Series following a social experiment with one ambition - to reunite a community through bread. Curate Cath Vickers starts up a bread group in Bedale, Yorks.
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There was a time when a mill and a bakery were at the heart of every town and village in the country,
a focal point, bringing communities together.
Today, it's a packaged sliced loaf for most of us, but in our push for convenience,
have we lost a lot more than just taste?
People always used to bake together.
They'd to go into each other's houses because everybody's doors were open,
and all of that has gone from our society, largely.
We're going to see if teaching a group of total beginners how to bake...
Some person has cooked my bowl and made a hole in the bottom!
..can not only ignite a passion...
How about that one?
..but help to persuade others how great real bread can be.
The ambition is to get an ancient watermill up and running
and use the flour that it grinds to set up a community-run bakery.
It'll be a massive task, so we're providing
two award-winning artisan bakers to steer them in the right direction.
Look at that!
The light should pretty much pass through it.
Will the group be able to work together?
Everyone's pulled out apart from Rosie, myself and Valerie.
And will they really be able to change lifelong bread habits?
No, I don't want these fancy breads at all.
If they can make it work,
it could spell a whole new way of life for this community.
It's so scary.
Ah! It's just got to work, to be honest with you.
We begin at the end of a cold winter's day in Yorkshire,
the largest county in England.
On the outskirts of the Dales lies an old market town called Bedale.
It's a place, like many, that has witnessed great change.
Once a thriving farming community,
it's now home to commuters too busy to bond with their neighbours.
But a new revolution is about to hit Bedale.
In the church hall, six friends have come together to form their very own bread group.
Has anyone got the Jamie Oliver instructions?
They've called themselves Wit's End,
because they were all at their wit's end when they first met.
One tablespoon of white sugar.
-That's what you said... A teaspoon?
The group are led by curate, Cath Vickers.
We're experimenting to see how you make bread, because we're all complete novices.
And so we're going to try, aren't we, girls?
We're going to try and make some bread.
For their very first loaves they're following a basic recipe
with flour, water, salt and yeast to make the bread rise.
When the yeast is ready, if it's ready...
-No, it isn't!
-It is, it's bubbling.
It's quite an exciting thing really, bread, because, it's sort of everywhere, isn't it?
You know, you go for an Indian meal and you have your chapattis and you have your naan breads,
and you go for a Greek meal, and you have your pita breads
and everywhere in the world has its kind of bread,
so it links us with every human being that ever was,
and that's quite something.
I can't wait to try one!
The group are as diverse in age as in vocation.
-It's really exciting, isn't it?
-Rachel, a midwife, is the youngest.
-Are you going to put yours to prove?
-I just like touching it.
She was waiting for nine months. It's her job!
Carol is an ex-teacher,
and there's Rosie, a motorcycle enthusiast.
Here goes, girls, this is the beginning of a great thing.
Cath and her newly formed bread group will be at the centre of our big bread experiment.
THEY SHRIEK AND LAUGH
Use your fingers, come on.
Over the next 18 months we'll be working with them
to nurture their enthusiasm...
No, no, no, no.
-Yeah, go on, then.
..to see if they can get their whole community baking and eating real bread.
I'm sure that,
you know, bakers do it more beautifully than this.
-It says, slowly but confidently...
..bring in the flour from the inside of the well.
You don't want to break the walls of the well,
-or the water will go everywhere.
Oh, how wonderful!
'This project really is very exciting to me.'
Human beings are made to be together,
and to share things, and they're made for relationship,
and for community.
And any way in which we can recreate community that we've lost,
even to the basic level of just getting to know one another,
is just gold dust.
We could use more flour and use the recipe to get the yeast...
Our relationship with bread remained unaltered for thousands of years.
Made at home and often baked in communal ovens, it was an integral part of community life.
It's only recently, in relative terms, that things all changed.
# I'm a happy knocker upper And I'm popular beside
# Cos I wake 'em with a cuppa
# And tasty Mother's Pride... #
The '60s saw pre-sliced packaged loaves rolled out on a commercial scale...
It makes them love work.
They're going berserk to get off to work!
..and as a nation we bought into it wholesale.
# The bread we freshly bake 'em! #
Fantastic Mother's Pride!
Now, mass produced bread has almost completely taken the place of locally sourced and baked loaves.
Ten million loaves of bread are turned out by factories every day.
So getting people weaned off sliced white
is going to take some doing.
The next part of The Big Bread Experiment
begins 250 miles south of Yorkshire, in Bath...
Can I get you anything else at all, madam?
..where some award-winning artisan bakers
have managed to convince the local public to buy into real bread.
If anyone can help our baking group, they can.
Patrick and Duncan are part of a new revolution of bakers.
They use stone-ground flour and very traditional methods to make extremely modern breads.
We've got some beetroot bread. It's whole raw beetroot, juiced up,
and we put the juice in the recipe instead of the water.
This is our Cheddar Gorge vintage cheese bread,
cos the cheese is in the bread, I actually like to eat it just with a bit of chutney.
