When I became a mother, I had lots of ideals in life about parenthood, including wanting to improve my sewing so I could make great fancy dress costumes, or baking lots of lovely cakes for school fairs and birthday parties. These ideals, skills, time-consuming lovely ideas, are not always possible.
But baking isn’t just fairy cakes and traybakes; to me, it consists of two parts – sweets such cakes and desserts and the savouries such as bread. The former I have come to terms that I can buy exactly what I need, ready made and of great quality, from the supermarkets or independents when needed, the latter is something I appreciate in it’s homemade form much more, and a skill I have enjoyed learning over time. It actually takes very little time to knock up something truly delicious.
Baking bread has technique, but has simple, minimal ingredients – 4 ingredients in a loaf of bread made at home, but well over a dozen ingredients in supermarket bread plus preservatives and so on.
Like anything, practice makes perfect and there is always more to learn so, although I have a good knowledge of bread making, I was delighted to be invited to try a Half Day Taster Class at One Mile Bakery, Exeter (worth £50). It was even more of a draw for me, as the course is deemed suitable for children aged 8 years and over – so my son was invited along with me too, which would normally cost an additional £10 which I think is a fantastic price.
He has already been exposed to lots of cooking at home, but like anything when teaching kids, they tend to listen to others better than their parents so I thought this was a great opportunity for him to get even more enthused and involved with food.
What is One Mile Bakery?
In 2012, journalist turned baker Elisabeth Mahoney launched the first One Mile Bakery in Cardiff, delivering artisan bread, seasonal soups and preserves by bike within a mile of her domestic kitchen, and teaching inspirational baking classes to more than 2000 people.
Now she’s working with incredible home bakers on a floury One Mile Bakery adventure: new OMB branches have opened in Cardiff, Exeter, Hale, and Pontardawe all offering delicious deliveries and fantastic baking classes hosted at home. Elisabeth will be launching her new One Mile Bakery in Somerset this summer. Each One Mile Bakery brings amazing food by bike to subscribers in its community and runs its own unique classes in addition to the core OMB range of brilliant baking days.
The Exeter franchise is in St Thomas and is run by Bouddica Woodland who was lucky enough to have food brought to life for her at a very young age. Having moved to Exeter from London 10 years ago, and working in the arts sector, she wanted to pursue a passion she could fit around her family – and One Mile Bakery was the perfect foodie fit. She gets to work from home and deliver her baked goods on her electric bike within one mile of her oven.
Before the day of your course, you’ll receive an email informing you where Boudicca lives, what to wear and detail re nearby parking. Sadly due to the permit parking area she lives in there is no immediate on street parking but parking two minutes walk away for approx £4 (cash or card) and Boudicca is clear about this in the email.
We were going to learn to make scones, pizza and a tear and share bread. Part of the ethos of One Mile Bakery is using local ingredients – so a local flour was used for all our baking and toppings for the pizza were bought from Shillingford Organics at the Exeter Market.
Throughout the morning we made our pizza and bread dough and patiently waited for them to prove. Boudicca talked us through everything as we went along, explained why we used the certain ingredients and how to know when your dough was the right texture.
When the time came to top our pizzas, we were given a selection of vegetarian toppings, including olives, artichoke, tomatoes, wet garlic, cheddar and mozzarella of course. Once cooked in the lovely big oven, we enjoyed some of our pizza for lunch along with a few oils and fresh basil for extra toppings!
We then cut our bread dough it into eight pieces, and shaped them and topped them with all sorts of seeds and nuts. Then it was onto the scone mix, which we could choose to keep plain or add cheese.
Plenty of teas and fresh coffee were on offer throughout the 4 hour session, and cookbooks to flick through during the breaks on her sofa. Boudicca is a mother of two, with one of her children being the same age as my son – so it was great to know she was not surprised by his chatterbox and flighty nature – she laughed at his nuances and kept him on track throughout.
We left with all the items we made, as well as an OMB branded dough scraper and printed recipe notes so you can try again at home. Kyle had a really good time, and it was so nice to share an experience like this with him.
It was a real delight to have met Boudicca and experience one of her classes. Bear in mind this is someone’s home; it is not a cookery school with lots of space and modern interiors, BUT it is in a really comfortable home environment, with very small classes where you can have all of Boudicca’s attention throughout. It’s like learning to bake with a friend, and that for some may be less daunting than a large, formal cookery school. Boudicca has a wonderful warm personality, with a joyful laugh and is ready and waiting to welcome you into the warm bread oven bosom of her home.
Other classes available include Introduction to Sourdough, Italian Baking, French Baking and Breads of the World.
*As a special offer for Dining Devon readers, you can save 10% off a class when using the code bake10 (code is valid to the end June).*
One Mile Bakery Exeter
The places in the class experienced in this review were gratis. Views expressed are independent of the business and is not seen or approved before publication.