Five day Bread Making class with Richard Bertinet

Five day bread making course with 
Richard Bertinet

Our 5 day breadmaking course is our flagship or Rolls Royce class.  It is the one that entices you from all corners of the globe and, though we say it ourselves, it really is a fantastic week.  With thanks to (for most of the shots taken while he was with us on the class), here is a look at the full five days and what some of you have had to say about it…..

Day 1 – An Introduction to Breadmaking (the Bertinet way!)


Day 1 is a vital part of the course where Richard makes sure that you have got the basic techniques on board.  Whether you are new to bread making, new to his techniques or even if you have been working from the books for some time there is plenty to learn.  Lots of individual attention but all of it good fun!

Working 2           Working hands

By the end of the day you will have created fougasse (and flashed your first fougasse grin!) bread sticks, foccaccia, tin loaves and prepared a flamiche for lunch.

Day 2 – French Breads

Day 2 has a distinctly French feel.  You will learn how to make a classic baguette, epis and pain de campagne.  But more importantly you will start to learn about some of the key themes that run through the week.


The first is working with ferments as we look at how using a poolish can develop the flavour of your bread.  Then there is dividing and the key skill of moulding which takes practice, practice and more practice and is something Richard regularly reinforces with our own team of bakers.   You will also start to learn how to use a lame correctly and how to bake with steam.

 End of day

Day 3 – Italian Breads

Day 3 develops both the idea of working with a ferment (though as today has an Italian theme, it is a biga, for the ciabatta) and the moulding work.

Prepping ciabatta         Ciabatta

We also cover filled breads and look a little closer at working with inclusions.

                    italian      Italian 2

By the end of the day you will have created piles of beautiful authentic ciabatta, roasted tomato and pesto bread, bread swirls with parma ham and pine nuts, grissini and more.

Day 4 – Starting your sourdough
Dark doughs and Sweet doughs

On day 4 we start the work we will complete on day 5 and take the first steps towards our sourdough.  But we also spend day 4 looking at the differences in working with darker flours and the process of enriching doughs with butter, sugar and milk to create sweet doughs.

Brioche     Working1

You will learn how to handle wholemeal and spelt doughs, how to make brioche, baguette viennoise, fruited tea loaves and even doughnuts.

Baguette viennoise      Doughnuts

Day 5 – Sourdoughs and other slow doughs

Day 5 is all about sourdough.  There is a bit of theory but also a lot of practical work covering white sourdough, rye sourdough and wholemeal sourdough.

Sourdough 2

You will be perfecting moulding techniques, turning out beautiful loaves from your proving baskets and practising loading them into an oven to bake with steam and produce a fantastic crust.


Bertinet Bread Day 5 Sourdough

The Trimmings

At the end of each day, the class gathers to make lunch.  Something different everyday but always something to complement the bread you have been working on….

Preparing lunch

…flamiche with some left over white doughs, hanger steak to stuff in a freshly baked baguette, pizza of course on the Italian breads day plus some smoked salmon, rocket and roasted cherry tomato pasta, tartiflette or perhaps some soups for dunking.

Preparing lunch 2

It’s time for a well earned glass of wine and a chance to digest what you have learned that day with your fellow bakers.  Richard is on hand to answer any queries you might have and to chat about bread and baking in all its aspects.

Lunch 1

What you think about it…

This is an example of just some of the lovely feedback we have for the 5 day bread course…..

“I just wanted to write to you to say how much I enjoyed the bread making course last week. It really was a most relaxing, inspiring and rewarding experience, and it has certainly changed my view of bread. I will never buy or eat sliced bread again, and I very much hope that I will not be tempted to spend money on other people’s speciality bread either! I have made a few baguettes over the last few days, and rather surprised everyone with the results. Everything you said to us last week makes perfect sense – and the results are very rewarding.

I am so glad that I stayed for the whole course. Everything seemed to make much more sense by Friday, as you wisely predicted, and I found the chat at the end of the course really useful….

Finally, I thought that the course was extremely well designed and put together, and it would be difficult for me to suggest any changes or improvements. Breakfast, coffee & prunes, and a delicious lunch were a real treat, and I can only guess how much work you and your team had put in behind the scenes. The logic and content of the programme was perfect in my view.  Jess gave me a piece of your ferment on Friday, and it has already been pressed into service, and refreshed!

Many thanks to both you and your team for a really delightful and enjoyable five days in Bath. I know that there are other bread making courses around, but for me there can only be one – as I will happily tell my friends.”

and the nitty gritty…

Our 5 day bread course runs 5 or 6 times a year.  The price includes lunch with wine every day, all materials and ingredients, a recipe pack and folder, a signed copy of Richard Bertinet’s CRUST, a dough scraper, and a lame and blades.

Team shot

HM Queen Elizabeth II

All of the team at The Bertinet Kitchen are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Her Majesty the Queen on Thursday afternoon.  Our thoughts are with The King, the Queen Consort and their family at this difficult time.