It's not rocket science, it's just a little bit of innovation,
and being a bit creative, and having a bit of fun, and coming up with something different.
And that's really what we're all about.
If you think about the two best smells in the world -
freshly brewed coffee and fresh bread, it just craves like a hunger.
For a lot of people, bread has simply become
something to hold your ingredients for your sandwich with.
It has about as much purpose as a plate for a lot of people.
At one stage, bread was kind of the king of the dinner place and everything else focused around it.
Patrick and Duncan have made it their mission to get people off mass-produced bread.
The biggest issue is convenience,
we've got to a point where we can't actually slice our own loaves.
We have to buy them in a bag, pre-sliced,
because everyone is genuinely that busy,
that they can't stand at a chopping board and slice their own loaf.
They'll be sharing their expertise, and be on hand
to mentor the baking group during their first crucial year.
I'm obviously hugely excited about the opportunity to start working with the group.
The only thing I would say is are we going to be up to their expectations?
Whether we can deliver on the promise of helping them realise their dream.
For me, it's an opportunity to give. Just give something back, and trying to keep traditions going.
If we get to teach these guys a thing or two,
and it gets kept alive,
and then they pass it on throughout the community, then great.
The final ambition of The Big Bread Experiment takes us to the outskirts of Bedale.
Crakehall watermill is just one of 2,000 watermills that once powered the Yorkshire landscape.
At various times in its long life, it's laid abandoned, broken and unused.
The hope is that this watermill can be brought back to life,
so that the baking group, like generations before them,
can use locally produced flour for their bread.
We've been here five years now,
and we thought it really is time to get this place up and running.
OK, so here we are.
Crakehall watermill stands on the site of a mill mentioned in Domesday.
It was formally a working corn mill, and that's what we'd like to see
in the coming months, to get the mill up and running.
Right, up we come onto the granary floor here.
Lionel Green has long harboured ambitions to restore the mill,
so he's excited to be part of the project.
It's going to benefit us and the community.
We get asked a number of times,
"Have you got the mill going yet? What are you doing with it?"
And so there's an outward pressure on us to actually do something,
cos they feel it's their mill, not ours.
And, in a sense, it's part of the community.
Lionel lives here with his partner Alison, who shares his passion.
We really want to have it running again, and to be able
to show people what it's like to see it. We're very lucky to have it.
And then to be able to mill flour would be fantastic.
And I'm sure it can be done, but we just need a little bit
of guidance and expertise to point us in the right direction.
What's up with this Yorkshire weather?
I don't know, beautiful countryside, but...
not sure about the weather. Can't wait to meet this vicar.
Duncan and Patrick are making the 250-mile drive north to Yorkshire.
It's six weeks since the bread group first got together
and the bakers are coming to assess their skills.
What do you think the worst case scenario would be?
A bunch of people who don't have a clue what they're doing.
-To be honest with you, I don't really want to be starting from the very bottom.
-I think no experience whatsoever, not too much of an idea what they're doing.
Walking into a room full of flour, really.
Yeah, a cloud of flour as we turn up,
just dough all over the place.
There's some sugar here...
Since their first attempt at baking bread, the group have got bolder.
They've even baked hot cross buns for Cath's parishioners.
It's gripped people. They've really experimented and tried,
you know, and I think they're really quite excited about this.
I think, because it's OUR project.
How about that one?!
'In their families, they're usually responsible for everyone else,
'and it's everybody else's things that they're supporting.'
This is our project, and it's THEIRS, it's not somebody else's.
Determined to impress at their first meeting,
the group have decided to experiment with their own bread,
throwing in anything they can get their hands on.
-Won't they think that we're just silly women?
They may think we're silly women, but they're still coming to help us.
-Anyway, we don't care. It's not going to be embarrassing.
We are who we are, and we are highly successful in our own way.
We are, we are, but maybe just not the bread people way.
No, we are, but I mean compared with their artisan standards.
-I want to ask how they began.
-Yeah, what's their story?
-What's their background?
-Especially if they are young...
We know why you two are here tonight!
-I'm just saying it could be quite...
SHE SHRIEKS THEY LAUGH
I was coming to give you a hug, I do apologise.
It's been a decent drive. I think this is Bedale, I guess.
What do you make of it?
-Not too sure yet.
-Well, there's the church.
Let's follow the pillars, huh?
But after an entire afternoon kneading,
things aren't going quite to plan.
THEY ALL LAUGH Why does this happen today?!
I am so cross!
-What has happened?
SOME PERSON has accidentally switched on the ring of the cooker,
and it has cooked my bowl and made a hole in the bottom.
-And, and it has cooked my dough!
THEY ALL LAUGH
This is what I meant with these bakers coming in, it could be embarrassing tonight.
-Ready to go?
-Here goes nothing!
What's going on here then?
-Oh, my God.
What a disaster!
You know what we said when they turned up, they'd think we were
a group of menopausal, silly old women on a mid-life crisis...
