An interview with master baker Richard Bertinet
To celebrate the launch of his new, online Bread Making home baking online course with BBC Maestro, we caught up with well-loved and respected baker Richard Bertinet. Richard first fell in love with baking as a 14-year-old apprentice in his native Brittany, but has been cooking, baking and teaching in the UK for over 30 years.
Now, you can learn Richard’s straightforward methods and bake masterpieces at home, from your own sourdough starter to pizza, brioche, burger buns and focaccia. His clear demonstrations demystify baking and there is something in this brilliant course for home bakers and aficionados alike.
People love watching you bake because your absolute enthusiasm really shines through. Where do you get your love of food from?
I think it originates from my childhood – food was a big part of family and growing up. And now I just love teaching it. I love seeing someone’s face when they learn a new skill.
What is the biggest misconception about bread?
The biggest misconception is that bread is bad for you… bad bread is bad for you .. good bread is good for you. There is nothing in a good loaf that we all cannot enjoy. Sometimes it is what you put on it that might be bad for you.
How crucial is seasoning when it comes to baking?
Sea salt is fundamental to bread making. It’s crucial for colour and flavour and it also helps to keep the bread fresher as well as stabilizing the fermentation.
It’s late, you’re hungry and you want something to eat quickly. What do you make?
Good bread with a drizzle of good olive oil, lots of good tomatoes and good salt … simplicity
What has been your biggest disaster in the kitchen to date?!
There’s been a few challenging episodes over the years! From running out of food mid-service or fridges breaking down in hot summer. Another memorable one was teaching my eldest son and a friend of his to make mayonnaise in a blender. They forgot to put the lid on and we covered the kitchen – and ourselves!!
The best smell in the world?
The Atlantic Ocean on stormy day
What is the best piece of advice you would give home bakers?
Be patient … don’t give up … try again
What do you hope people take away from your new course?
With the help of my BBC Maestro course on Bread Making I hope people will have a lot more confidence about their baking and a willingness to give it all a go.