I’m Rebecca Bishop of The Next Loaf Baking School in Wenhaston, Suffolk. I teach fun, informative and hands-on baking classes that’ll leave you feeling inspired and eager to get back to your own kitchen to practise what you’ve learnt!  With Christmas fast approaching and lots of classes to choose from, a baking class gift voucher might be the perfect present for the baker in your life so they can choose the class they attend.

I’m also the author of the baking book Two Magpies Bakery and founder of Two Magpies Bakery.  Each month my column will feature a delicious seasonal bake, book recommendations, insider tips for ingredients, equipment and much more. To get the latest information sign up for my newsletter www.thenextloaf.co.uk or follow me on Instagram @thenextloaf

This month I’m mainly making… Rye Bread.

Rye is a grass that produces grains, or seeds, that are milled to make flour. The flour usually comes in two types, light rye or dark rye. Light rye is partially sifted to remove some of the bran or outer husk of the grain whereas dark rye contains all the bran so is a ‘wholemeal’ flour. Historically the cold and wet climate of Eastern Europe was most suited to growing rye, hence why it forms the backbone of much of the Scandinavian and Eastern European bread culture.

Rye is now grown in Britain to be milled into flour by company’s such as Suffolk based Hodemedods due to the growing appreciation of rye’s sour and tangy flavour and satisfying texture. In February, my Scandinavian bread baking class focuses on breads from this tradition – we’re talking dark, dense sourdough in various shapes and sizes full of spices, seeds and grains. My favourite way of eating this style of bread is very thinly sliced with a generous smear of butter, some sliced still warm boiled egg, a scattering of dill seeds and plenty of flaky sea salt.

To book a place on the Scandinavian bread baking class go to www.thenextloaf.co.uk/store/p/scandinavian-bread-baking-part-1

Baking know-how: Flour part 4

When I first starting baking I mainly used strong wheat flour, primarily white, for my bread. My shaping skills and confidence to ‘read’ and understand the dough’s properties was weak and white wheat seemed like a good place to start. As I grew in confidence and starting leafing through different books and recipes I realised that ‘flour’(essentially a ground up seed,) could come from many other grass-type plants such as spelt, einkorn, rye and barley and the type of flour you use affects how the dough reacts to yeast, hold it’s shape and tastes.

When you start to introduce new flours into your bread making repertoire I suggest you do so in small proportions to begin – maybe 10 -20% of the non-wheat flour. The gluten in some non-wheat flours, eg rye, spelt etc, doesn’t develop the same extensible strong network in the dough so can take some getting used to as you adapt your kneading and proving strategies. Similarly the hydration (water content) might need to alter to avoid the dough becoming floppy and weak.

Ginger Marmalade Parkin

This month I’ve been using up the sad glut of de-nuded, zested oranges in my fridge leftover from my festive bakes. ‘Juice them’, is the obvious answer, but another option was to replace some of the liquid in my favourite Ginger Parkin recipe with orange juice, add a few tablespoons of marmalade to the batter and layer thinly sliced oranges on the surface before baking (minus the remaining pithy skin). We all need a bit of sunshine in our lives in January, so here it is in cake form!

Ingredients: Serves 16
  • 175g plain flour
  • 175g muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125g porridge oats
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 80g milk
  • 80g orange juice
  • 45g black treacle
  • 1 egg
  • 1 orange (already zested is fine)


Preheat the oven to 150°c fan. Line a 20cm square tin lined with baking parchment. Weight the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, oats, spices and salt into a bowl.

Place the butter, treacle, milk, orange juice and marmalade in a small pan and heat until the butter is melted, don’t let it boil. Meanwhile break the egg into a bowl and gently whisk to break it up. Slice the peel/pith from an orange and slice thinly. Keep aside for decoration pre-baking.

Use a spatula to gently combine the warm butter mixture with the dry mixture then add the egg and combine fully. Pour the batter into the tin and arrange the orange slices on the surface.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until firm and dry in the centre with a rich deep brown. Colour Allow to cool fully before slicing. This cake keeps really well and gets even chewier and stickier after a couple of days in a tin.

Baking classes

The Next Loaf baking school is in Wenhaston, Suffolk. Classes are small so there’s lots of personal attention. They’re suitable for beginners or bakers looking for more consistency and challenge so we’ll be mixing, shaping and baking our way through an exciting range of classes including Scandinavian baking, Easter baking, Sourdough, parent and child baking and sourdough pizza – to name a few! Classes (and gift vouchers) are now available to book on my website www.thenextloaf.co.uk

Private baking classes

Planning a special get-together, hen-do or just love to bake with friends and family? If you’re interested in a bespoke classes in your own home for a maximum of 6 people get in touch with rebecca@thenextloaf.co.uk 

Upcoming events

• January 2024 onwards – Baking classes in Wenhaston (just off the A12 near Southwold)
visit my website www.thenextloaf.co.uk to book.