Mick Hartley, The Partisan Baker, purveyor of Bread, Advice, Books, Courses and Consultancy – only the jokes are bad (and there are plenty of them).
I am a very experienced, practical, down-to-earth baker of naturally leavened bread who loves baking and working with people who want to learn or improve their bread-making skills.
Microbakery: I have been baking sourdough for well over twenty years. In 2007, at the noble age of 60 and clearly heading into my second childhood, I set up Bethesdabakers, a home-based microbakery which at its peak supplied up to sixty individual customers plus restaurants, delicatessens and B&Bs. Back in 2007 there were no models for setting up a microbakery so I developed my own routines and methods of production, including a spreadsheet-based bakery management system.
In the course of running the microbakery I developed a repertoire of over 100 breads most of which have been created or heavily modified by me. In this I have been helped by supplying bread to Gert, a Dutch chef, whose menus roam the world alighting in a different culture each week. These cover the full range of sourdoughs: loaves, specials, ryes, flat breads, enriched doughs.
Training & Consultancy: For several years I have run training courses and provided a consultancy service for bakers at all stages from beginners to those moving into small scale commercial production and also to existing food professionals. Uniquely this has frequently involved individual tuition. I keep my prices down – I challenge you to find better value in the UK.
This work has included:
- Numerous one and two day courses for individuals and groups of home bakers.
- Microbakery courses for people wishing to bake bread for sale from home. Bakers have come from as far away as Belgium and Luxemburg to take part in these unique bespoke courses. At least seven bakers have gone on to establish small bakeries around the UK.
- Designing and running a modular course over several weeks to retrain a redundant worker as a professional baker with funding from the Welsh Government.
- Product development consultancy for a commercial bakery, training their staff and introducing a range of sourdough breads into a traditional craft bakery setting. This was also Welsh Government funded.
- Training courses for professional staff from three leading North Wales restaurants
Books: I have written, produced and published three bread books:
- Sourdough: Your guidebook to the world of Naturally Leavened Bread frequently described as the best sourdough primer available
- Bara Blas a Welsh Language version of Sourdough Made Simple
- Microbakin’ – Producing Bread For Sale From Home how to set up a home-based bakery.
Bethesdabakin’ In 2007 I organised a weekend baking event held in Bethesda, Snowdonia, which attracted bakers from the USA, Australia and Denmark as well as from all over the UK. This has become an annual event hosted by different bakers in different parts of the country and France. The ethos is one of sharing ideas, skills and costs. From its beginnings it has produced a whole network of bakers who remain in contact with each other, many of whom return to the event year after year. The ninth Bethesdabakin’ is being held in July this year at Trefriw in the Conwy Valley.