Cookery school re-opening plan

Closing down our cookery school last April was like amputating half of Loaf, and not just financially. Teaching bread making and cookery skills is a fundamental part of what we do here so to lose that was a really big deal.

Because of its importance we’ve been reluctant to bring it back piecemeal. We’re proud of how we run the school and realised that teaching in a Covid-safe way would not allow us to reach the standards we demand of ourselves.

Now, with vaccination levels increasing and restrictions lifted we’re ready to plan for re-opening.

Here are the headlines.

The full cookery school, with all classes, will be running from January 2022.

These classes will be on sale from late October 2021.

All vouchers that expired, or were purchased, during the pandemic will be extended and remain valid through to 2023.

To prepare for the re-opening we will be running a number of smaller-capacity bread classes in the autumn. These will be initially offered directly to those who have graciously and patiently held on to their tickets from last spring, and then opened up to others should there be spaces. We won’t be taking reservations – please watch the weekly newsletter for announcements.

You probably have questions as to why we’re doing it this way. Maybe we can answer them here…

Why not fully re-open sooner?

Having shut down the school so completely it’s going to take a while to get things back online, from deep-cleaning to equipment maintenance. We also need to transition our brains from bakery mode back into teaching mode.

While we want to think positively, we are still in a pandemic. The situation could change and we could find ourselves in another lockdown this autumn. If so, we don’t want to invest time and effort only to cancel everything.

Until the school is running smoothly again our only income is the bakery. As government furlough support is phased out we need to maintain our cashflow, which slows down other activities.

Why January?

The run-up to Christmas is an important season in the bakery and we usually reduce classes to concentrate on the shop. After a tough year it’s more important that ever we focus on this period.

Why only bread courses this autumn?

The bread courses are taught by Loaf staff. Not having to hire external tutors means we can avoid a significant loss when running them safely in smaller groups.

Will you be offering any new classes?

Our current plan is to offer the same classes as pre-pandemic, as listed on the website, though we will be refreshing them from top to bottom. So if you bought a voucher expecting a specific class, you should be able to do it by next spring. We do have big plans for the cookery school in 2023 so watch this space!

2022 is a bit too long a wait. Can I get a refund on my voucher?

Of course. Please email us your details and we’ll sort it out right away.

Massive caveat!

A lot can happen in the next six months. We are being cautiously optimistic but if we need to change any of the above, we’ll communicate it via the newsletter and on this website.

Cookery School Dates

All our course until the end of the year are on our website using the handy Cookery School button.

We will be adding more dates for the new year next month….just in time for Shhhhhh Christmas presents. Speaking of which we also do Gift Vouchers for such an occasion!

Bread Courses

Our flagship Back to Basics class with Martha and Gordon is running fortnightly and Simply Sourdough, reworked from scratch by sourdough experts Rachel and Phil, gets regular from November.

But it’s not all loaves. Neil’s Viennoiserie class and Lap’s Macarons satisfy the sweet tooth while Phil will get you making fresh pasta by hand.

East Asian Cookery

Long-time Loaf collaborator Lap-Fai Lee demystifies Asian cuisine with delicious recipes you can do at home. These evening classes are enlightening, fun and delicious!

Indian Cuisine

Haseen from Pop up Dosa runs two evening classes at Loaf showing you how to make delicious Thaali and Dosa, and then eating it!


Our Masterclasses bring you back in touch with your food understanding where it comes from and how to prepare it. Seafood with Lap-Fai Lee will take the fear out of fishmongers, while Butchery, in collaboration with Rossiters of Bournville, will work through almost every part of the a pig.

Peels are back in stock again!

A peel is a wooden board with a handle used to quickly and safely take bread out of the oven. It’s effectively a large spatula, as demonstrated by Neil in this video:

Our new supplier of peels is Dale Hipkiss, a local artist and woodworker, who hand-makes them in his studio in Stirchley. You may know Dale from Artefact, where he works, and as part of the duo Hipkiss and Graney

The peels have been tested and approved by our bakers and are now on sale for £18 each. If you’re struggling to get your sourdough off the stone, come in and buy one!

August in the Cookery School


We’re well into the summer holidays now and August is just around the corner. August is always a time when Loaf slows down in the bakery, we have less courses and we take some time to reflect on how the year is going.

