IT’S said that bread is the staff of life and most of us would probably eat some every day, whether it be breakfast toast or a lunchtime sandwich.
Yet, with more people apparently suffering from wheat intolerance, bread can be off limits for some.
Which is why the School of Artisan School at Welbeck has launched a new one-day introductory course on wheat-free bread baking.
I joined the first course, led by tutor Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, who has written an award-winning book called simply How To Make Bread.
Of the six of us, it appeared I was the only one who hadn’t made bread before, which was a bit intimidating.
But Emmanuel, originally from South Africa, made it easy enough to follow even for a beginner like me.
We were each given a booklet containing five different bread recipes.
Most of the ingredients had already been weighed out for us and Emmanuel demonstrated each part of the process, explaining the different kinds of flour and the science behind bread baking as he did so.
It was fascinating stuff and the hands-on part was fairly easy, thanks to Emmanuel’s watchful assistants David Carter, of Stainsby, and Andy Innes, of Whitwell.
I would bake all the time at home if I had them producing endless clean bowls and making sure all the ingredients were miraculously to hand.
Emmanuel said: “Wheat-free is getting very popular because more people seem to find they get bloated with ordinary bread.”
“It’s a completely different kind of bread and it’s easy enough to do.”
He has 26 years of bread-baking experience and his courses attract home bakers as well as people looking to start up their own businesses.
He said: “People want to know what ingredients are going into food, and baking your own bread is really fulfilling for the time and effort that goes into making it.”
“Kids love getting involved as well and it’s good for them to see how bread is produced.”
One of my fellow students, the appropriately named Niki Baker, is creative director of the Sheffield Food Festival.
She said: “I feel like we’ve been nurtured as carefully as the dough. It’s been a great mix of the scientific understanding of what we’ve been doing, and the practical side of it.”
Jennifer Spencer, chief executive of tourism body Experience Notts, said it was the first course she had been on at the Artisan School.
She said: “I’ve really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.”
The only male student was Ian Fitzpatrick, of York, who works for the Sustain charity promoting better food and farming, which coordinates the Real Bread Campaign.
He said: “It’s a fantastic course. I think there is a move away from wheat and from processed bread and I would recommend people giving this a go.”
My loaves came out looking and smelling delicious and thankfully tasted just as good, if a little different from ‘ordinary’ bread.
For information on bread baking courses at Welbeck go to www.schoolofartisanfood.org.