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Christmas Bread and Baking

The doughy heart of our Christmas, this bestselling signature course transforms loaves, brioche and focaccia for your festive celebrations.

Christmas Bread and Baking is the doughy heart of our festive cookery school schedule. We bake all our own bread here at HQ and love to share our expertise with guests attending our bestselling bread classes. As we head towards the end of the year the RC Tutor Chefs pull out their special festive recipes and give every day staples a fantastic Christmas twist.

The day begins with an explanation around the principles of bread making, inspiring you to abandon shop bought loaves for the seductive world of home baking. The practical sessions kick off with a golden buttery brioche before you tackle a traditional farmhouse loaf, festively transformed by the additions of sage, onion and chestnut. You will also master salt speckled grissini, gingery Lebkuchen and a Boxing Day focaccia elevated with Christmas leftovers like roast potatoes, stuffing and herbs.

There will be an opportunity to explore our beautiful old walled kitchen garden, enjoy tasters and sit down to a delicious seasonal lunch prepared by our chefs. At the end of the day you will head back up the hill, hearts full of Christmas spirit and hands full of handmade treats!

Your day

09:30 - 17:00

  • Arrive at River Cottage

    You’ll be met at the top of the hill at 9.30am and transported to River Cottage HQ by tractor and trailer (approx. a 5-minute journey).

  • Make yourself at home

    You will meet your host, and start the day with tea, coffee and treats fresh from the kitchen.

  • Session one

    We will begin the day with getting your Christmas brioche under way and you’ll learn about the baking journey.

  • Session two

    You’ll learn the basics, get to know the ingredients, learn about the differences between flours and yeasts, and get to grips with your sage, onion and chestnut loaf.

  • Session three

    Next we will be mastering grissini, beautifully flavoured, and served with seasonal dips from the kitchen.

  • Session four

    We’ll prepare a focaccia and learn about this delicious style of sharing bread, perfect for your Boxing Day guests.

  • Lunch

    You’ll refuel with a hearty lunch of local, seasonal fare prepared by the River Cottage chefs, with optional sprouts!

  • Session five

    After lunch we’ll get stuck into making Lebkuchen a lovely German gingerbread for nibbling over the festive season.

  • Teatime

    After all your hard work, you’ll sit down to sample your own freshly baked brioche with homemade River Cottage jam.

  • Q&A

    By now you will be probably be bursting with questions, so this will be your opportunity to take away some expert advice for festive baking at home.

  • Departure

    There will be time to chat to your fellow scholars and the River Cottage team, before being whisked back up the hill by our tractor and trailer (at 5pm), Christmas bakes in hand.

Please note: This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone and will depend on seasonal availability.

On occasion cookery schools will use equipment that includes induction hobs. It is recommended that people with pace makers should not work on these units. If you are concerned or would like to check whether or not induction hobs will be used on the course you are interested in, please call us on 01297 630302.

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Total - £0.00

All prices include VAT.

Further information...

This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.

We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines available to purchase.

Stay in our famous Farmhouse, click here. For other local accommodation click here.

We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.

Sorry, we’re afraid this course is not suitable for those with coeliac disease or wheat intolerances. However we do run Gluten Free Cookery courses.

With many of our courses there are often treats and leftovers to take away with you. In our quest to be more sustainable we are encouraging guests to bring their own containers and bags to transport their produce home. Details of what is required for each course will be included in booking emails.

  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Food and Travel Magazine 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2018