Meet Lydia and Mike, our artisan sourdough bakers in the heart of Andalucia
Lydia and Mike are proud owners of their very own micro-bakery in Andalucia and now teach artisan bread baking to those eager to have a go at this rewarding hobby.
With their bakery nestled in the Lecrin Valley with the Sierra Nevadas as their backdrop, the location of their family home seemed too good to be true…
“We’re about a 30 minute drive from Granada too, so we have the best of both worlds. You can find weekly markets in the valley villages, and get a taste of the local culture. The area only lacked in one thing – I could not get a decent loaf anywhere!”
So this husband and wife team joined forces – Mike armed with killer sourdough recipes and techniques, Lydia with her incredible croissants and the secret to flaky pastry…
How did this family business start?
My wife, Lydia, hails from Nigeria, and I’m a retired accountant from England. Between us, we love our meals and we can cook up an international storm. However, my special craving was always for the sourdough I discovered in San Francisco in the 1970s, and I figured if I couldn’t find it, I would find a way to master it.
Life moves on and 2 children later, we turned a hobby into a family business, embarked on a whole new lifestyle (So long, accounting!) and we couldn’t be happier.
What makes your holiday unique?
Just all of it. We have fully embraced the world of sourdough, and fitted the micro-bakery with everything that up to 4 people would need to get elbow deep in the dough and learn the entire practice from start to finish. And believe me, this took us years to master! BUT, we have gone through all of the trial and errors over the years, to make it simple for you.
Everything is hands-on and we treat guests as part of the family and invite them to share our home, sunny verandahs, laughs and food. You’ll even leave with some mother culture to carry on your own baking at home.
Lydia has seriously mastered croissants, pains au chocolat and pains au raisins, and they are the best I have ever tasted. Although I may have started this journey with my own fixation 40 years ago, Lydia can indeed bake. Feel free to shadow us in the kitchen while you’re here – jot down some recipes and take them home with you!
What are the benefits of being able to bake your own bread?
Once you have a good foundation, start up a stall at your local market. Turn on your favourite music, and create the perfect loaves for Christmas presents or a special occasion. Or, just simply relish your own creation on a Sunday morning, or anytime at all!
Think of it this way – I have done years of failed recipes and bizarre loaves to make this easy for you – and a family that bakes together, will always eat together!
It’s also important not to overlook the health benefits of sourdough, which is a natural probiotic and is free of all additives. It is well documented as being incredibly easy to digest and ideal for diabetics and people with non-celiac gluten intolerance.
What are your other foodie passions besides sourdough?
I adore seafood – a simple bowl of rustic moules frites or marinières, or a lobster thermidor, they’re my favourites.
Lydia loves to whip up West African specialities, yet her empinadas are no joke.
We seriously don’t live on bread… alone.
What foodie adventures are on your bucket list for the future, Lydia?
Mike would one day like to retire from teaching full-time, so he can focus on spinning pizza dough like a proper Pizzaiolo from Naples, and use his sourdough skills to make authentic upside-down panettone, but I suspect this may be a fantasy ;-)
I want to embrace the full universe of pastry making. Mike thinks I should compete in “Bake Off España”.
Our son, Matthew, would like his first teeth to explore a new world of food.
Our daughter Lara, having given her name to the school, thinks we should now retire and hand it over to her!
Want to master sourdough? Always fancied learning to make flaky French pastries? Join Mike and Lydia (before Lara takes over!) on their artisan bread baking course.