You may have seen our last post; we’re taking a week off at the end of August. We will be closed Tuesday 28th August until Friday 31st Aug, opening up as normal on Saturday 1st September and for the Thaali course on Tuesday 28th August.  We’re hoping to spend the time having a bit of a rest and all being well, giving the place a lick of paint – do you have any local recommendations for painters and decorators?

We have a handful of courses taking place and all of the following have availability – it would be wonderful if you’d like to join us on the and learn skills for life.

We’ll be making Som Tam Thai (spicy papaya salad), Nam Pla Ra (fermented fish relish with fresh vegetables), Pla Tort (deep fried grouper with Nam Jim sauce), Massaman beef curry and Yum Makeua Yao (smoky aubergine salad with egg).

Learn the art of dough lamination and creating classic sweet treats such as brioche, chelsea buns, cinnamon buns, and hot cross buns. You’ll also be turning your laminated dough into four classic viennoiserie – croissants, pain au chocolat, pain aux raisin, and danish pastries.

Learn how to make alkali noodles from scratch and use them in two classic Asian noodle dishes; Chinese dandanmian and Japanese ramen. Dandanmian is a Sichuanese street-food staple, quick and easy to prepare. Tonkotsu ramen is the slow simmered pork bone broth originating in the south of Japan and is now beloved globally. We’ll make all the usual accompaniments, the braised pork belly, marinated egg and black garlic oil.

Thaali is a meal made up of a selection of vegetarian dishes served on a platter. In Kerala it is known as Sadhya (banquet), traditionally served on a banana leaf, often in large quantities; for weddings and other special festivals and celebrations. Typical dishes include rice, daal, saambar, vegetable stir fries, papad, curd (yoghurt), and chutney or pickle.

The photo is Lap teaching on our Bao course, photo by Jack Spicer Adams.

Photos from Chinese Bao & Dumplings course

Last month we had our brilliant photographer Jack Spicer Adams in on our Chinese Bao & Dumpling course by Lap-fai Lee.

Here are some of the photos – mouthwatering!

The next class is on Weds 5th September and there’s only a couple of places left so don’t wait if you’re keen to learn how to make Chinese Bao & Dumplings.

Course highlight – Simply Sourdough (THIS WEEKEND!)

It’s Monday – so we are CLOSED. Although we are all in for a team meeting this afternoon!

This week we have three courses in the cookery school;

How to Make Dosa
Tue 17th, 6.30-9.30pp £65pp (one place available)

Bread Back to Basics
Thurs 19th, 9.30am-4pm £120pp (FULL)

Simply Sourdough
Fri 20th – Sat 21st, £120pp (6 places)

It’s a good time of year to book on to Sourdough – the bonus is we’ll teach you how to look after your starter in this (glorious) weather 🌞 we run this course once a month only, and it’s a two-session class – you’ll come in on a Friday evening to refresh the rye sourdough starter, and mix and knead the wheat sourdough loaves. You’ll return on Saturday morning to shape your wheat and rye loaves, and enjoy a hearty brunch with sourdough English muffins or sourdough pancakes. There’s plenty of time to discuss techniques, equipment and baking to suit your lifestyle. There is of course, lots of bread to take home too!

More information on the Simply Sourdough course page on our website. 

Places available on our cookery courses this month

Hi everyone, here’s the availability on courses we’re running in June!

Everything else is sold out this month! But if you’d like to join our waiting list you can sign up here:

Subscribe to our courses waiting list

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Cuffufle Preserves

If you’ve been to our shop, on one of our courses, or to Stirchley Community Market, you’ll have come across Cuffufle Preserves. We can’t get enough of her tasty preserves and the excitement of each seasonal variation that she brings us. At the moment we stock her wild garlic oils which are in high demand!
Rachel is a friend of Loaf and resident of Kings Heath. We stock some of her range which includes homemade jams, cordials, vinegars, oils and mustards. She uses all organic ingredients – and local, where possible. Ethics and sustainability are embedded in Rachel’s philosophy, and she focuses on quality not quantity.
We especially love her apple and roasted garlic chutney with cheddar and our Saturday maslin loaf.
If you’d like to learn how to make preserves you can join Rachel on Tuesday 12th June or Tuesday 10th July where she will be sharing her skills.
Book via our cookery school page.

