Words from one of our apprentices

I handed over the blog reins today so that everyone could hear from one of our apprentices. I am absolutely delighted to be publishing this story – of course I say story but it is reality:

“This short story is about how I ended up finding my love for baking.

When I was young my dad was a baker by trade. He used to work in the Central Hotel in Glasgow’s central station. He used to say (when we were out with family after a couple of drinks) that he used to make the queen’s rolls anytime when her train was up in Glasgow.

My earliest memory is from when I was about five years old. My dad would be in the kitchen baking and I would be sitting in the living room with my mum who was feeding my wee brother. I could smell these wonderful bread, rolls or pastries getting made. That would get your mouth watering and your stomach making all sorts of noises.

And I would jump up off the floor, after playing with my other brother Andrew who was three years old, and go running into the kitchen.

I would hear my mum shouting on my dad telling him that I was on my way. My dad would get me a chair from the kitchen and sit it in the hall outside with the kitchen door open.

I remember just sitting watching my dad doing his magic, with this white ball in his hand, moving it about the kitchen worktop, doing it one handed then two handed. It looked amazing.

And when he opened the oven door, the smell was unbelievable and if me and my wee brother were good, we would get a treat.

So in June 2015 when I was in H.M.P Low Moss, there were mini posters going around the prison saying they were starting a new work party which was called the Freedom Bakery.

I filled out a job application form and went for an interview. I had a good talk with Matt Fountain, the founder of the bakery, and I got accepted.

At first I was not really interested as I was coming off my meds. The cooks, and everybody in the bakery, thought I wouldn’t last, or I would’ve got the sack from it.


HMP Low Moss

The head baker Scott (who is a Master Baker) took me to the side and started to train me and show me how to do breads and pastries.

Then he would leave me alone and would stand back and give me pointers. I would start to make things from the beginning, and seeing the finished product was amazing. I was learning to make my own bread, which is named after me. It is called a Lennox Loaf. It has three different types of flour, walnuts, malt extract and salt, sugar and yeast.

It will cost you £3:45 outside. Cafes in and around Glasgow buy it. I also make Copenhagens which sell well. That is a croissant dough rolled out with a marzipan and apricot spread with currants sprinkled on top, then you fold the dough over, give it a small roll with a rolling pin to tighten it up, cut into strips, then shape.

Once they have proved and then been baked to a nice golden brown, put on cooling rack. Heat up some apricot jam in a pot then brush over the top of the Copenhagens until you have a nice glaze. Then brush on some icing sugar, roast some almonds until lightly brown, and sprinkle over the top. They go for £1:20 outside.

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When you see the end product it gets your mouth watering. Even now as I’m typing this up I just want to get into the kitchen and start baking.

I’ve got a real passion for baking now. Maybe it’s genetic, passed down from father to son. I know if my dad & mum where still alive now they would be very proud of me.

Oh also I got told that I passed my Bakery Course!”