Destination Just for Us UK

Learning to bake at River Cottage

Posted on
September 24, 2015

I am not a big cook if I am honest. I make a mean Bailey’s Cheesecake, Lemon Drizzle cake and Gingerbread men, but since having Eliza and Sebastian I found I didn’t have time to bake, but now Eliza is at school full-time I intend to start again.
Yesterday I attended Blog Camp at River Cottage organised by the team at Tots100 and one of the sessions was a workshop where we learned to make our own butter and soda bread.
I have to admit I was really nervous as most of the other bloggers attending the event were proper foodies, but they were super supportive and we all pitched in together if another had a question. Our Chef teacher was Gill Meller who has been part of the River Cottage team for almost ten years started us off picking blackberries before our first challenge of making our own butter, and I was amazed at how easy it actually is.
Firstly, whip the cream until it is really stiff
River Cottage
Next, use a spatula to keep mixing the mixture until you start to see the liquid butter milk appear.
River Cottage
You then need to wet your hands with cold water and keep squeezing the mixture letting which extracts more buttermilk.
River Cottage
It is quite bizarre sensation but the mixture soon looks and feels like butter. It was then wrapped in greaseproof paper and popped in the fridge to set.
River Cottage
The buttermilk was set to one side and was to be used as one of the ingredients for our Soda Bread. We all cleaned our hands and workstations before watching Gill demonstrate how to make the Soda Bread.

Next it was our turn and we started off with a bowl of flour and oats.
River Cottage
We added all the ingredients that were on our workstation which included the blackberries we picked earlier, apples, goat’s cheese, herbs and of course the buttermilk.
River Cottage
This was all gently mixed together before being moulded into a circular shape and popped on the baking tray where I added more cheese to the top and made a cross cut through the middle.
River Cottage
The bread is baked in the oven at 200°C for 25 minutes.
Whilst it was cooking we watched Gill add flavour to his butter by laying herbs, salt and edible flowers on it and then rolling it which looked stunning when he had finished.
River Cottage
Knowing my family’s taste I decided to just add salt to mine, but I was more than happy with the result.
River Cottage
Butter back in the fridge it was then time to remove our bread from the oven and the whole room was filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread.
River Cottage
I was really pleased with my Soda bread and homemade butter and it has encouraged me that I can can actually cook. Watch out family, I am about to start trying new things to bake!
I would love to do a full Cookery Course at River Cottage. Prices start from £135 and they run everything from Christmas baking to mushroom foraging, Meat Curing and Smoking to Cakes and Sweet Pastry and much, much more.

  1. Reply


    September 25, 2015

    This sounded like an amazing event to go to, I wish I’d been able to go, looks like you had fun x

  2. Reply


    September 25, 2015

    I always think of River Cottage as being really meaty, but this is one thing I have always wanted to cook myself – can imagine the smells reading this 🙂

  3. Reply


    September 25, 2015

    It was such an amazing day wasn’t it? I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to have a proper chat. I love how you rolled your butter up – and Gill’s looks so pretty! My husband was very jealous I got to go to River Cottage, so we’re looking into going back at some stage so he can see it all for himself!

  4. Reply

    Sarah Ebner

    September 25, 2015

    Would love to have done this – it looks so much fun – and the bread and butter seem delicious too.

  5. Reply


    September 25, 2015

    My boys LOVE making butter, I wish this is something that I could have visited. It looks like everyone had a super fun day. Green with envy here

  6. Reply

    Fritha Strickland

    September 25, 2015

    I was following this on IG and it looked amazing! you lucky things! x

  7. Reply


    September 25, 2015

    It looks like it was a fantastic event, I wish I could have gone. I haven’t made butter for many years but I feel inspired to have another go now. plus it would give me the butter milk for my soda bread which I make all the time.

  8. Reply

    sam fernley

    September 25, 2015

    I’ve seen a few pics of this event now and it looked amazing. That bread got me very excited with using blackberries, what a super combination. I’d like to have a go at making that and the butter.

  9. Reply

    JuggleMum, Nadine HIll

    September 26, 2015

    I love hearing about this and I was watching along with interest on the day from Instagram. You did a great job and I bet your family will love this passion for baking – they’ll get the results!!

  10. Reply

    Verily Victoria Vocalises

    September 26, 2015

    I love that you took a video of the bread making! It was brilliant to see you and you have captured the baking session so well 🙂 xx

  11. Reply


    September 26, 2015

    Goodness me, making bread with freshly picked produce and only made butter, what a wonderful experience!xx

  12. Reply

    Mums do travel

    September 26, 2015

    It sounds like you all had a great time. You explained the butter and bread making process very clearly – you’ve made me think that even I could make them!

  13. Reply

    Joanne Dewberry

    September 28, 2015

    I love making bread but I’ve never tried soda bread before will have to give it a go. I’d not have thought of using the berries either.

  14. Reply


    September 29, 2015

    I’ve made bread 3 times since! SKillz for life 😉
    Lovely to see you there Kara – see you Saturday!

  15. Reply


    September 30, 2015

    Ooh this looks so lovely. I would love to know how to cook, I’m rubbish at all of it but this looks great and something I’d love to have a go at!

  16. Reply

    Donna @OrdCyclingGirl

    September 30, 2015

    What a great sounding event and I love soda bead. This looks wonderful! And I imagine it smells pretty great too!

  17. Reply


    October 1, 2015

    Oh this looks fun! Seems like you had a great day.

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog