Master the ancient art of baking with a wild yeast leaven to create nutritious, delicious and beautiful sourdough breads.
Learn how to make and manage your own leaven and bake genuine artisan sourdoughs with surprisingly little effort.
Learn a wonderfully simple sourdough routine that’s good for you, body and soul.
Hand-made sourdough bread is real bread.
It’s better for your body, thanks to its low GI, and the way fermentation modifies gluten, making it easier for your gut to digest, while making nutrients in the flour more bio-available.
It’s also good for your soul. A freshly baked artisan sourdough on the table is guaranteed to warm anyone’s heart - and the good news is that you can easily do this every day.
Content and overview
Our practical course is designed to give you crystal clear instructions on how to build beautiful, sourdough bread-baking into your everyday life. No stress, no fuss. Just a simple, 5-minute routine.
We start by explaining what a natural, wild yeast starter (leaven) is, and exactly how to make and look after your own. Creating the starter takes about 1 minute a day for 5 days, but after that you can keep it going for the rest of your life.
Once your starter is established, you’re ready to begin the first of our six authentic sourdough projects. Each one gives you an insight into a different technique, a different flour, or ways to incorporate other ingredients. Together, they build your knowledge and experience of key sourdough principles such as leaven use, hydration, fermentation and retardation.
Whether it’s a crackling baguette, a fragrant thyme and olive bread or a rich walnut rye, we aim to give you enough knowledge and confidence to regularly bake all your own sourdough breads for yourself with virtually no effort at all.
Learn the yeastie beastie lingo. Undertstand the difference between starter and leaven, what they both are, and why they're both called sourdough or mama.
How to make your own starter from scratch, and how to maintain it.
Hacks for fixing moody 'mothers'!
Using a starter to prepare a white leaven.
Using a starter to prepare a rye leaven.
Insights into choosing the best flours, and why your choice matters both personally and environmentally.
Learn the international baking system, and see how using percentages, especially with water, can refine the balance of your recipe.
All the recipes given by weight, volume and percentages, including tips, full instructions and photos. An easily printable pdf is in the resources section.
Lifelong bakers Dragan Matijevic and his partner, Penny Williams, set up their first microbakery in Oxford, 2008, selling artisan bread to locals from "The smallest bakery in the world" - a tiny, converted garden store. It was originally intended as a side-project, something to complement their freelance incomes as a magician (Dragan) and a copywriter/ translator (Penny). But the bread had other ideas! It proved such a success that they were soon baking six days a week, and being asked to give classes.
In 2012, Dragan and Penny moved to Devon, establishing The Artisan Bakery School in a rambling Devonshire cottage with a good kitchen and a slightly bigger bakery. They now offer a wide range of one-day classes or baking mini-breaks, from Beginners through Artisan Sourdough & Rye, Woodfired Pizza, Viennoiserie, Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free and Heirloom Grains, Heritage Techniques.
The Artisan Bakery School focuses on teaching people how to bake bread with integrity. That means authentic techniques, and ethical ingredients: no chemicals, no preservatives, no cheating and no cutting corners. We also show people who are time-poor how to fit real, slow-rise bread into their hectic lifestyles with minimal effort. We think baking should be fun and there’s no reason why you have to be a slave to your dough!
Teaching the craft of artisan bread making is our main trade. This is because we believe that such skills need to be passed on to future generations – for their pleasure, for their health and for the health of the planet.