Mark and I have spent a terrific day at Shipton Mill, learning to bake excellent bread with Clive, their master baker. Whilst I wouldn't describe either of us as total novices, it was clear from the start that neither of us really understood the whys and wherefores of the process. Thanks to Clive's clear explanations, we were soon producing the silkiest of doughs and within a couple of hours we had a small collection of loaves. That's my crusty cottage loaf up there in the photograph - isn't it gorgeous?
After a tour of the mill and a delicious lunch - yes, with yummy bread baked by Clive this morning - we made an enriched dough for Chelsea buns (did Mark's eyes light up to hear those magic words?!) and a sweet pastry for piecrust.
We left bearing a tray full of goodies: a cottage loaf, a herby soda bread, pittas, a white plait, a dozen Chelseas and a half pound of sweet shortcrust pastry.
Oh, and a bag containing some of Clive's 14-year old "mother" (sourdough starter, for us to keep alive by feeding and using to bake our own delicious sourdough bread)
What a generous chap.
What delightful people, so ready and willing to share their pride in the products they produce and their love of good, home made bread.
What a lovely day!