school is located in a beautiful converted barn.
We were welcomed by chef George Pascoe, who runs the cookery school with his brother-in-law James, and host Lindsey Thomas. On walking through the door, we were offered coffee and freshly-baked croissants with homemade jam which we enjoyed while perched up on stools at a large communal table, perfectly positioned overlooking the demo kitchen.
George talked us through the day’s schedule, and explained what we would be learning to make that day. It sounded like an awful lot in six hours but we were all ready for the challenge.
We were given an overview of the baking processes, and George demonstrated how to make dough for a simple white loaf which we could also use to make bread rolls. Little tips such as the type of yeast to use, flour to look for, and ideas for additional ingredients to use were all really helpful.
George explained things so clearly and calmly, I think everyone in the room felt that they had the knowledge and confidence to give the recipes a go. We soon headed over to the other end of the room to our own well-equipped work stations situated around the outside walls of the barn, and overlooking the gardens. Before we knew it, we had our first batch of dough made.
The demos and practical, hands-on sessions continued throughout the day – I was thrilled to make my own foccacia, something I never thought I’d have the skill to do, but in fact it can be simple when you know how, and looks so impressive which is a bonus! A sourdough loaf using the cookery school’s starter, and a soda bread soon made it into the oven too.
Towards the end of the day we enjoyed a late lunch while our last couple of loaves were baking. George had shown us how to make naan breads, so we had these with a warming lamb curry, a selection of delicious salads, and lightly smoked mackerel fillets. The meal was a feast of flavours, colour and texture, accompanied by a glass of wine, for those who wanted it.
I left for home feeling tired but clutching a selection of achievable and well-tested recipes, and car-full of baked goodies. some of which were scoffed the moment I walked through the door. The very next day I made a batch of naan breads to enjoy with a homemade curry. It was great to put my newly-developed skills to the test, and know that I can now use this to create great things in my kitchen at home.
The day was a perfect mix of demonstrations and hands-on practical sessions. The pace was just right, and if you needed support at any point throughout the day, there was plenty on offer, from both George and Lindsey.
Philleigh Way takes group bookings, but they are such a welcoming team no one should feel worried about attending a course on their own. For those who like bread, and have done the beginner’s course, or are experienced bakers already, there is an intermediate course where you can learn to make some more technical breads.
Other full-day courses include Cornwall in a Day which covers all the essentials including pasty making, clotted cream, saffron buns and scones, butchery, foraging and bushcraft courses. For those who love fish – the first shellfish course starts in June, and there are also some great taster sessions launching which are two hours long. This is a great opportunity to improve your skills in fish filleting, making filled pastas, or hot smoking at home.
Disclosure: Charlotte was invited to attend the course as a guest of Philleigh Way Cookery School. The one-day beginner’s bread making course is priced at £110.
Photography: All square images taken by Charlotte on the day. Rectangular images by David Griffen, supplied by Philleigh Way.
For further information about the courses on offer please contact:
Philleigh Way Cookery School, Court Farm, Philleigh, Truro, Cornwall, TR2 5NB.
| Tel: 01872 580893 | www.philleighway.co.uk