We have sort of proved that, haven't we?
-THEY ALL LAUGH
The hope is that Patrick and Duncan can give this group some focus,
and introduce them to the skills they'll need to run a community bakery.
It was quite a scene when we arrived, to be quite honest.
It just felt really kind of homely, sort of people who love each other,
know each other really well,
get on really well, kind of club in together,
and it just felt really nice.
But there is quite a lot of work to be done, to put it lightly.
So how long has that been proving for?
-Two glasses of wine.
Bless them, they must have wondered what the hell they were coming into.
They just came into just frenzy and red wine fuelled hysteria because we were so excited
to see proper people who knew what they were talking about.
There's real interest in the details now,
and getting it right and all of that, and it's really exciting.
The recipe officially says a large dollop of mustard.
Is that the technical term it uses?
I don't do technical terms. I do dollops and thingamajigs.
It's going to be a thin line between keeping that enthusiasm and desire
that they've got, but also giving that check of reality,
that it's not just going to be giggles on a Sunday afternoon with a couple of glasses of wine
and melting some plastic bowls with some bread in it.
It'll be a little bit more hard work than that.
When we do take this forward, the wine will have to be taken out of the equation.
Oh, shut up! THEY ALL LAUGH
But the challenge ahead is not just about producing the perfect loaf.
If I speak personally about this project,
it's about food. I do love food,
and I do love bread, good bread,
and things of the earth that help us to form relationships,
honest and open relationships with one another.
All of those things... And build community.
All of those things are really dear to me, and this project has all those things in.
And you never know where it's going to go, do you?
Because people are people, and what we start off with is nothing like how we end up.
But that doesn't really matter, does it? Because what's at the heart of it
are really good things.
The bread project is just one chapter in a history of challenges Cath has taken on over the years.
Unafraid, she was one of the first women in Yorkshire to wear a dog collar.
I'd been thinking about being ordained for 20 years.
It had been quite a difficult road.
First of all, because it would cause hurt,
because my dad, who I loved very dearly,
was against the ordination of women.
He was a vicar too, and he was against the ordination of women.
He knew a very different kind of setup to the one that is now,
but we got on fine, and he supported me, actually, in the end,
more than anybody else did.
It's actually mind-blowing,
the change in identity when you're ordained.
I remember when I came to Bedale,
walking down the High Street for the first time in my dog collar.
Whereas before I just blended in,
now people either crossed the road to see me,
or crossed the road to get away from me. I don't know what they thought I was going to do!
So far, the only people to have tried their bread have been directly involved with the project.
But if they're really going to have a future as a community bakery,
they'll have to engage with the great British public.
There are some rumblings, and some of the women want to move on with the bread and do other things,
but I think before we can even think about that, we need to be a bit more organised,
and we need to get public opinion, you know, and earth our ideas and dreams.
So Cath's been cooking up a plan.
There is a suggestion that...
You know the Leyburn Food Festival?
..that we have a stall.
Right, OK. That's the first thing.
It's NOT a selling stall,
so you can relax on that one.
It's a tasting stall. What do we think to this idea?
-Can I just ask first, when is...?
-Bank holiday weekend.
-Right, it's soon then.
The Leyburn Food Festival is one of Yorkshire's top food shows.
'It's a big event, and it's a phenomenal commitment,'
but I think it could be just what we need.
Oooh, I've left something in the oven!
THEY ALL LAUGH
I think it was just shock, horror, how could we do this?
It is a lot more than just knocking a bit of dough around in the kitchen. This is a big deal.
We've not got the wine and the cheese to keep nibbling. This is massive.
We've all got little dreams and I actually think we can do it.
I really do think we can do it.
Well, shall we have a toast? THEY ALL LAUGH
I just think it'll give them a tremendous sense of their own worth, really.
I think they've no idea how wonderful they are,
and it'll just perhaps give them an inkling of what they're capable of.
The sky's the limit really.
The Kneady Girls!
Yes, the girls that knead.
-And cheers to my stall.
In anticipation of the bread group upping their game,
at Crakehall, Lionel Green has big ambitions
to restore the mill to its former glory.
But owning a thousand year piece of local history could become enormously expensive.
Crakehall watermill has left a string of bankrupt millers in its wake.
So when you're here, when you come into the mill house, what do you feel in your stomach?
Trepidation, excitement some days.
But it would be very nice,
a great sense of achievement to get the mill up and running.
Before they can get going with the renovation,
Lionel and Alison need to get a costing done.
We've introduced them to Russell and Bob,
specialist mill renovators who live across the Dales.
Look at this. Excellent.
-It even smells right, doesn't it?
They've come to assess both the structure of the building,
and the state of the wheels and cogs that power the mill.
This is a bit strange.
This is a mess, and this is modern, so...
-I can actually now see that there's quite a bit of bend on that.
-There is, isn't there?
It's in dire need of a lot of attention.
Yes, it's a great patient,
it's a great challenge, but the patient isn't well at all.
