Review: Learning with BBC Maestro

Collaborative Post¦ You’re never too old to learn something new. I’m currently in my 4th year of studying for a social sciences degree (specialising in geography). However, that doesn’t entirely quench my thirst for learning. I also study a small amount of German daily. Just recently, I’ve been learning to bake all kinds of delicious bread with renowned Breton baker Richard Bertinet, thanks to BBC Maestro. Perhaps you’ve been wondering whether BBC Maestro is worth it and considering taking a course yourself? Let’s take a look at what I’ve learnt and how I’ve found my experience so far.

What is BBC Maestro?

BBC Maestro is an e-learning service where you can learn from the experts from the comfort of your home. With pre-recorded lessons and course notes, you can take as much time as you need to learn a new skill or expand your knowledge on an existing interest.

What courses are available on BBC Maestro?

There are a huge variety of courses from some very well known maestros! At present there are 20 available, with more in the works. There is definitely something to suit everyone, making a subscription to BBC Maestro an excellent gift.

Courses range from cooking simple but delicious food with Marco Pierre White, to writing for young adults with Malorie Blackman, to music production with Mark Ronson, comedy with Billy Connolly and dog training with Steve Mann. You can discover the full range of courses on BBC Maestro‘s website.

Bread making with Richard Bertinet

Getting started

I chose to learn bread making with Richard Bertinet, which comprises of 26 videos. After signing up to BBC Maestro and selecting this course, I was instantly emailed the course materials (which are very comprehensive!) I also watched the first couple of videos straight away. My first impressions were good, with the website being very user-friendly.

Usually I would skip introduction videos, but I watched this one and really enjoyed it. Richard Bertinet has a very warm personality which shines through the screen. It feels like you’re learning new skills from an old friend. I was stunned to learn that the way I was taught to knead bread at school isn’t the best way. Thanks to him, my dough is now so much airier and better than before. He also talks not just about the physical side of making bread, but mental too. Preparing, being patient and not just diving straight in. I’ve kept this in mind as I’ve followed classes in the course and it has definitely served me well.

Making my bread

The course notes and videos are easy to follow. I like to refer to both, but mostly follow the video and pause after each step as I follow it. I started off with the basics, making a basic dough and creating a paste to turn it into tiger bread. It was quite relaxing to bake of an evening once the children were in bed.

Better yet, I was really pleased with the results!

One evening, we baked camembert inside it with some fresh rosemary from the garden. It was so good – and definitely an incentive for me to make this bread again!

I’ve also made focaccia, again using rosemary freshly picked from the garden and some rock salt. Richard’s instructions are great and once again it turned out really well.

It’s so interesting how different each kind of dough looks and feels. I think the dough for challa bread has been my most favourite to work with so far. It felt so lovely and smooth, plus I got so many air pockets in it that were fun to poke with my finger! I also really enjoyed plaiting it. It was nice to eat a sweeter bread after the saltier ones I’d made.

Thoughts on the course

I am really looking forward to making other breads, such as bagels and sourdough. I’ve also noticed there is also a mince pie lesson. My family love to compare mince pies from different shops and bakeries to see which are best. As such, I might not be able to wait until Christmas to bake them. I need to get practicing if I’m going to win the title this year! I’m sure my husband will be more than willing to test them!

I have been having so much fun learning to bake bread with Richard Bertinet and I think the results speak for themselves. These were my first attempts and I think they looked pretty good. Plus, they were all delicious! Based on my experience, I highly recommend BBC Maestro and am hoping to take some of the other courses myself in the near future! I

Disclosure: I took this course in exchange for this review. As always, all views and opinions are honest and my own.