Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Venture's Rising Success; Artisan Baker Ann Cudworth Makes a Crust from the Bread Making Workshops She Runs from Home. She''s on a Mission to Inspire a New Nation of Home Bakers. KATHARINE CAPOCCI Went to Meet Her

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Venture's Rising Success; Artisan Baker Ann Cudworth Makes a Crust from the Bread Making Workshops She Runs from Home. She''s on a Mission to Inspire a New Nation of Home Bakers. KATHARINE CAPOCCI Went to Meet Her

Article excerpt

Byline: KATHARINE CAPOCCI

THERE'S something very therapeutic about being elbow deep in claggy dough mixture in a toasty kitchen warmed by a giant Aga.

Especially when the kitchen's filled with the most tantalising aromas already emanating from several loaves rising to the challenge in the oven.

In the cosy environs of artisan breadmaker Ann Cudworth's homely kitchen in North Shields, I'm getting stuck in making soda bread.

'Stuck' being the right word as my hands are completely plastered with mixture after adding the all-important buttermilk to the flour mix.

Eventually transferred from fingers to something resembling a round shape, the bread is carefully placed on a baking sheet.

The top is marked with a deep cross and artfully scattered with my choice of cranberries and sesame seeds, before going into the oven for 30 minutes.

No proving needed for this one as there's no yeast involved. Which makes it a popular bread as it's quick and easy to make, says Ann, who runs her Dough Works bread-making classes from the kitchen of her late 1800s home.

And a well-equipped but very inviting kitchen it is, with its walnut units, black granite tops, tiled floor, and Aga, conventional oven, and giant bread mixing machine (which can take 10kg worth of dough, for when she's making super-size quantities).

Ann says: "There's something quite therapeutic about baking breads and people are really surprised at how they can do it.

"People enjoy the tactile bit, the handling the bread, the kneading the dough.

"There's been a surge in interest in home baking, too," acknowledges Ann, helped by the wall-to-wall cookery programmes on TV and also these credit crunch times we're living through, which are sending people back into the kitchen for home comforts.

Ann says she also gets a few men attending her workshops. "Men are interested in bread making particularly. It appeals to men greatly.

"Three rugby players came on one course recently. Two of them came back to do the Christmas one."

Ann, 52, is in her comfort zone bustling around her kitchen, checking on loaves in the Aga and supervising my efforts. She even knocks up a quick pizza for a lunchtime snack as we chat.

She is married to Phil, an anaesthetist at Sunderland Royal Hospital, and they have three children, Leisha, 23, Eamonn, 20, and Michael, 16.

For Ann there's absolutely no comparison between her lovingly made breads and the mass-produced supermarket offerings. "It's a different product. It's more wholesome, more real. There's no additives in it. You know what's going in." Ann's making a name for herself with her artisan breads, and not just through her workshops. Her sourdough rye with seeds was awarded a gold one-star prestigious Taste award from the Guild of Fine Foods in 2011. …

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