A short course in baking

by Rosalind Rathouse

I was born into a family of cooks and from a very early age was allowed into the kitchen. In Johannesburg, where I grew up, there was an annual agricultural show and each year my mother, my aunt and us kids, entered cupcakes, scones and cakes into the show and waited with baited breath to see whether we had won a prize. As I became a more accomplished as a cook, my mother, aunt and I used to all compete using the same fruitcake recipe and one of us always walked away with the prize. Today, at Cookery School I still use my childhood recipe for a boiling milk butter sponge that is right on trend, despite being 40 years old!

Living in the South Africa, we were very influenced by American recipes and chiffon cakes, brownies and cinnamon bread were stock in trade items. Those too have been popularised in recent times. Our food is unfussy, simple and seasonal. It is easily replicable at home and all the recipes are almost fool proof because they have been so well used, refined and tested. Many of them are family recipes handed down through the generations by my mother, grandmother, great grandmother and so on.

Baking is very popular at the moment, thanks to The Great British Bake-Off and other glamorous TV chefs like Nigella and Michelle Roux Jr making everything look so simple – which it is once you have the basic principles and understanding of ingredients under your belt. At Cookery School I have seen bakers come and go, many talented home cooks and others who have gone on to bake in the public eye, Dan Lepard, an Australian master baker who now teaches the art of sourdough bread baking to eager students. Our own Ghalid Assyb, trained in France and a pioneer at both Baker and Spice and Ottolenghi teaches the art of cakes and pastry with humour and enthusiasm.

Our new short course in baking is perfect to get you started on the baking ladder [whether you are the next Mary Berry or just want to make perfect bread and pastry at home] and covers everything from cakes & sweet pastry, pies & savoury pastry to quick breads, yeast breads & croissants.

If you’re looking for something more specific, check out our other upcoming baking classes at Cookery School: