The Education of a Prospective Master -Part 1 of an occasional series

Part 1 of an occasional series. Part 2 can be viewed here.
If elected, I shall become Master of the Company in November 2017. I am not a baker but a former barrister and QC and now a judge at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey). I also admit that my knowledge of baking is slim. So I have taken it upon myself to try to master my brief so that I do have some appreciation and understanding of the various strands of the baking industry. That will include some hands on work in making bread and other products – however embarrassing that may be for me!
So, on 25 January, my first port of call was the premises of British Bakels at Bicester, through the good offices of its Managing Director and the Second Warden, Paul Morrow. My wife, Miriam, and I arrived there on a cold dank January morning. We were taken on a whistle stop tour of a local supermarket where Paul showed us all the breads for which British Bakels supply the ingredients. An impressive array.

And then to the factory where we were shown the staggering amount of flour, mixes, concentrates and other ingredients used to make many of the breads and cakes that the public buy. The care used in research and in developing the products is impressive.
Following that came the true test. With the help and under the guidance of some of Paul’s team, Steve and Andy, and using various mixes we “made” artisan bread, multiseed bread and even a strawberry gateau. It was a real experience and a first for me. The bread even looked like bread and tasted like bread! The time and patience shown by all was of real value to me because they gave me some insight into the industrial side of the baking industry.
On leaving we were given a goody bag containing some of our handiwork, though I am not sure how we are going to get through it all without putting on weight. So, if you see the Upper Warden looking a bit plumper than before, you will know why!
Stephen Kramer
Upper Warden