In 2012, journalist turned baker Elisabeth Mahoney launched the first One Mile Bakery in Cardiff, delivering artisan bread, seasonal soups and delicious preserves by bike within a mile of her domestic kitchen, and teaching inspirational baking classes to more than 2000 people.
Now a new One Mile Bakery floury adventure has begun, with branches opening across the UK with the same ethos: homemade food made with passion for the very best ingredients, delivered to your door. The Exeter One Mile Bakery launched in May with Boudicca Woodland at the helm. She delivers home-baked bread, soups and preserves within a mile of her home in St Thomas every Tuesday evening on her bicycle to local subscribers.
Subscriptions run for a month with four deliveries of 3 months of 12 deliveries. Each week brings something different and this, in turn, offers the OMB subscribers to sample a wide range of artisan breads, seasonal soups of delicious preserves. Boudicca’s deliveries are currently fully booked but she has a waiting list! If you live within one mile it’s a fab way of getting a fresh artisan loaf delivered weekly. What’s not to love?
For those that live a little further away like myself, why not book yourself on one of Boudicca’s Bakery courses? With courses running on a monthly basis there is sure to be a date that fits. I popped along to her Introduction To Baking course. Having never made yeasted bread before I was eager to learn the different methods needed to create my own bread at home. This is what this course focuses on. Giving you the know-how needed to create white, brown and artisan loaves in the comfort of your own kitchen.
The courses run from Boudicca’s home in St Thomas, Exeter. I arrived just before the start time of 9.30am and was received with a smile. Boudicca welcomed me into her home and introduced me to Lorna, the other eager student. Boudicca’s kitchen is small so you are guaranteed almost one to one tuition throughout the day. I would say that no more than 3 or 4 people could do the Introduction to Baking course at any one time due to spacing. Boudicca has transformed a ‘lean to’ next to her kitchen into her bakery and cookery school. A stainless steel workstation at the centre with space to work around and a rather large speciality bread oven in the corner keeping us all toasty! All equipment is provided right down to a rather snazzy One Mile Bakery apron!
After introductions, a brief chat about the course expectations and a cup of tea we headed to the bakery. Aprons adorned we got straight down to business. The first loaf being a white farmhouse. With just 4 ingredients it’s amazing what you can create. Shipton Mill flour, salt, dried yeast and water get mixed together to create a dough. After a good 10 minutes of kneading it was back into the bowl to prove.
Whilst this was happening it was on to loaf two. The second to add to our repertoire was wholemeal. The same ingredients but this time using Grown In Totnes flour. A slightly different texture to create a more dense loaf with the roughness of the wholemeal flour. The same process of kneading and proving was required so we took a little break for tea and coffee. Boudicca toasted up some of her home-baked bread and served alongside two of her homemade jams. A loose blueberry and a thicker set plum. Both delicious and the perfect mid-morning pick-me-up alongside a cuppa.
After our break we got on with the second proves of the farmhouse white and wholemeal before starting on our third loaf, a Pain De Campagne which is a French style country loaf. This loaf uses a mix of strong white and rye flours. Using a similar method as before we set this loaf to prove.
Before we sat down for our 3-course lunch we got the first loaves in the oven so they could bake whilst we took our break. Boudicca served a homemade lentil and vegetable soup, followed by a mini tart filled with yellow courgettes and goats cheese then followed it up with a Devonshire split served with whipped cream and a soft set strawberry jam. Of course, there was more bread to have alongside. One thing I can safely say is you won’t go hungry on one of Boudicca’s One Mile Bakery courses!!
With lunch coming to a conclusion the first loaves came out of the oven. Lorna and I were so excited to see our efforts cooling on the rack. What a sense of achievement there is to see something you have created from scratch. Loaf two followed shortly after. Again more excitement! Loaf number 3 made its way into the oven which gave us a little bit of time to whip up some Madeleines. As if we hadn’t learnt enough already! Not that I was complaining. I have always wanted to learn how to make Madeleines. Now I know how easy and quick they are I will be popping out to get a Madeleine baking tray.
With loaf number 3 cooling we nibbled on Madeleines over a final cup of tea. We talked over our day and spoke of the highlights of which there were many. I can’t tell you how much fun the day was. We laughed and chatted our way throughout. Boudicca was a fabulous host and completely natural with her teaching. This Introduction To Baking course is far from pretentious and stuffy. It’s a laid-back affair which felt like I was hanging out with my friends doing something fun. The learning part felt secondary at times. I felt like I had made two new friends in Lorna and Boudicca which was a great feeling indeed.
The Introduction To Baking course is normally £125 for the day but at the moment One Mile Bakery has a special offer making the course fee £99. There is also an offer on gift vouchers making the ideal gift for birthdays or dare I say it, Christmas! It’s coming guys!
Disclaimer: I was asked by One Mile Bakery to take part in the Introduction To Baking course. I wasn’t paid for this post and all views are my own as always.
Photo Credit: Angel Wade