After careful consideration, our courses next week (13-16th September) will run as planned.

We understand that the funeral has now been set for Monday 19th September on the first scheduled day of our Crumb course.  We are considering options with the team and will be in touch with all customers booked to attend the course on Monday 12th.   In the meantime,  customers with bookings for this course are welcome to contact us by email to [email protected] with any particular issues.

Thank you.

Christmas Closure

The office is now closed for the Christmas Holidays however our website is available over the break and confirmations for bookings and gift vouchers will be sent automatically to the email address entered.  Additionally, up until 10am on 24th December we will also email a printable gift voucher to anyone purchasing vouchers or classes as a gift.  Please do not select the gift pack option unless you would like a gift pack posted in the new year.

The office will re-open on Wednesday 5th January at 9.30am.  If you need to contact us urgently before then, please send an email to [email protected].  We will check emails periodically and get back to you as soon as we can.

Wishing a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all of our customers.

The Bertinet Kitchen team

Our Late Availability Scheme

As noted in our Terms & Conditions, to make a change to a class booking we require 28 days notice.  Where customers are unable to give us 28 days notice then we will firstly try to pass the place on to someone else.  If we are able to do this then the customer is welcome to move to a new date of their choosing.  If we are unable do this they can of course send someone else in their place, but if this is not possible then the place is technically lost (just as a theatre ticket would be).  However, in order to ensure that customers in this position do not lose out entirely, we offer a Late Availability scheme.  Under this scheme, customers are contacted where any places remain on classes at one or two weeks notice and offered a place.  There is no guarantee that the courses offered will be the same class or even on the same day of the week, but we try very hard to ensure that we offer everyone on the scheme something they will enjoy and benefit from.  You do not have to take the class you are offered.  We will continue to offer up to 6 places or over 6 months whichever is the longer.

COVID Update // 21 July 2021

With the implementation of stage 4 of unlocking this week, we wanted to set out for all our customers how we intend to manage the COVID19 risks for both our customers and our staff (some of whom are as yet unvaccinated or partially vaccinated due to their age).

We will be returning to our usual capacity of 12 people on each adult class and we also propose to remove the plastic screens in the kitchen to improve your experience however, we will be maintaining masks for all our staff and will be asking our customers to do the same, unless they have a medical exemption.

In addition, we will be trialing the use of the NHS Covid pass app or overseas equivalent for all adult classes from August 2021.  As such, we will ask all customers attending classes to do ONE of the following three things:

  1.  Confirm that they are double vaccinated and either have their app ready (or NHS Covid Pass letter) to confirm this on arrival at the cookery school at the start of their class / course.  We can accept either the NHS app or, for overseas customers, their national equivalent if it is in English or French and the vaccine is on the WHO (World Health Organisation) list of approved vaccinations*.  If it is an alternative language, we will ask you to use method 3 below;
  2. If method 1. is not possible, take an NHS lateral flow test the day before the class and log it with the NHS app and have the app ready to confirm this on arrival; or
  3. If neither methods 1. or 2. are possible let us know in advance and arrive for the class at 9.30am to do a lateral flow test on site.  We will provide the test.

Any customers testing positive will be asked to defer to a later date.

We apologise in advance for any inconvenience but we believe that this is the best way to protect everyone and to ensure that we are able to remain open and operating during what we think is likely to be a very difficult few months.   We ask customers with any concerns to get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity.  We will be keeping this policy continuously under review and will remove these requirements as soon as we believe it is safe to do so.  Thank you for your co-operation.

*Link to list of WHO approved vaccines

Issue with our payment provider – 17 June 2021

We have heard from our payment provider Opayo / SagePay that they are having issues processing card payments today which may mean that our site will not accept your payment.  As an alternative you can process any bookings or orders through Paypal but if you do not wish to do this please contact us on 01225 445531 and we will take your payment manually.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.


COVID Update // 8 March

Re-opening planned for 12 April 2021

We are thrilled to announce that (based on the information about re-opening available at this time and subject to any further changes that may be issued by the UK government), the cookery school has received confirmation from our Local Authority that we can plan to re-open with stage 2 of the re-opening road map on (no earlier than) 12th April.

As such, we are proceeding on the basis that all adult classes scheduled on or after Thursday 15th April will be able to go ahead.     In the event that there are any changes to the published regulations or to the date on which stage 2 unlocking can take place, we will write to those customers who are affected.

Children’s classes scheduled for 13th and 14th April will be able to go ahead regardless of any changes as they fall under stage 1 of the reopening.  Virtual (One to one) Baking clinic sessions will also take place as planned.

The Covid Safe rules (that we put in place after Lockdown 1) will continue to apply, we think probably until stage 4 in June (including enhanced cleaning measures, customer and staff temperature checks, the use of perspex screens and the wearing of face coverings). While things are a little different, we have and will continue to work hard, to ensure that our classes are just as much fun, educational and rewarding as they have always been.