Following a thorough inspection,
it transpires that the cost of a full-blown restoration
could be as much as £100,000.
Alison and Lionel realise they're going to have to scale down their ambitions.
So we've arranged for them to get a second opinion
from one of the country's top mill consultants, Martin Watts.
It's hoped that he will be able to come up with an alternative plan.
When you're working on any old building, there is a lot that you can't tell.
I'm just going to prod in there, make sure there's no rat waiting to bite me.
There we go.
The biggest issue with any restoration project,
and particularly with mills, is the cost.
There are things like bearings, and so on,
which, until you open them up, until you start dismantling,
you can't really decide whether they can be re-used
or need to be renewed, and that can make a lot of difference.
After a careful evaluation,
Martin comes up with a more cost effective solution.
If Lionel's prepared for some hard graft,
and can call in some favours from friends and the wider community,
there's a good chance they can get the mill going themselves.
What I like about the approach here is that they want to put
their efforts into getting it up and running,
but they also want to share it with other people.
And mills were always communal things,
they were very important to every village, and that to me
is the most important aspect of it,
is to use the mill in a way that sort of respects its history
and yet supplies a contemporary demand.
With the Leyburn Food Festival now less than a week away,
the bread group have been frantically finessing their technique.
The oldest member of the group is Valerie, who's recently retired.
I see myself as a mum, a grandma, a wife.
I don't think I actually think outside those parameters,
and so the bread project is just a fantastic thing.
It's just like learning something new,
which just really just takes hold of you.
As if baking the best bread she's ever made isn't enough of a test,
there's a further hurdle for Valerie and the others to clear
if they're to make food for the great British public...
When you're producing food, you do play a little bit of a game of risk,
and you're far more likely to do something to it
that's going to cause an illness or an injury if you've got your hands in it.
There are lots of consequences of getting it wrong.
Anyone wishing to produce food for the public needs to attend a food hygiene course.
You could end up with a prosecution, you could end up with a fine,
prison sentence, anything from six months up to two years.
I'm beginning to think perhaps going to Leyburn Food Festival isn't quite such a good idea!
I've got some pictures here, these are some physical hazards. How about that one?
There's the friend, there's the mouse, you're going to get a bit in each slice, aren't you?
It's a bit like the pork pie with the egg going through.
We're safer than that because we would know if a mouse came in our loaf.
Today's not just about Leyburn, it's about the future.
If they're going to have a community bakery,
they'll need to pass this course and get a food hygiene certificate,
and to get that they'll need to sit an exam.
Do you know something? I haven't done an exam since I was 21.
How scary is that?
The exam is a simple multi-choice questionnaire.
But for Valerie, even the word exam is difficult.
When I was small, I wanted to be a nurse,
and the sister one up from me said,
"You're not clever enough."
So then the next thing I wanted to be was an air hostess,
and the same sister said, "You can't do that because you wear glasses. "
But I was very under confident, but I was the...
what I consider the odd one out in very many ways.
My hair colouring, my build,
I was the only one who wore glasses,
I was the only one that didn't pass the eleven-plus.
My dad was horrified that I failed my eleven-plus.
Absolutely horrified. Didn't...
-Because he was an education officer in the army, as well.
-Yeah, it didn't... He didn't...
It didn't sit very well with him at all, for a long time.
Yes, so I was a great disappointment.
-He was a very strict man. A very strict man was my dad.
We're waiting to hear if we've passed or not.
Won't it be horrible if we don't?
-That's the usual state for me.
-Are you bothered?
It really, really freaks me out.
Aww, bless you. Oh, no, you'll be absolutely fine.
I'm making light of it and I shouldn't be cos you're worried, aren't you?
-I hate it.
-Oh, bless you, you'll be absolutely fine, you will be absolutely fine.
-Well, I won't be able to make bread, will I?
-Yes, you will.
You will, cos we'll do it again.
I can't help it.
It is very, very nerve-racking, isn't it?
It's a pressure point.
-I can't do it.
-It's over. It's over.
-Oh, thank you.
-It's just a success.
-And it's an emotional success.
It is. It's a fantastic success.
I'm very proud of Valerie, cos she finds these things really hard.
Well done you.
You have to now take your knowledge and use it at the festival.
I've got this!
I have actually had others during my life, but...
I just can't do exams. I just get a mental block.
I just get really, really panicky inside, even if it's not visible.
I've just got a real, real phobia.
A real phobia. And it's just plagued me throughout my life,
and I'm just thrilled that I can carry on and do what I've been looking forward to.
I'm really, really buoyed up for it now.
Just bring anything on and I'll manage it.
With 24 hours to go before the event, there's a last minute flurry of activity and excitement.
Cath and Valerie have roped in their husbands to help out.
It's certainly brought everybody closer together,
more involvement, anybody who's joined in has had real fun.
She was the most shy person you've ever met in your life,
and then she got into bread making.
Just amazes me.
She's just now so confident.
