Bakery business Campbells in Crieff, who have seven generations of baking heritage to draw on, have launched Scotland’s first dedicated bake school. 

Following on from the recent resurgence of interest in baking and bread making skills, and the fact that the business has just trained two award-winning apprentices, Campbells, which was established in 1830, is set to launch its own bake school.

The school will offer a series of three and a half hour long tuition sessions on Saturday afternoons with seventh generation baker Iain Campbell at the helm, covering traditional sweet and savoury Scottish baking, bread making and confectionery skills, as well as classes on more unusual worldwide influences.

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Picture: Campbells

To suit all skill levels, it will be based at the Campbell’s bakery in King Street, Crieff, which has plans to eventually become a “brown sign” visitor destination with increased production space, offering training and bakery tours. Run by Iain and wife Ailsa also operates another bakery in the nearby village of Comrie.

Iain Campbell, who won the prestigious British Confectioners’ Challenge Cup in 2012-14, and has been responsible for training two winners of the Young Scottish Baker of the Year Award, in 2009 and 2014, said: “We are very excited indeed to announce the launch of this bake school.

“Baking is in my DNA, and is something I love to do. It would appear that many more people in this country are now wanting to join me and learn more about baking, to master the professional techniques and develop their own ideas and signature bakes.

“Clearly, this has been fuelled by TV programmes such as ‘The Great British Bake Off’. We’re not complaining as not only have they made baking hugely popular again, they have put artisan producers like us in the spotlight.

“We had thought about creating our own bake school for a while before we got to the research and development stage which saw us striving to make the dream a reality.

“Regular customers had asked us about one and said they thought it would be a good idea. I am used to interacting with people and giving out tuition. Something I have really enjoyed doing for the past few years, is hosting local school children who have come into the bakery for a ‘Day at Work’ experience.”

Iain added that now was the “perfect time” to launch the Bake School as “the next step in developing the King Street premises, where the business has been based since 1929″.

The King Street shop in Crieff is attached to a currently derelict hotel, the former Strathearn Hotel, which has been deteriorating since 2007. Iain and his wife Ailsa, who has become heavily involved in efforts to regenerate Crieff town centre, wish to see the building developed into a new attractive site which will benefit the whole town, and provide them with the scope to safely expand their premises to incorporate a larger bake school.

Ailsa Campbell, who is a graphic designer to trade and is responsible for Campbells Marketing strategies as well as visual merchandising, explained: “We have joined forces with a local property developer, Braemore Estates, which is opposite the derelict hotel on Commissioner Street. We have also lined up the Denholm Partnership, a local firm of architects to design the new building. We are presenting a unified front of local businesses to propose a workable plan for this building.”

“If we can get the go ahead there will be enough room for us to expand our business. It’s the first step to obtaining a brown sign for the bakery as a top visitor destination.

“In the mean time Iain and I are delighted that the bake school is now open.”

• For further details on Campbells Bake School check out their website at www.campbellsbakery.com

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