Customers are reminded that while domestic overnight stays and stays in self contained accommodation are likely to be permitted from (no earlier than) 12 April, hotels will remain closed until at least 17 May.  Customers travelling from outside the UK may be subject to individual visa requirements and will be subject to Covid testing and compulsory quarantine provisions on entry to the UK so would need to enter the UK at least 2 weeks prior to the course date.

We ask that anyone who is unable to travel to  attend a class for COVID reasons should please get in touch with us as soon as possible in order that we can re-schedule your booking for a time when restrictions are likely to have been lifted.

We are very excited to be able to plan for re-opening and can’t wait to welcome you back to the school.

COVID Update // 22 February 2021

Dear Customers

While we still have to digest the detail of the government announcements this afternoon, we very much hope that we will be able to re-open in line with other indoor leisure activities from 12 April.

We will therefore be writing to all customers booked prior to this date tomorrow (Tuesday 23 February) to let you know about the alternative dates and availability.

Please do bear with us and if possible, wait to receive this communication (by email), before contacting us about your booking.

If you have not received an email from us by the end of this week (26 February) then please do both check your Spam folder and, of course, get in touch.

Customers booked for dates in February have already been contacted.  Again if you have not heard from us, please check your Spam folder and then get in touch.

It definitely feels like we are on the home straight so please do stay safe and we will look forward to welcoming you back to the kitchen very soon.

Richard & Jo Bertinet

COVID Update // 13 February 2021

Dear Customers

We do hope you are all well and finding solace in your baking and cooking at this difficult time.

We have already been in touch with everyone who is booked onto a class up to the end of February.  If you have not received an email please do check your Spam and / or drop us a line.

We are waiting for the government announcement regarding the Roadmap to reopening and the end of Lockdown 3.0 which we believe will be made on / in the week of 22 February.  We will then get in touch with everyone who is booked before the likely reopening date in order to reschedule their bookings.  However, if you are booked onto a class in March and would like to re-arrange your booking now, do please take a look at our Next Availability page HERE and drop us a line telling us which course you would like to move to.

Do please stay safe.  Remember our mail order service will remain open for baking equipment, flour, yeast and all your other supplies.

Richard & Jo Bertinet



Dried Sourdough Starter

Our Dried Sourdough Starter bag contains 50g dried ferment.

This post tells you how to use half of it. The remaining 25g is a back-up.

To rehydrate your ferment

25g dry ferment
50g strong white bread flour (or a mixture of strong bread flour with some rye and/or wholemeal)
60g warm water

Mix everything well and leave for 24 hours in a warm place.

After 24 hours refresh by adding the following to you ferment
75g strong bread flour
40g warm water
Mix all well and leave for 24 hours at room temperature.

After 24 hour the ferment should look really active and just needs one further refresh.  Add 250g flour and 130g of water warm to your ferment.  Mix together but take care not to overmix.  Place it in a plastic container and leave it at room temperature for 6 hours.  Then place in fridge covered with a plastic bag or the lid of the container a little ajar so it still breath and doesn’t built up too much condensation inside the container.

The ferment can be use straight from the fridge after a further 12 hours and can be left (or used) for up to 4 days before refreshing.   My usual rule when baking is to use about 300g of ferment per 1kg of flour.  But you can use less than this (things will take a little more time) or you can use some in conjunction with yeast to make levain and levure loaves.  For my levain & levure I use 250g of ferment and 5g of fresh yeast per 1kg of flour.

Maintaining your ferment

The more regularly you bake the better as the routine is good for the ferment and will allow you to see how your ferment evolves with time.

Each time you bake and use some of the ferment, aim to refresh the rest, so it is ready for you again when you need want next.

For most home bakers (baking once or twice a week) I would suggest maintaining a ferment of about 150g after taking out what you need to bake.  In order to refresh this amount, add 300g of strong bread flour and 150g warm water.  This may mean discarding some ferment from time to time.  See below for ideas of what to do with this excess ferment.

If you know you’re going away for a couple of weeks refresh your ferment and place straight in fridge ensuring the lid is NOT on tightly so the ferment can breathe.  It will develop more slowly this way and therefore be happy on its own for 2-3 week. On your return, discard and outside crust (it may be thicker and slightly discoloured) and use the inside of the ferment (150g) to refresh and it will get back or normal.

Storing your ferment  

Your ferment should be stored in the fridge. Put the ferment in a plastic tub and cover the tub with a cloth and then with a lid. Leave the lid slightly ajar to prevent any build up of moisture in the lid. There is no need to clean the container before you put the refreshed ferment back in, just scrape out the excess of dough and place the refreshed ferment back in.

Variations on the ferment

You can vary your ferment to your own taste by replacing the 500g white flour with half white and half brown or with a proportion of rye or spelt.

Using excess ferment

Check our recipe for sourdough crackers (in Crumb), give it away to friends as gifts, or use the ferment with everyday baking with a little yeast (to make a levain & levure loaf).