Girls rise to the occasion at Portsmouth High’s bread baking challenge

There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread as girls from Gomer, Fernhurst, Hook and Warsash, St Albans and St Swithun’s schools visited Portsmouth High School on Thursday 19th May for a masterclass in bread making. The morning’s masterclass was followed by a bread bake-off competition in the afternoon. Traditional baking skills were brought to the school by Southsea baker Nikola Ondrouskova from Bread Addiction who began baking at home and turned her passion into a successful local Elm Grove bakery.

Nikki spent the morning teaching the girls about the essential ingredients for bread making and passing on top tips for creating a successful loaf. The girls then put their new skills into practice and made their own loaf of bread.

After lunch, pupils were set the challenge of baking bread fit for an event of their choice. The teams had to present their loaves to the judge explaining what they know about bread making and describing what is was that made their loaves special.

From loaves made in honour of the Queen’s 90th Birthday to a school summer fete, the girls worked hard in perfecting the skills they had learned during the morning.

The winning team was from Gomer Junior School who delighted Nikki with their animal party theme. With a beautifully made snail, snake and hedgehog the girls won the challenge and were each presented with a Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking by Head of Design and Technology, Mr Graeme Field.

‘We are so fortunate to have the opportunity of an expert baker, Nikki, from Bread Addiction, working with the girls on this challenge. Everyone will leave here with valuable skills in bread making and an awareness of how traditionally made bread is baked. We want the children to understand where their food comes from and how it is made and not take the convenience of buying everything from a supermarket for granted.’

Judge Nikki said:

‘I have had a lovely day and the girls have been very receptive to the challenge. It was a such a hard decision to make as the girls were quick to learn baking skills and were so imaginative. If the girls were a little older I would be employing them in our bakery.’

Hailey Prentice, 10, from Hook and Warsash school, said:

‘I have learned to be patient in bread making and to tell when the bread is ready for the oven by its texture.’

‘It has been a really good day,’ added Lacey Mengham from St Albans. ‘It is great that we have learned how to bake bread and what ingredients we need.’