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In 2021, when we hope our courses will start again, we hope that social distancing will not be required. We’ve been running courses for over a decade now, and we’ve got a very friendly system, but it’s just not conducive to dealing with infection control at the coronavirus level.

Our bakery kitchen is ideally configured to accommodate 4 or 5 bakers, as well as the course instructor and the washing-up/fire tender person. But it’s not set up for stringent social distancing parameters.

Each student works, typically, from a section of the stainless steel bench. They make their own dough, under supervision, following our recipes and protocols, and the dough is proved appropriately in the warm kitchen on baking trays.

When proving is complete, and the loaves are appropriately decorated or dressed, the trays are carefully inserted, by the baker’s boy, into the cavernous oven, from which the glowing coals have been previously raked. The intense, pervasive, and above all, still heat is ideal for baking.

Courses are set up so that mornings are devoted to making dough and proving, while afternoons are ideal for baking. There’s a welcome coffee when students arrive, and a coffee break at around 11am. Lunch is usually served at around 1pm, after which there’s often a lovely time for a little perambulation around our North Pennines garden high on the fellside. With loaves cooling, the final bake in the oven, and tea at around 3pm, the bakery day is beginning to draw to a close.

Thereafter, students pack their loaves in paper bags and stuff their big shopping bags full as they say goodbye.

We do hope that we can offer our normal courses commencing spring, 2021, and throughout the summer months.