Sweet lockdown Tales…

If we were to find a silver lining to the recent lockdowns, we would definitely take a moment to appreciate the beautiful works that both baking enthusiasts and professionals have created over the quieter months. Sweet Lockdown Tales is a corner of our community, dedicated to introducing to you all those passionate existing or freshly turned lockdown bakers, who kept themselves busy and happy in the kitchen.

We are delighted to introduce you to Charlotte from Surrey Bakeology.

What does baking mean to you?
Baking is at the heart of everything I do. I am very passionate about food and after my experience of working in a bakers I love nothing better than trying new recipes, learning new skills and sharing my bakes with my elderly neighbours, friends and family. My five year old daughter loves a homemade bake especially after school and if there is an excuse to bake for a family occasion I will be back in that kitchen to try something new and exciting!

What is the most cherished childhood memory you have related to baking?
I remember going to my Nan’s house after school to enjoy her homemade cakes and during my childhood my Mum used to teach me the skills to bake using “The Dairy Book of Home Cookery” by Sonia Allison. A classic recipe book which is still alive and kicking but looking a bit sorry for itself as it is well used!

How did you start to bake?
My earliest memories of baking was with my Mum at home. In my teens I had a Saturday shop assistant job in a traditional bakers and after a year I was given the opportunity to start 4am shifts producing the delicious bakery products for the shop floor. I also put myself forward to work in the cake decorating department where I gained my piping skills which I still use today.

Do you think that without baking lockdown would have been different? If yes, in what way?
Without lockdown I would still be working in corporate events but lockdown has allowed me to fall in love with baking and given me the time to bake more frequently, try new recipes, potentially change my career and focus on what I’m most passionate about; food and photography.

How has baking during lockdown impacted your future plans?
After sharing my lockdown baking antics with a friend she noticed how passionate I was and after receiving daily motivation and praise she encouraged me to start my own blog and then “Surrey Bakeology” was born. Now I’m seeking to enhance my baking and photography skills and look at finding a path to provide flexibility around family life whilst giving something back to my local community.

What is your favourite thing to bake?
Now this is a very hard question to answer as you will see from my blog I bake anything and everything. Loaf cakes I find super easy, piping cupcakes I find therapeutic but discovering how to make super easy artisan bread is very satisfying indeed.

Baking is said to help with our mental health. What are your thoughts on this?
Baking is certainly an escapism as it allows me time to focus on what I’m good at. Nothing is more satisfying than producing a bake that not only looks good, tastes good but the best part is when you receive compliments which makes my day.

Tell us an awkward/funny/ challenging situation connected to one of your bakes and how did you manage to save the day.
To be brutally honest I know my oven so well now I rarely have any challenging situations but one day I did under prove an artisan halloumi and mint loaf and after it came out of the oven it resembled a flatbread, needless to say it went straight in the bin!

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their baking journey?
Go for it! It maybe daunting to start with but we are have to start somewhere. Try different recipes at home, follow baking blogs on Instagram to spark your enthusiasm and give you inspiration for your next bake, watch reels to learn new skills, share you bakes and remember to persevere as not every bake will turn out how you want it to.

What is the one bake that everyone should try from you?
It has to be the “World’s easiest yeast bread recipe- Artisan no knead” by Nagi at Recipetin Eats. This is an ultimate game changer, so easy and the results are incredible. After a few attempts to perfect this loaf I decided to create my own variations by adding different ingredients. Now this loaf is baked at least once a week and consequently I have no need to by a fresh loaf of bread from a supermarket bakery as I can produce one at home for half the price without compromising on taste.

How can we contact you?
If you feel inspired by my bakes and would like to attempt some tried and tested recipes please follow my Instagram account: @surreybakeology or Facebook account: @surreybakeology and contact me via DM.