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You Knead This: A breadmaking class for the curious and hungry

Breadmaking is an art that takes time, patience, and lots of fun. How is one Cardiff breadmaker working to spread the news about this activity?


by guest blogger Sydney Johnson


Bakers make a range of breads at a Highs & Loaves breadmaking class
Warren specializes in making different types of loaves including focaccia bread, ciabatta bread, and more.

Cardiff breadmaker Warren Carr has one mission only and it’s to get people to enjoy the idea of making ‘real bread’ again. 


Warren’s Highs & Loaves is a set of artisan breadmaking classes that he started as an opportunity to teach people in South Wales how to bake any type of loaf in a normal home kitchen.


While he was a young student in the early 70s and 80s, Warren got the opportunity​​ to travel to different European countries such as Germany, Austria, and Italy where he discovered the ‘wonderful’ types of loaves they had there.


“At that time in the UK, we had nothing compared to their types of bread. It was horrible, just supermarket bread. I found myself eating these amazing breads in every city I went to and finally realised what bread actually was supposed to taste like,” says Warren. 


Highs & Loaves breadmaking classes for beginners show you how to bake a wide range of breads
Attendees can make any type of loaf ranging from white breads, rye breads, and more depending on their choice of herbs and spices.

Working on making his own bread at home was something he enjoyed for fifteen years before he started hosting classes for the public. Warren has not even looked back at buying store-bought bread since.


Warren spent most of his time in the journalism and pr/communications field for his main job and still does as he runs his own communications agency with a colleague. However, he still happily made bread on the weekends and in his free time. 


“One piece of advice I’d give younger myself is to have started bread making earlier and not wait. I’m fulfilling my dream now. When we eased back on the communication business it made me think ‘Hey if I’m not doing so much communication agency work, I can start to focus more on my bread’. Many friends and family would say my bread was really nice,” says Warren.


At first the idea of opening a bakery came to mind, but with time and much needed investments, he decided it was suitable to spread the word about bread making through classes. Warren essentially wanted people to convert to the idea that making bread is actually quite easy and simple. 

 

A Highs & Loaves artisan breadmaking class
Classes have a maximum of four attendees and are a great way to meet new people and make friends.

Warren decided that it would be best to host classes on breadmaking for people in South Wales and the South West in his own kitchen because he believes people can do this in their own house without any special equipment or ingredients.


And so, the birth of Highs & Loaves! Warren began to run six sessions a month in his own kitchen, classes limited to four people maximum. Attendees are able to take classes which can run from beginner levels. Ingredients and equipment are provided in each session along with a complimentary light lunch, all being suitable for any type of diet, including vegans.


“I’m trying to spread the word that making your own bread a very do-able thing. It’s very easy once you’ve got your basic steps. You don’t need complicated ingredients even if you think you might,” says Warren. 


Each week, themed classes will take place. For instance, on Tuesdays you have the option to enroll in a class that focuses on making European breads such as French brioche or making summer themed loaves like olive and coriander on Thursdays.

 


Examples of bread made at a Highs & Loaves artisan breadmaking class
One of Warren’s favourite loaves is a goat cheese and mint loaf, which is nice to pair with a soup.

 

Breads can offer many different flavours and textures depending on how you make them. Within almost a matter of 6-7 minutes after mixing together all the dry and wet ingredients, you can let your mixture sit while you go away, shape it into the way you want, put it into the oven, and then it is done.


“The actual work that you are doing to make a loaf of bread is less than ten minutes. Obviously, you know you won’t have bread in ten minutes but the actual time you are working to make it about that. It’s also about nature doing its thing when the bread is rising, or baking in the oven,” says Warren.


However, baking bread isn’t just the only goal you are trying to achieve in a class. Attendees can make many other recipes including grissini sticks, pizza bases or pasta. 


Warren runs Highs & Loaves breadmaking classes
Warren works out of his kitchen for his classes and hosts them four to six times a month for people in the South Wales and South West region.

 

Using a range of ingredients such as herbs, spices, nuts, cheeses and even beer, Highs & Loaves will allow you to create the most perfect loaf to pair with a soup or sandwich. 


“What I preach is that you can get your own simple flour and very simple ingredients like herbs or spices or nuts or sultanas, all kinds of different flavourings that you can do very amazing things with, and then you end up with bread that you don’t ever see in the shops” says Warren.


When baking bread, it can create the type of clean, sweet aroma that makes you feel warm, like you are snuggling up in a blanket on a cold rainy day. 


The taste when you bite into it, the crunchy texture of the crust, the way you can match different breads to what you’re eating… it’s simply an experience, and it’s one that Warren is seeking to share with people through his classes. 


To learn more about Highs & Loaves, check out their website here to enroll in a class.


Sydney Johnson is a multimedia journalism student at Cardiff University who has experience in international news, news editing and news writing.


This blog post was first published on 14 March 2024 on InterCardiff, the Cardiff School of Journalism web page.



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