March 3, 2016
Stories from unique creative talents
Quodo caught up with one of our star teachers – Liz W. (Quodo Profile) – on her love of artisan breads, how she made the leap to becoming a full-time micro-baker, and the joy of opening a new sack of Shipton Mill flour!
Liz has been recognised as one of the leading micro-bakers in the UK, winning medals at the Tiptree World Bread Awards, and has recently being nominated for a Buy British Food award for her creations.
Quodo: Hi Liz, so how did you get into baking?
Liz: It’s been a journey. A wonderful one. A couple of years ago I was at a crossroads in my life and decided to take a micro bakery course. I had always baked, mainly cakes, and had dabbled in making bread. But having the opportunity to try making all sorts of breads…whites, ryes, crackers, seeded, sodas, was amazing. As well as meeting other likeminded people and talking endlessly about bread was fantastic. From that moment on every spare moment was spent kneading or proving or baking or poring over recipes and foodie websites. And since then it just grown and grown – I now offer classes to teach people how to bake their own delicious breads at home, and deliver small-batch artisan breads to people in my local area of Fulham.
Q: What is it about baking that you love?
L: I love the look of flour, the way it can sit in a mountain. I love the feeling of opening a new sack of Shipton Mill flour. I love the grassy smell of rye. I just love the simplicity of bread. The physicality of kneading four ingredients until it becomes soft, smooth and warm under your hands. Knowing that this process has been done for millennia. Returning to a dough and seeing it puffed and pillow like. Shaping a loaf and feeling the tension and tightness form. Watching the oven spring, crust form, slash widen. And the wondrous fragrance of baking bread. Taking it from the oven and feeling success, and smiling.
Q: Wow, now that’s a description! What did you do before baking full time? How did you make the leap?
L: I had a previous career as a primary school teacher, which I enjoyed very much. But my love of bread had taken hold of me! And in July last year, I bid farewell to the school and have been ‘doing bread’ full-time since.
Q: Who is your baking hero?
L: Jane Mason is my bread hero. She is the founder of Virtuous Bread who wants to change the world through bread. She bakes and teaches in addition to speaking and writing about bread. And she taught me!
Q: If you could bake for one person who would it be? And why?
L: The person (people) I would want to bake for are children. It is so lovely to see a child make a real bread loaf and then look at their delight when eating it. It’s brilliant! Bread is such a smile-making food.
Q: What’s your best top tip for baking enthusiasts?
L: Use shower caps over your bowl when proving your dough. Easier, quicker and much simpler than cling film or damp tea towels!
Liz offers an introduction to bread class (£75, various dates) for complete beginners from her beautiful Fulham home kitchen, as well as a fantastic Italian breads class (£75, various dates) for people who want to learn the difference between their ciabatta and focaccia!
July 8, 2015