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Reviewed: Bread-making experience at Brockleby’s

Sally Smith went on a date night with a difference.

Brockleby's Bakery in Melton Mowbray.
Brockleby's Bakery in Melton Mowbray.

As we approach the last days of winter and with the evenings starting to lighten, it’s time to think about venturing outside again and looking for activities that will entertain us while also keeping warm.

Scrolling through the internet and looking for something different to do, I wanted to find an activity that would keep me entertained whilst also being fairly priced. This is when I came across Brockleby’s evening experiences.

The bakery and pie maker is based in Melton Mowbray (renowned for its pork pies) yet is known locally for their famous “penguin pies” (described as Pingu’s favourite – smoked haddock with potato, cheese and onion). I decided to explore a little bit more. The evening classes led me to a choice between making bread or making pork pies. My friend and I opted for bread. Priced at £35 per person or £60 for a couple, this was the same as a meal out, if not less than.

The smell of bread baking has always been a weakness of mine, and I will often pop a quick loaf in the bread machine on weekends to fill the house with that warm, fresh aroma. However, this was a chance to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in.

Pulling into the car park with my apron ready, I was excited to turn my hand to this class. Upon entering, we were greeted by Clare who was full of energy and had a warm loaf on the counter ready for us to tuck straight into.

Throughout the two-hour class, which consisted of 12 keen-but-inexperienced bakers of different ages and genders, we made a spelt loaf and a cheese soda bread. Throughout the session, Clare told us about the history of the ingredients we were using and what else happened in the Brockleby’s kitchen on a day-to-day basis.

Aside from the ease with which any novice can join in, one of the reasons I rate this class was for the skills and tips you just can’t learn from reading a recipe. When the dough started sticking to my hands and getting wetter rather than coming together, I was shown how to rectify this.

Cheese Soda Bread in progress.
Cheese Soda Bread in progress.

Knowing I am warm-blooded, the benefits of freezing my fats (cheese in this recipe) and chilling my water to help balance was a perfect tip to takeaway. The session was hands-on from the word go and the time flew-by as we had fun cooking with Clare.

Leaving the kitchen, I was laden with my two bread bakes, a loaf tin, some honey, and the recipes for me to try again at home.

Sally Smith with one of her bakes.
Sally Smith with one of her bakes.

If you are looking to escape to the countryside and do something different for an evening, this class is the one. The value for money was great, and I’d give the experience 10 out of 10. I will be going back to see how I fair at pork pie making.


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