-Are you proud of her?
-I'm very proud of her.
Very proud of her.
In preparation for the festival, the girls have some photos taken.
One, two, three.
'I'm hoping the public are going to be nice.'
I'm hoping they'll be understanding, enthusiastic, and encourage us.
Because if they say nasty things, it'll hurt the girls, I think, and I don't want them to.
But, you know, I think we're probably big enough to take it if... You know.
Right, lots of love.
-See you, many thanks.
'I think it'll be fine. It'll be great.'
Then they'll head home to do their first night bake.
Once we've done the food festival, and we've got everybody's public opinion,
then our bread will hopefully get even better,
and then we shall be spectacular bread-making people.
Yes, it will be good.
At their bakery in Bath, Duncan is about to start his 12-hour shift,
baking through the night.
Real bread has no preservatives to keep it fresh,
so in order for it to taste its best, it's baked overnight
and served straight from the oven first thing.
But tonight, it's not just his loaves that Duncan is worried about.
He's thinking about the up and coming Leyburn Food Festival
and the work that lies ahead for the community bakery.
Straightaway you're thinking, hang on a minute,
they're all going from having communally baked a few loaves in the church hall
to suddenly having to, kind of, deal with quantity.
And, you know, they can't turn up with a dozen loaves,
they need a decent amount to kind of stand up or it's just going to look way too sort of amateurish.
I never really realised until I started that there's making bread,
you know, when you do it in a bowl and you can work it by hand,
and then there's making bread, kind of on the scale that we're doing it here.
And if they're the beginnings of a bakery, they need to do it the way that bakeries do it,
which is working through the night.
I think it's going to be interesting to see the results.
That's going to be a big, big challenge, really.
It's just about half past four in the morning at this moment,
and yes, well, there we are. It's half past four in the morning.
A time when any other self-respecting human being is fast asleep.
There we are.
It's the day of the Leyburn Food Festival,
and the bread group have to produce a record 25 loaves.
Each member will make their favourite kind.
Cath has plumped for a mustard granary.
I haven't put any mustard in! SHE LAUGHS
Well, some of it will be without mustard.
To bake the best bread you first have to knead the dough for at least 15 minutes,
before leaving it for upwards of an hour, to double in size.
It's very good for bingo wings, I've decided, kneading five loaves.
It was hard work.
Clare, a physiotherapist, was one of the first to sign up to the bread project.
I think we were all just a bit weary of life really, and just wanted
a bit of support on the rollercoaster that life is.
All sorts had gone on really in people's lives,
and it was just to get away from that really.
A mum of two, Clare is newly separated from her husband of 19 years.
'It got strained, it got difficult, and we decided that
'we'd go our separate ways...'
Right, kids. Let's go.
'..but keep it as amicable as possible for the kids, which we've done.'
'I actually probably get more me-time now than I ever did have
'because I do get the two nights without the kids.'
And to start off with, I used to sort of go, "Oh!
"What do I do with this, this time?
And it's just not known, and it was really quite odd,
and quite off-putting really.
I just didn't know what to do with this time.
Morning, everybody. How are we?
-I don't think I'd do this for a full-time job.
How are your wrists? How are your palms?
-Fine, absolutely fine.
-I've got a blister from kneading.
To spread the load for the festival, the group will work shifts, in pairs.
Clare will partner Valerie
and Cath will work with 22-year-old Rachel.
-They look fantastic.
-Yeah, yeah, I'm quite pleased.
I've never been before, have I? So I don't have a clue what to expect.
-Is it in a field or what?
Achieving success at Leyburn will be no mean feat,
it's one of Yorkshire's most prestigious food events,
and the bread group will be judged against the region's top artisan food producers.
Presentation will be vital here, as will the quality of their bread.
THEY ALL LAUGH
Can't get through it!
And you've got six more, six more slices of that to cut.
But despite some quality control issues...
..the lure of free samples soon brings in the crowds.
-Do you want to try our bread?
-Now, we're a group of wacky women, and we've been experimenting, making bread.
We've only been making it for about six weeks.
If you've got any comments, or suggestions, or a favourite one...
You'll see in our leaflet there's a picture of the mill at Crakehall,
which is just down the road, and we're hoping that it's going to be restored and be grinding flour,
and then we can all bake with its flour.
-Oh, fantastic. That is lovely.
-So it's all quite exciting.
Can we have a loaf then please? She just goes to sleep!
I thought people would just walk past,
but they're not.
-"Well done, ladies."
-You like that.
Oh, aye, that's, lovely.
And if we were selling it, would you be prepared to buy it?
-Oh, yeah, that's good.
And how much would you expect to spend for a loaf of bread?
-We're just interested.
-Oh, about 20 pence or something like that.
THEY ALL LAUGH There speaks a true Yorkshire man!
-It's a premium quality product.
-So, you wouldn't mind paying a few bob extra.
-Oh, well that's good to know. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
-That is lovely, is that.