Seafood Masterclass Photos

Thanks everyone who came down to Lap’s #MEGAFISH Seafood Masterclass at the weekend.

On Saturday we cooked all this from scratch;
Prawns a la plancha
Grilled mackerel
Roasted sea bream
Crab linguine
Crab pate and bonus crab shots!
Sole goujons
Oysters freshly shucked
Thai fish soup
Charred squid salad
Steamed turbot
Grilled lobster

The next date for this course is Saturday 16th June and there are places available if you’d like to join us. Book via our website.

Photos from attendees:


Course highlight – Japan

We have places available on our brilliant Japan course taught by expert Lap-fai Lee on Wednesday 25th April (three weeks tomorrow).

If you’d like to know how to cure fish for sashimi, prepare sushi rolls, make dashi, and properly cook rice then this is the course for you. Lap says: “Cooking Japanese food need not be daunting at all. Japanese home cooking is really straightforward and above all satisfying to eat.”

Like all Loaf courses it’s very hands-on and throughout the evening we’ll be tasting the fruits of our labour: sashimi, sushi rolls, nasu degaku, tonkatsu, and miso soup.

Please note, this course is not suitable for Vegetarians or Vegans. The ingredients are gluten free. Please email us if you need to know more about the allergens in this course.

Book via our website!…/flavour-geography-japan

Courses in March – with places


Here are courses with places left this month:
Tuesday 20th March – Thaali with Haseen from Pop Up Dosa (x4 places)
Thursday 29th March – Pork Butchery and Charcuterie with Lap-fai Lee and Rossiters Organic Butchers (x2 places)
Saturday 31st March – Bread: Back to Basics with Loaf’s Rob (x2 places)

Other than that our March courses are fully booked!

For our full course calendar please click the link below- we have lots more dates available.

ps we also sell Gift Vouchers (perfect for Mother’s Day did you say?!) available in the shop or online through our website.



Spring is around the corner and we couldn’t be more pleased!

Here are two lists – availability on courses published before Christmas and NEW DATES! Bookable via our Courses page on the website.

Places left on courses in Spring:

  • Sweet Breads and Viennoiserie – Saturday 24th February (2 places), Saturday 14th April (6 places)
  • Thaali – Tuesday 27th February – (1 place), Tuesday 20th March (4 places)
  • Bread: Back to Basics – 31st March (all places – date just added) Thursday 19th April (5 places)
  • Simply Sourdough – Fri 23rd / Sat 24th March (1 place), Fri 27th / Sat 28th April (7 places)
  • Pork Butchery & Charcuterie – Thursday 29th March (2 places)
  • Dosa – Tuesday 10th April (4 places)
  • Bao & Chinese Dumpling – Tuesday 17th April (1 places)
  • Seafood Masterclass – Saturday 21st April (4 places)
  • Knife Skills – Tuesday 24th April (1 place)
  • Japan – Wednesday 25th April (6 places)


  • Bread: Back to Basics – Sat 5th May / Thurs 24th May / Sat 26th May / Sat 2nd June / Thurs 14th June / Sat 7th July / Thurs 19th July
  • Simply Sourdough – Fri 18th/Sat 19th May / Fri 29th/Sat 30th June / Fri 20th/Sat 21st July / Fri 24th/Sat 25th August
  • Sweet Bread & Viennoiserie – Saturday 12th May / Saturday 9th June / Saturday 14th July / Saturday 11th August
  • Dosa – Tues 29th May / Tues 17th July / Tues 4th Sept
  • Thaali – Tues 1st May / Tues 26th June / Tues 28th Aug
  • Macarons – Weds 30th May
  • Thai – Weds 6th June
  • Preserving – Tues 12th June / Tues 10th July
  • Bao & Dumpling – Weds 20th June
  • Ramen – Thurs 21st June
  • Knife Skills – Weds 25th July
  • Japan – Thurs 26th July

Phew! We hope you find something you’d like to book on to – and we hope to welcome you soon.

You can find full course descriptions on the Cookery School page of the website.

New course: Preserving

Photo of preserves on a shelf

Photo of preserves on a shelf


We’ve just added new dates for a refreshed Preserves course at Loaf.

On this course, Rachel (Cuffufle Preserves) will show you the methodology of making jam, chutney, cordial and mustard. You’ll leave the course confident that you can make your own creations!

