Use your loaf! Wallasey baker Ian Jones of Dodgshons Bakery shares the tips of his trade
IT’S bright and early on a Sunday morning and I’m standing in a baker’s apron watching Ian Jones give away the tips of his trade.
Ian is an award-winning bread maker, and part of the Great Britain baking team who won the Sigep Bread Cup International Bakery Challenge.
He’s been baking for as long as he can remember – his mum and dad have run the hugely popular Dodgshons Bakery for 30 years.
The bakery is on Magazine Lane, on the cusp of Wallasey and New Brighton.
He’s been in San Francisco learning specialist sourdough techniques from the world leaders there.
“I came back to the family bakery and I wanted to share some of the skills I’ve learned,” explains Ian, 26. “I’ve been baking all my life.
“Every time I put a batch of loaves into the oven and they come out as bread, it puts a smile on my face.”
Ian’s classes at the bakery are just one of his new ventures, which include launching a range to sell at farmers’ markets and sharing skills with other bakers.
“I want to teach people about how good bread can be,” he explains. “There aren’t many traditional bakeries around these days, and so a lot of people get their bread from mass produced factories or the supermarket.
“It’s a pale imitation of what good bread can be.”
When I visited he was showing the assembled class of eager foodies how to make a selection of beautiful artisan breads, made from fresh ingredients with no preservatives or artificial flavourings.
The first loaf up was the classic white. Forget the supermarket imitations – Ian’s is an impressive loaf with a delicious crisp crust and a tasty, chewy crumb.
Next was the classic brown cob and brown baguette. Again, they are fairly complex methods, which involve rolling and shaping the cob into a perfect sphere, and rolling out a perfect baguette, but somehow Ian made it look easy – and shares his tricks of the trade on how to get a perfect finish.
It was a small group of five on my course. The small group means he can cater for everyone individually, from beginners to experts.
To save time, Ian makes both types of dough at once, and then leaves them to bulk ferment. It’s the way most people cook at home and works well.
We also whipped up two slightly more unusual breads – the first a sweet bread to make Chelsea buns.
We also made focaccia, sprinkling it with rosemary, cherry tomatoes and sea salt.
The day ended in a fantastic meal and a goodie bag of treats to take home. And you can’t ask for much more than that.