With the general public suitably impressed,
Cath and Rachel head off to see what the professionals at the festival make of their bread.
Try that, that's my honey and mustard.
-Try that one.
-There we go.
I think it's good. I'm serious. I think it's really good. You should be proud of yourself.
Well, we get round an island unit, you know, and get kneading, and it's just...
-Gets rid of a lot of frustrations.
I'm there at night. I'm just thinking of the wife...
So, do you hand do your bread or do you do it with a dough hook?
No, we have a machine because it's commercial,
it's cut by hand, so I stand there and literally just cut it.
We wanted to ask you about these cuts that you've got in it.
-And how they stay cuts.
You need to have a really, really sharp knife, almost like a modelling knife.
And what about the flour that's on the bloomer, does the flour go on for the cooking, or after?
No, no, once it's like that, once it's cooked, you can't put flour on it, it'll just drop off it.
So you get a sieve, that's the best way of doing it, and then just before it goes into the oven,
just dust it, and that's called dressing it.
-So when your customers come along, you say would you like dressed one or a naked one, madam?
See? Then you get some very strange looks from people.
It's all a bit of fun. I don't want to encourage you too much
cos you'll probably come here next year and sell more than I do!
Something tells me this is unlikely, but, you know, we're
-really, really grateful for all your advice and expertise.
You have so many things in your head.
We were thinking about all the things we had to bring,
then we thought about having to get up early and bake,
-and would we have enough bread? There's so many things...
-All the things that could have gone wrong.
Yeah, it's good. It's really good.
Very tasty bread. Yummy.
Shows how clever we are.
"Well done, ladies." That's good, isn't it?
It's fun. It was exciting. It was so rewarding.
The comments that people were making. Just amazing.
He wants us to hold our buns.
THEY ALL LAUGH
'We want to take this somewhere.'
We've done too much just to let it die.
The baking group gets the thumbs up on its first public outing.
It's two months since The Big Bread Experiment got underway,
and work has just started at Crakehall watermill.
I've just trod in mouse poo!
We're hoping to work our way through the building,
in order to prepare it, basically,
for the machinery to have some repairs on it.
First to lend a hand is Lionel's best mate Pete,
who's got a can-do attitude, and has cleared some time to help Lionel realise his ambition.
It's a bit of architectural heritage, which we've, I think, as he bought it, rightly or wrongly,
got a responsibility to keep it going.
So, I'm helping him, because that's how I feel about it anyway.
But as neither Lionel nor Pete know anything about mills,
their very first step is a crash course in Suffolk.
-So, we see you again.
-The millers unite.
-What's this all about?
-Learning how to do it.
Martin's made it clear in his report, there are some aspects,
which are just pure basic engineering.
The pure basic engineering ones are the ones that we can get involved in ourselves,
and with engineers, and steel people, and lifters, and whatever...
-..we can get that sorted.
But don't you need a mill specialist to get the wheel going?
No, it's like changing the wheel. Well, it's not.
An analogy would be changing the wheel on your car.
You don't necessarily need a garage mechanic,
but if you needed to change the cam shaft, you'd take it to a garage.
Crakehall watermill has been fixed along the make do and mend lines for centuries.
The last time it was working was a decade ago.
Each time it's been fixed, a worker has left their mark,
indelibly writing themselves into the watermill's history.
Some of the work is better than others,
but even the more bodged additions are important,
as they help tell the story of the mill.
An example of this are two holes found behind the wheel.
Dating back to the 13th century,
they show that a second wheel was added,
which may, at one time, have milled cotton.
If so, it would make it one of the earliest cotton mills in Yorkshire.
Lionel's renovations will also, in the future, tell of his involvement,
and of the mill's relevance in the 21st century.
Where are we?
Hey, there they are.
-I'll grab that for you.
-Oh, cheers, you're a kind and wondrous chap.
Following the success of Leyburn, the bread group want to do a market for real...
Well, look who's here!
..and actually begin selling their bread to the great British public.
-So Patrick and Duncan have agreed to give them a masterclass in their Bath bakery.
Right, guys, just to give you a bit of a heads-up -
I feel, if I'm completely honest, that we need to raise our game a bit.
What I'm planning is, I'm going to show you a few little tricks,
and a few little tips to point you in the right direction,
and help you greatly improve what you're doing, and maybe give you a better understanding.
Hopefully, you're going to see how we go from the sort of dollops into an environment
where we're using scales, and a bit more kind of sort of science involved.
So what do you think about that prospect?
For me, it'll be quite a change because I'm a sort of broad strokes person, not a detail girl, you know?
So dollops are the way I work.
There are going to be two things that will be banned unfortunately.
One is this infamous dollop, and the other one is the glass of wine
while we're kind of working. So, I don't know whether, you know...
Oh, no. You may as well just ban me!
They're going to enjoy today. It'll definitely be an eye-opener.
But, judging by listening to them driving down, there's definitely an eagerness to learn.
So I feel if they're willing to take that on board,
put a little bit of effort in, we can definitely teach them a lot,
point them in the right direction.
