The best thing about blogging is getting to discover cool food businesses that I perhaps would have never otherwise heard of.
When I received an email about the One Mile Bakery, I was very intrigued indeed.
Introducing The One Mile Bakery
Set up by ex-Guardian food journo Elisabeth Mahoney, One Mile Bakery is a successful bakery business started in Cardiff. They bake and deliver – by bicycle – freshly baked goods to customers who live within a one-mile radius.
“Bread by Bike,” how cool is that?
But they don’t just deliver the goods, oh no.
They also offer bakery classes – hosted in the bakery itself… Which is actually the home of the baker 👩🍳🥐👍
One Mile Bakery, Hale
It’s been such a success that the concept is now a franchise. They now have a branch a little closer to home in Hale, Cheshire. The baker in Hale is Matt. Every Wednesday he does the rounds, delivering his freshly baked sourdoughs, farmhouse loaves, French country bread and more. Each week, his lucky customers receive two loaves, a homemade soup and a jam – all lovingly homemade by Matt.
It is just the most wonderful concept, isn’t it?
Matt also hosts baking classes and I was lucky enough to be invited to try one. I went on his “Introduction to Baking Bread” course where you learn to make three different loaves from scratch.
It is absolutely hands on – you do everything just with some great guidance from the expert baker. The course covers three loaves – a white farmhouse, a French Pain de Campagne and a wholemeal loaf. Matt encourages you to add your own flair to each – with an array of delicious ‘extra’ ingredients available to add to the loaves; poppy, chia seeds or sunflower seeds, olives and sun-dried tomatoes, dried fruits or chopped nuts. You can even add grated cheese or pieces of pancetta to really pimp things up when you bake them again in the creative comfort of your own kitchen!
And that’s precisely the point. I can’t wait to bake bread again now. And I feel absolutely confident that I will be able to do it. And do it well.
Baking at home
Matt’s approach is so relaxed that he encourages a dialogue whilst baking, covering key hints and tips – like not adding more flour when you think the mixture is too wet!
It was literally like baking at my friends’ house. Relaxed, comfortable, informative and friendly.
The course is priced at £125 – but you don’t just learn to bake bread for that price. The day runs from 10:30 AM – 3:30 PM. After your first bit of hands-on action, there’s a break for tea and toast.
Matt served up thick slices of his own made Pain de Campagne with raisins and sultanas – with lashings of butter, a homemade rhubarb conserve and a lovely pot of tea (or coffee if you prefer). As we sat in his dining room I felt utterly relaxed and at home.
Then, it’s back to business. And after more learning, talking and preparing the next loaves we took a break for lunch.
A two-course lunch of dreams, with wine
My, oh my, this was a treat. A two-course lunch, with wine. How fabulous!
Homemade leek and potato soup followed by a feast of Lebanese salads, halloumi cheese with lemon rind and a huge bowl of homemade hummus. I was quite literally in heaven as that’s exactly the sort of food I imagine they serve there.
The price of the course also includes a stunning One Mile Bakery branded dough scraper. An essential baker’s tool which makes the entire process so, much, easier!
Then, the last part of the day – shaping our proved doughs into their baskets and scoring the surface to encourage an even bake.
Matt (an ex-Primary teacher) got his teacher hat on and used the blackboard painted wall in his kitchen to show us the different ways we could score our doughs. Taking inspiration from the baking cookbooks on Matt’s kitchen shelf, I opted for long harsh slits down two of the loaves, then a more creative tree effect on the third.
The smell in that kitchen – honestly, it was divine. When the loaves came out and were cooling, we sat in the living room and Matt recommended his favourite books for baking. A great touch with was very helpful indeed.
Get Your Bake On
I could write more about this wonderful experience – but, I must say you should go and experience it for yourself.
There are other courses available – a French baking class that involves croissants sounds amazing, I can almost smell the kitchen now! They also have Breads of the World, Italian Baking, Introduction to Sourdough and more.
I have been to a fair few cookery classes in my time but this one was, by far, the best. The tips I have picked up on, the newfound confidence, the way it has made me appreciate homemade baking so much more. I don’t want to buy or eat a mass-produced loaf of sliced bread ever again!
To treat yourself and get yourself booked onto a course; www.onemilebakery.com/classes
Some more pictures of the day spent baking with Matt:
My bread in action at home: