Basic ingredients: An artisan baker of 40 years’ experience, Paul Merry established Panary in 1997 and runs craft baking courses from a working, water-driven flour mill, Cann Mills, in a pretty idyllic spot in north Dorset. From his rustic courtyard Paul is perfectly placed to help budding bakers rise to the challenge of craft bread-making via a range of technical courses, each limited to six students. Single days start at 10am and end at 5.30pm, cost £175 and include plenty of hands-on preparation and baking, discussions, a tour of the mill and lunch to fuel all the hard work. Each course focuses on specific breads such as Basic, British, French, Continental and sourdough. There is even a class that deals solely with the mysterious subject of yeast and another that teaches the use of masonry wood-fired ovens. Two-day courses are double the price of a day and all include sourdough tutorials. General or “Going Professional” three-day courses are £480 and are more bespoke as students choose the most appropriate programme to suit their skill-set. Finally, at £900, “Panary In Provence” is a four-day residential course near the historic village of Vinsobres, and features a 5-night stay at Domaine l’Ancienne Ecole, French bread-making lessons and various trips to visit artisan producers.
They say: During the years I was in my bakery I enjoyed having apprentices, and to watch them flourish into competent bakers was deeply rewarding. I have always enjoyed teaching my craft and now I see it as a worthy duty.
We say: Paul Merry certainly knows his “pain” – course descriptions abound with terms such as “poolish”, “biga” and “nurturing a juvenile” but testimonials praise his personable and easygoing teaching style. For those a little uncertain where to begin, Paul also provides in-depth advice and expert guidance on choosing the right course. After a “therapeutic” day baking with Paul I drove home in a car infused with the unrivalled aroma of freshly baked warm bread. The fruits of my labour included poppy-seed rolls, baps, a slashed farmhouse and a shiny, saffron- laced challah, a Jewish speciality bread. You can read more about my baking school experience here.
01747 823711 to speak with Paul Merry or 01747 852475 to speak with Michael Stoate, miller/proprietor; firstname.lastname@example.org