They should have a lot to take back with them by the end of today.
I'm a little bit worried.
I've never been very good at just doing as I was told.
Mm, we've got the dollop issue, haven't we?
Yes, we have the dollop issue.
The thing is, we have to remember that we're going into a professional environment.
-And as lovely as Patrick and Duncan are, this is their place.
-We've got to be serious.
We do need to respect that because I think Patrick will get a bit cross with us,
-if you just fanny about all day.
-I'm not going to do that!
I'm going to be a very good girl.
You won't recognise me. I'm going to be as good as gold.
Of all the group members, one in particular has been really looking forward
to learning more about baking.
Carol gave up her career as an English teacher to concentrate on her kids,
but has found life as a stay-at-home mum lonely.
The bread group has given her something to focus on, and she's gained a whole new set of friends.
I think there are times when you can feel empty,
for whatever reason, I mean, you might have a fantastic family, a brilliant job,
but there's something missing, and I think that that's probably where
the spot that making bread and being part of that group hit.
I think there was nothing perhaps that was just for me.
It fills a little gap inside, that just doesn't seem to quite be...
give you a sense of satisfaction.
And I think making bread, and being part of the group...
..plugs that gap really.
You know, everyone likes to do something that they succeed at.
Come on in, guys.
-It's like afternoon for you, isn't it?
Today's session is all about the possibilities of bread.
-This is a little taste of some of the stuff you'll be producing today.
I'm very excited about this now.
If they're going to do more markets
and sell to the public, they're going to need a range of products.
OK, so I've given each of you a little project.
Patrick and Duncan want to introduce them to some new bread ideas.
English muffins, yes!
-What have you all got?
-doughnuts! Pita breads.
Enriched white dough.
By adding some extra ingredients to the basic bread recipe of flour, salt and yeast,
you can make literally hundreds of different varieties of breads.
It doesn't matter what you put in, just how much.
We've actually got a special unit on this - the dollop.
See if I care! Something tells me I'm being sent up.
-But I can take it.
-You're not being picked on.
As much as baking is a passion, and it's something you get involved in,
get your hands in, get stuck in, it also is a science.
Everything's reacting together, and the yeast is alive, so you can't just go with a little bit of this,
it's got to be precise because everything's there for a reason.
Guys, if you want to have a look, I'm going to show you,
it's a little step away from your usual kneading process. Here's our mixer.
It's close to being between 30 and 50 kilos.
So we've got a dough ready to go at the moment. It's going to be the base of our wild garlic.
-And the process starts.
-Oh, my God!
Time is an issue, how long they've been left, the temperatures they're at.
All this needs to be recorded and taken note of, the temperature the bread's cooked at.
You can't just bang it into an oven and hope for the best.
Three grams out, we don't want that.
I think one gram either side is allowable.
Is it too firm? Is it too supple? What shape is it going to take?
Oh, this feels fantastic!
There's aesthetics as well, to take that step from looking like
a normal loaf you get out of a bread machine to a professional loaf that you're paying good money for.
You're not cutting corners, are you?
It's all the little things you need to think about.
It's not just bunging ingredients together, hope it rises, and stick it in the oven.
It's taking a little step to push it further.
If you all want to come over here, I'm going to show you when you should be looking to add your salt.
Gosh, oh, right. Look how smooth that is.
So you can see how elastic the dough is.
Oh, wow, we never made it like that.
But the thing is, you're going to feel it now, just before the salt goes in.
Do you see it's almost virtually see-through?
If you feel it, it's quite sticky.
But you see, you don't want it that sticky.
See? Exactly. But what's going to happen.
We'll take our salt literally... That's pretty much the texture you're looking for.
At the last minute, you're just going to add your salt.
The salt is naturally going to make it dehydrate slightly.
-So, we give it another quick mix together, and we'll see how the texture changes.
So you can feel how soft it was, and how supple it is,
because if it's too sticky you won't be able to handle that. Before, but now...
This is less shiny, isn't it?
Gosh that's just salt.
And you can see, this is what you're looking for your dough.
-Look at that!
-It's called the windowpane effect.
Can that only be achieved in something like this?
No, you'll do it by hand as well, it'll just take a little more effort.
I can... The light should pretty much pass through it.
I'm starting to get the window effect.
-Not quite? Oh.
-You're getting there. You see,
-it's still kind of ripping a bit.
-But you're very close.
A little bit more and you're there.
So pretty much what you're doing is you're getting the dough
and kind of pushing it into the table
and as you do, start slowly bringing your hand up.
Like, your fingertips.
It helps to give you a tight little ball at the bottom.
I think that the whole community project could be a goer.
It looks complicated, but when you look at all the different machinery,
and what they do, it's not as complicated as it looks.
I think if they have a little place like this, it would be ideal for us. Yeah, I think we could do it.
The scrubbers over there!
How are the scrubbers? SHE CACKLES
-So you flip them over. This is your presentation side, yeah?
