Brixham Baker Boys

‘Brixham Baker Boys’ brought together lads from the ages of 8-15 to learn the art of bread baking in an outdoor cob oven.

The ‘Baker Boys’ project was inspired by the ‘Top Boy Bakers’; a project conceived and run by The Drawing Shed in Walthamstow, East London. The Encounters project began in Brixham at the Indigos Go Wild Adventure playground in Summercombe in early July 2014.

Forming a partnership between Play Torbay, Friends of Indigos Go Wild, and Encounters, the project was supported by Awards for All.

‘Brixham Baker Boys’ brought lads from the ages of 8-15 to work together and learn the art of baking bread in an outdoor cob oven. This ran alongside a leather-works project for girls under the ‘Forgotten Crafts’ umbrella of projects at the site.

The boys baked for their families, other children using the playground and elderly neighbours. They also collected recipes handed down through generations. Our bakers used drama and visual documentation to record their journey through the project, ending with a celebration where they shared their ideas and experiences about what it was like to grow up in Torbay.

Using baking as a metaphor the young people explored the potential for change and transformation, both for themselves, their community and the wider world. Alongside this they developed practical skills such as cob building, research and, of course, baking.

We were very lucky to have David Jones, Director of the Dartmouth Food Festival and owner and all round bread guru from ‘Manna from Devon’ in Kingswear, on board to mentor the boys. An experienced cob cook and a dab hand in the art of baking bread, he kindly donated his time, passion for baking and great expertise to the project.

Our bakers learned how to repair the old cob oven on site, mashing up the ingredients with their feet and working with their hands to create the Baker Boys oven.

From then they tried out various recipes on other adventure playground goers, catering for Lammas/the first day of the Harvest Festival and generally learned all about the process of baking food with fire in a cob oven.