THE COMBINED COURSE: 4 DAY WORKSHOP + 200+ HOURS OF GUIDED BAKING ONLINE
Celebrating its 12th anniversary, our Combined Sourdough Course is renowned as the most all-encompassing sourdough baking course available. This unique blend of a hands-on 4-Day Workshop and an extensive online component—comprising over 200 hours of guided baking—offers an unparalleled experience in the art of sourdough.
In-Person Workshop Experience: During the 4-Day Workshop, you will bake alongside Vanessa Kimbell and her skilled team. The workshop is more than just learning recipes; it’s an immersive exploration of sourdough’s nutritional value, digestibility, and sensory attributes including aroma, texture, and flavour. Our approach is to instil not just knowledge but a deep, intuitive understanding that is crucial for crafting exceptional sourdough bread. This workshop is an opportunity to engage with the art of baking on both a physical and emotional level, transforming your approach to sourdough.
Online Baking as Lifestyle Medicine Certificate: Complementing the workshop, the online course provides over 200 hand selected hours of guided baking, rich with academic resources from our libraries of over 500 hours of lessons .The course covers a range of topics over the year, from the fundamentals of sourdough preparation to the complexities of its impact on health and well-being. The course is designed to be flexible, allowing you to learn at your own pace and delve deeply into the intricacies of sourdough baking.
Join The School and embark on this transformative journey with us, where you will not only learn about sourdough but also experience its profound connection to nature, health, and community. This course is more than an education—it’s a celebration of the art and science of sourdough baking
What will I learn on a workshop?
Workshops are development days - bridge the gap between theory and practice.
This is about the BALM Experience: A Sensory Connection Workshop
Welcome to a unique exploration at BALM Training Academy. Having delved into the principles of Baking As Lifestyle Medicine (BALM) through a year of online learning, the workshops are an opportunity to connect on a deeper, more sensory level. Our connection workshop days are designed to bring you closer to the heart of BALM.
A Sensory Journey into BALM: This is not just a continuation of your online studies; this is an invitation to see, touch, taste, smell, and eat BALM. Engage with the workshop style that involves baking, creating, developing, discussing, photographing, and applying principles to recipes that are usually published. Get up close to how we produce course material, participate in the process, and become integral to the BALM experience.
Here's What Awaits You:
- Understanding Your Ingredients: I love that you get to feel the texture of the flour, inhale the smells of the dough as it ferments and the bread as it bakes, and create blends that awaken your senses.
- Mastering Sourdough: Handle wholegrain starters, control flavours, and savour the lunches and the baked sourdough.
- The Art and Science of Bread: This is about observing variables affecting fermentation, experimenting with hydration, and appreciating nuances in creating something from scratch and of craftsmanship in shaping and scoring.
- Holistic Health Approach: Explore the connection between bread and gut health through flavours, textures, and the beneficial effects on the body.
By immersing yourself in the workshop, you'll bridge the gap between theory and practice, between learning and living BALM. You'll leave not only with new skills and knowledge but with a profound connection to the art and science of baking as lifestyle medicine.
What is included in a Workshop?
Included in the Sourdough School Workshop and Online Certificate:
- Scheduled Activities: All activities in the teaching timetable, including swimming, yoga, sound baths, and guest tutor sessions.
- Meals and Refreshments: This includes tastings, lunch, unlimited tea, coffee, and breads to take home.
- Course Materials: Ingredients needed for the course, a portion of Sourdough School starter to take home, pre-course materials, worksheets, and access to relevant recipes.
- Additional Takeaways: Items created during the course, like pickles, soups, and sometimes butter, subject to availability.
- Certificates: Awarded upon appropriate completion of the course.
- On-Site Meals and Snacks: Food and snacks provided throughout the day.
- Scheduled Excursions: Travel to destinations such as flour mills or farm shops on retreats.
Students are Responsible for:
- Travel and Accommodation: Responsibility of the students.
- Travel Insurance: Essential for covering short notice cancellation of course fees.
- Evening Meals: Not included unless scheduled as part of the course.
- Travel Coordination Among Students: The school does not facilitate this due to health and safety reasons.
- External Expenses: Any expenses outside the school, such as travel and accommodation, are the student’s responsibility.
What do I need to bring with me to a workshop?
A handy checklist of things you need to bring with you.
The most important thing that you need to bring with you is an open mind and compassion. We are not a traditional cookery school. Vanessa will ask that you dig deep into what bread means to you, and why this matters. After that, each course has its own life.
YOU MUST have filled out the student record form to attend (and have had an interview with Vanessa.) This form includes your information and food preferences. if you do not fill out the form then you are NOT BOOKED until you do so. We cannot teach you without this information, as it is used in our health and safety, fire register, allergy assessment and emergency contact details.
Please remember to PRINT your booking information sheet which has a handy record of all the things you need to remember including directions. If it is not you coming on the course then please remember to get the person coming to fill in the student registration and to print this document for the person coming on the course.
- Bring 2 aprons and indoor shoes. Please choose non-bright colours when choosing your apron and avoid wherever possible any bright colours or red. We have a policy of inclusion and we pay particular attention to reducing sensory overload through colours and sound. This helps make The Sourdough School a calm and relaxing environment for neurologically diverse people, and by asking that you wear neutral colours whenever possible this significantly reduces overload of the senses, making the environment calm for everyone.
- Remember to bring a basket or bag to take your bread, your bakes, and several other bits and pieces home with you on your last day.
- International students, please do allow space in your luggage to take many items back with you.
- You need to bring a pair of trainers or shoes to walk in, something warm to wear and a flask – we will fill it with hot tea. If you want to cycle then please bring something appropriate to wear – the route is some tarmac and a well-used track, but it can be muddy in places.