So you're going to stretch it out so it takes the whole shape of the tin.
I'm not so sure I'm doing it right.
In fact, that one's rubbish.
They're the right shape, but they're not as smooth as his.
Keep your fingers down on the table to try and keep it trapped in your hand.
Right, oh, I see.
-There you go.
-I did it!
Rachel's pita breads are going well too.
Put them straight into the oven.
The trick with pitas is to put them into a very hot oven,
so that an air pocket forms, and the pita bread puffs up.
Can you see them?
Can you see them puffing up already?
By the end of the day, the group have mastered a whole variety of new recipes.
You clever girl!
Wow, it's amazing.
We've learnt so much, and it's proper.
It's real. We've produced something that we would go and buy in a shop.
I mean Rachel's just done these pita breads, and
who knew they were so, well, not so easy, but who knew they were doable?
-That's your perfect little pita.
-Wow, that's brilliant, isn't it?
You made them.
I was going to say something rude. They look really good.
-How can I phrase it other than the dog's
They look like the mutt's nuts. Sorry.
Cos the mutt's nuts would work a lot better(!)
THEY ALL LAUGH
Working in a professional environment is a real taste of things to come,
and Patrick and Duncan have decided the group need a new target to work towards.
The idea with this isn't to freak you out, but, in a few weeks' time,
you're going to have your first stall where you're actually going to be selling your own produce.
You're going to be doing that locally to Bedale,
so your own reputations are on the line as well,
and to a certain extent, the reputation of your future bakery as well.
I'm sure you'd like to have somebody paying you a couple of quid for everything you produce.
-To be honest, this will be your first real test.
It's easy to have someone say that something you give them to as free
is nice and lovely, but if you ask them to pay money for it...
This will determine what we're doing is actually going to work or not.
As well as revealing some exciting possibilities,
it's also exposed some of the more challenging aspects of running a bakery.
There's got to be a meeting, and we've got to thrash everything out,
because it's got to be done properly right from day one.
We need an organiser, which I think should be Carol because she's done so much, she's worked for...
-We wouldn't have done Leyburn...
-I've done markets though.
I know I've got the experience. I've had my own business.
I'm not saying you haven't, Rosie, but Carol's got the advertising, and, I'm not saying...
-But Carol's not the only one who can do that.
There'll be a job for everybody.
Yeah, and I was just saying, if anyone decided,
you know, I want a full-time commitment, that in effect demands
that we're all doing it...
Yeah, I think it's just been a long day.
-What's the matter?
-Oh, I'm OK.
-No, come on.
-No, I'm OK.
-She just wants a hug, I think.
Rosie has been long term unemployed,
and being part of the bread group has given her a sense of purpose.
I just look at where I was last year with nothing,
and when I have nothing, I go downhill.
-I want to make this my full-time commitment.
That's what I was saying, not that I want to take over,
and I do have all this experience of business behind me.
-Other people do too. Other people do.
-Yeah, but every time I tried to say that,
it's like, "Oh, no, she can do that, and she's done all this advertising."
Well, that's great, and I'm glad she did, but she's actually not the only one who can do it. I can do it.
-I've done marketing...
-You can do just about everything, but you can't do everything. You can't, my love.
I know I can't do everything, but I'd like to be considered that I could do something.
But you've got... I know, and you can.
Bread, to a certain extent, you can control how it's going to turn out,
but we're dealing with people here as well, and it's emotions,
and it's people's kind of livelihoods, and everything that comes with it,
and that's just something that basically we're going to have to take as it comes,
and try and work with whatever's thrown at the group, and thrown at us, to a certain extent.
There's a lot of emotions kind of flying around at the moment,
and I really think we have a real danger of people
kind of falling off the bandwagon if we're not, sort of, careful.
We're going to critically need everyone we had today, and more.
In a sense the bread of this is really important, but it's almost
a by-product because what's happened is these people have grown.
-I know, I did make these all by myself.
And so the dynamic is changing, and, you know, it's going to bring conflict.
There's absolutely no way we can do a stall on the 20th.
Everyone's pulled out apart from Rosie, myself and Valerie.
If this is how it goes on for weeks, we might as well forget about it.
This farmer's market's not going to happen.
No, just stay away from it, Lionel!
Stay away from it!
Bit too enthusiastic there.
-It says community bakery!
-We must go then.
THEY ALL LAUGH
The idea about the community bakery is that we are the heart
of the community, that bread is the most basic food that you get.
We're doing really well.
We're selling... Pumpkin pasties are an absolute hit.
Three-part series following a unique social experiment with one ambition - to reunite a community through bread.
Curate Cath Vickers is starting up a bread group in her home town of Bedale in the Yorkshire Dales. With the help of professional artisan bakers Patrick Ryan and Duncan Glendinning, she sees if they can generate enough enthusiasm to start up their own community bakery.
Meanwhile, a local mill is about to undergo a renovation, and the baking group hope to be able to use its stoneground flour in their baking.