Cookery School at Little Portland Street recently caught up with Dan Lepard to find out some of the secrets to his success, what he feels are some of the trends within bread making and why he enjoys teaching at Cookery School…
Q:What are some of the most surprising things you have learnt from teaching people how to bake bread?
One of the things I have learnt is perhaps connected to my aging as well. When I was younger I went Gung-ho into things and I was, in a way, happy with mistakes. But as I have got older I have become more questioning, a natural progression connected to our life experiences and things going wrong. So what I try to do now is blend some of that youthful optimism and lack of fear with more caution, which is something I’ve only learnt through doing years of classes.
Q: What are some of the most common mistakes that people make when they are starting to make bread for the first time?
Something we all do is not read the recipe through completely for the first time, so they don’t plan enough time for it. Linked to this there is an impatience about how long things take. We live in an age where people are fearless about what they want to make, be it panettone, bacon or Stilton but these things take time. When I am making sourdough I am working in the realm of fermentation and people commonly don’t give the process the space it needs and want to rush it through. So generally my tips are: remember to give bakes more thought, more space and more time.
Q: Do you think there will be new trend in terms of bread? Do you think we are over sourdough now or are there new things we can do with it?
I do and I will bring in the gorgeous Nigella Lawson into this who always has an insightful thought. I remember showing a sourdough loaf I had made on social media with lots of holes. She replied and said “Mmm it’s good but I really like a smooth sour dough with dense crumb”. I know where she is coming from. I think we are going to see more sourdoughs with a smoother texture. Something that’s more about nuts and seeds and grains too.
Q: What do you like most about teaching here at Cookery School?
I hold every school up in comparison to Cookery School in London. It has some of the finest equipment, it is so well organised and is also so brave and inventive that I want everywhere I teach to match this. I think when students come here they can feel reassured that they will be taken care of and treated in a thoughtful and professional way. That’s not always the case in a lot of cookery schools. But Ros and the team here understand where students are coming from, can pre-empt any concerns they have and can develop something that is fun, bright intelligent and will fill them full of enthusiasm. So that when people leave they can think yes I can do this and I want to do this!
The full interview with baking expert Dan Lepard can be found on Cookery School's website.
"I hold every school up in comparison to Cookery School in London. It has some of the finest equipment, it is so well organised and is also so brave & inventive that I want everywhere I teach to match."