- Ensure you have booked a taxi home after the workshop finishes at 6.15 pm.
- Check your arrival time. Do not turn up early (unless you have arranged to go for a walk with Vanessa before the workshop starts)
- Bring any other of Vanessa's books that you would like signing.
- 3 plastic containers with lids if we make things like jam, cultured butter and pickles so you can take some home (please ensure they are sterile and odourless) and a small plastic bottle (an empty water bottle is good) to take syrups home.
- A lunch box or container for soup - often I make extra so that students can take home salad, soup and bread for supper.
- A torch – essential in the winter, as it gets very dark and we do not have flood lights.
- If you are on a bike please bring a bright jacket as we are very rural and the roads are not lit.
- I am assuming that you will remember your passport if you need it.
Question: How many students will attend a course?
My preferred number of attendees for workshops and retreats ranges between 4 and 6. This count strikes a balance between fostering a vibrant and engaging environment and ensuring personalized attention for each participant.
For one-day events, which are typically more academic, we can host up to 12 individuals. Please note that these sessions primarily involve demonstrations and discussions as opposed to hands-on baking due to the larger group size.
For larger events, we can accommodate up to 18, such as the Tuscan baking week.
In the case of a course appearing fully booked on our website, there may be circumstances under which we can accommodate an additional student. Should this be your situation, please reach out directly to Libiana@sourdough.co.uk. She will then determine if offering you a place on the course is feasible.
What Is The Difference Between A Workshop & A Retreat?
When you enroll in The Sourdough School's Certificate Programme, the monthly fee of £29.99 provides a comprehensive package, but it's important to note that access to certain features, including our extensive libraries, is granted after completing the registration process and an interview. Here's a detailed overview:
- Registration and Interview Process: Before gaining access to the full range of resources, you must complete the registration and go through an interview process. This step ensures that all our students are well-suited for the programme and can fully benefit from what we offer.
- Access to Extensive Libraries (Post-Interview): After completing the registration and interview, you will gain access to our extensive libraries. These libraries are stocked with tutorials, in-depth studies, and various materials to enhance your sourdough baking skills.
- Dedicated Support Services: The monthly fee includes access to dedicated support services, ensuring that you receive the necessary assistance and guidance throughout your learning journey.
- Participation in Live Sessions: Your fee also covers participation in our live sessions. These sessions are crucial for real-time learning, allowing you to engage directly with instructors and fellow students.
- Continuous Learning Opportunities: Beyond the core syllabus, your fee provides ongoing access to a wide range of tutorials and resources, enabling you to learn at your own pace and deepen your understanding of sourdough baking.
- Forum Access: As part of the programme, you will have access to our community forum. This platform is a great way to connect with peers, share experiences, and gain insights from the sourdough baking community.
- Personal Guidance from Vanessa Kimbell: The fee includes the opportunity to receive personalised guidance from Vanessa Kimbell. Her expertise and insights are invaluable to the programme and will aid greatly in your sourdough baking journey.
Please remember, your full engagement with the course materials and resources begins after the completion of the registration and interview process. We're here to support you every step of the way and look forward to welcoming you to our community. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to reach out to our support team.
Please note that while full access to the course syllabus is granted in the third week of September, your learning can begin immediately upon registration and enrolment through the use of our libraries and participation in live sessions.
We believe this structure provides a balanced and thorough approach to learning, enabling you to make the most of your educational experience with The Sourdough School. If you have any questions or require further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact our support team.
We look forward to supporting you on your sourdough baking journey
What recipes will I learn to bake on the certificate?
- Simple 10-Minute Tin Loaves: These are likely to be basic recipes designed for ease and efficiency, suitable for beginners or those with limited time.
- Heritage Grain Breads (like Emma Spelt Tin Loaves): Recipes using ancient or traditional grains, such as spelt, which are known for their distinct flavors and nutritional profiles.
- Sourdough Pastries: This could include a variety of pastries made with sourdough starter, adding a unique flavor and texture compared to traditional yeast-based pastries.
- Sweet Recipes (like Cakes): These are likely to explore the use of sourdough in sweet bakes, a less common but intriguing application of sourdough fermentation.
- Creative Uses of Leftover Sourdough Starter: This category could include recipes for pancakes, waffles, and muffins, utilizing excess sourdough starter that might otherwise be discarded.
- French-Style Ambient Techniques (e.g., Beetroot and Feta Bread): Recipes that involve ambient (room temperature) fermentation, possibly with unique ingredient combinations like beetroot and feta.
- Retarded Techniques for Mid and High Hydration San Francisco-Style Overnight Loaves: Advanced sourdough bread techniques that involve longer fermentation times, typically resulting in a more complex flavor profile.
- Baguettes: The classic French bread, likely with a sourdough twist.
- Brioche: A rich, soft bread typically made with a high proportion of eggs and butter, adapted here for sourdough preparation.
- Cinnamon Rolls: A sweet, rolled pastry, usually with a cinnamon filling, adapted for sourdough baking.
- Pocket Breads: These could include varieties like pita or other flatbreads that puff up to create a pocket.
- Panettone Course: A traditional Italian Christmas bread, rich in eggs, dried fruits, and citrus zest, adapted for sourdough baking.
- Pizza Recipes: Diverse approaches to sourdough pizza crusts, likely exploring different toppings and styles.
- Focaccias: An Italian flatbread, often topped with herbs and olive oil, made here with a sourdough base.
- French Regional Breads: A category that could include a variety of breads specific to different regions of France, each with its unique sourdough interpretation.
These tested and photographed recipes represent a broad and diverse range of sourdough baking, from the simple to the complex, and from the savoury to the sweet. They offer students a comprehensive experience in sourdough baking, covering a wide spectrum of techniques and styles