When it comes to bread, I think you need to spend time learning how to make it with someone who has a real feel for it, working the dough in front of them – you can’t just read up on it. Vanessa Kimbell is completely steeped in her subject. Her parents had a house in France where, as a child, she would get up before dawn to visit the bakery nearby and watch the bread being made; she sees sourdough as a way of life. Hers is the one cookery course I really wanted to do, and I would go back. I love people who have a real expertise in their field, and Vanessa is very approachable, so you can ask anything. If you bring your sourdough loaf with you, she will intuit any flaws and suggest improvements. If this all sounds quite geeky, it is, though there are classes for complete beginners, as well as for more experienced bakers. You get fantastic aftercare, too: you can text or email Vanessa for sourdough support (sending her pictures of your bread, even the state of your starter). She wants to help you through it and make you into a keen sourdough baker. Plus you get a starter, a scraper and a proving basket to take away with you.
Beginners’ sourdough weekend:£495
Intermediate sourdough weekend:£495
Private sourdough tuition (3 days): £695
Sourdough Diploma (5 days): £1,295
- Sourdough bread