Rachel will talk through the pitfalls of where people normally make mistakes – how to avoid them – and what to look out for to know that you’re doing the right thing!

This course is perfect for keen gardeners or allotment-keepers – Rachel will explain how to make the most of your excess produce – and you’ll go home with recipes to use.

The course is £60 and includes refreshments, and all equipment needed during the course.

There are two dates available:

  • Tuesday 12th June, 6.30-9.30pm
  • Tuesday 10th July, 6.30-9.30pm

Book via the Cookery School page – Preserving.

Last courses in 2017

Last courses in 2017

We have a couple of spaces available on the following courses – the last ones in 2017!


  • Simply Sourdough –  This course is over two sessions, an evening and a morning, and the only place available in 2017 is Friday 3rd – Saturday 4th November (1 place)
  • Knife Skills 6.30-9.30pm on Weds 8th November  (3 places)
  • Ramen 6.30-9.30pm on Thurs 9th November (3 places)
  • Pork Butchery and Charcuterie 9.30am-4pm on Thursday 16th November (3 places)
  • Bread: Back to Basics 9.30am-4pm on on Saturday 18th November (3 places)
  • Thaali (NEW COURSE!) 6.30-9.30pm on Thursday 28th November (4 places)


All other courses for 2017 are completely booked up – but do not despair! If you’d like to plan ahead to 2018, dates are available.


We sell gift vouchers, redeemable against any course at Loaf, in multiples of £10. These can be purchased online via our cookery school page – see ‘Vouchers’ which is the first tile on the page. You are able to select your design (there are four available), you can add the name of the recipient, as well as a short message. You’ll receive a PDF of the voucher which you can print at home. Alternatively, physical gift vouchers are available to buy in the Loaf shop in the run up to Christmas – printed on coloured card.


Hopefully the booking process is relatively straight forward, but we can understand not everyone has done this before! If you would like to book on any course at Loaf, please click through to the relevant course on our cookery school page of the website or the calendar. You will then be able to select the date of the course you’d like to attend and make a payment from there. If you have any accessibility needs or dietary requirements you’ll have the opportunity to add this as a comment on your booking. Because the courses vary, please do read the descriptions for any allergens. You’ll receive an email confirmation of your place and a receipt. We’ll also send you a reminder nearer the time of your course. If you have any questions not covered by the course description please get in touch via the contact page. We look forward to welcoming you to Loaf!

Booking T&Cs

Course dates for 2018!

We’ve booked in our regular courses and there are new dates for them below. View all courses in calendar format or by each course on our cookery school page!

We sell gift vouchers in multiples of £10 – available to buy online here. Vouchers are valid for one year and are redeemable against any of our courses. 

Before you check out what we have in 2018 – we also also have some dates left on courses for the remainder of this year if you fancied a winter pick-me-up, courses including Ramen (Nov 9th), Pork Butchery and Charcuterie (Nov 16th) and Bread: Back to Basics (Nov 18th).

2018 dates
  • Bread: Back to Basics – 6th Jan / 13th Jan / 25th Jan / 3rd Feb / 10th Feb / 22nd Feb / 3rd March / 22nd March
  • Dosa – 9th Jan / 13th Feb / 13th March
  • Thai – 17th Jan 2018
  • Chinese Bao and Dumplings – 18th Jan
  • Bread: Simply Sourdough – 19th-20th Jan / 23rd-24th March
  • Handmade Pasta – 23rd Jan / 27th March
  • Seafood Masterclass (Fish & Shellfish) – 27th Jan
  • Thaali – 30th Jan / 27th Feb / 20th March
  • Knife Skills – 31st Jan
  • Pork Butchery and Charcuterie – 1st Feb
  • Japan (Sushi & more) – 7th Feb
  • Ramen – 8th Feb
  • Macarons – 14th Feb / 14th March
  • Viennoiserie & Sweet Breads – 24th Feb / 10th March
  • With more dates for Preserving on their way.

For info, some of the courses are around notable dates: Pancake Day Dosa – Tues 13th Feb. Valentines Day Macarons – Weds 14th Feb and Mothers’ Day (which is Sun 11th March) – we have Viennoiserie on Sat 10th March & Macarons Weds 14th March).