School’s in! Bakery classes can help build a community

As we head into February, many New Year resolutions are but a distant memory. It’s too cold to go running, and too gloomy to not eat cake.

But there is still hope for one resolution many made heading into 2019 – learn a new skill. After all, there’s eleven months left to achieve (or fail in) this, presenting an opportunity for bakers.

As a small bakery, offering classes to the local community is a direct platform with which to share the story of your bakery, the bread-making process and sing the praises of your products. Attendees will come away with an appreciation of the craft, a few new skills with which to impress their friends and, hopefully, a smile on their face.

What’s more, with three-hour classes going for £90-plus (in London at least) it’s a great way to improve your bottom line. Balancing lessons with day-to-day running will take some practice, particularly when space is at a premium, but it can work.

The demand is there. Bread Ahead’s Bakery School in London, which first opened its doors in February 2014, now welcomes more than 200 recreational bakers into its classrooms every week.

I was lucky enough to be one of them last Friday as I took part in the Flatbread 2.0 workshop with my stepmum. The tutor, Manuel Monade, was a delight, explaining every step of the process and reassuring us when our creations weren’t quite as perfect as his. As I pointed out to Manuel, I’m a writer not a baker, but I left with the confidence to try making them at home and the desire to go back for more knowledge… perhaps a British Classics workshop or a spot of bagel-making.

This, it seems, is a feeling shared by those visiting The Dusty Knuckle Bakery in Dalston. Demand for baking classes has increased so much that the owners have converted two 40ft shipping containers into a dedicated bakery school, due to open this weekend.

“What’s great about The Dusty Knuckle is we have a really dedicated customer base, we’ve got loads of regulars, so the school feels like the next step towards creating a community,” bakery school coordinator Tomek Mossakowski told British Baker.

As I’m sure the nation’s bakers can agree, a community based around bread sounds pretty heavenly.

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