On the Three-day "Going Professional" course, Sarah Cobbold wrote in BBC Good Food Magazine, Feb 2010:
"Paul Merry, an experienced and enthusiastic artisan baker, adapts each three-day course to the participants' requests and interests. My class decided to focus on sourdoughs and the wood-fired oven. There is a lot of teaching, but we were involved in every stage, calculating the quantities in each recipe, making up doughs, shaping the bread and firing the oven.
The course was a fantastic confidence builder. We left with a real knowledge of bread, how it works, and how to adapt no matter what the situation."
— Sarah Cobbold, BBC Good Food Magazine, Feb 2010
I would like to say how very much I enjoyed attending your first Sponges and Pre-Ferments course recently. I thought it was extremely well organised, we covered many different breads and techniques and I learnt a huge amount from you. The whole weekend was all I hoped it would be and more, your catering was superb ( we were treated right royally), you were interesting, informative, very good humoured considering our lack of expertise, and entertaining. I shall be saving my pennies up to do another course with you before too long, I hope.
— Stephanie Barrett, May 29, 2010
I want to say a big thank you for a brilliant day yesterday at Panary. The basic course was pitched just right for me and not only taught me the necessary science behind the bread baking, but also answered the questions that I had been struggling with for a while.
I really enjoyed the hands-on work and have come away with a better understanding of the process, which I can now use to improve my baking further at home.
Altogether a thoroughly enjoyable experience and a course that I would strongly recommend to anyone who appreciates "proper" bread and the sense of achievement that comes with baking!
— Valerie Clinch, Nov 2011
I would like to say how much I enjoyed the "Going Professional" course. The setting at Cann Mills provides a perfect environment for your relaxed and informal style of instruction. The mix of experience and skills amongst the group was quite wide for such a small number, yet you managed to pitch the course at a level where we all felt engaged in each activity. I particularly enjoyed the free flowing discussions that accompanied the baking sessions, and your "blue chair" moments were a good way of dealing with specific topics. I came away from the three days feeling invigorated, with a renewed enthusiasm for creating good and healthy bread for my customers, and an increased confidence in my skills and ability to develop as a baker. Now I have just had my first baking session and markets since the course. The knowledge I gained regarding dough handling and table skills meant that the work load was actually easier physically. This weeks baking will start to show the improvement in the finished loaves.
— Ken Horne, Pin Pastry in Devon, Sept 2010
I am Italian and still go home quite often. I have never had a better ciabatta than these we have made today.
— Laura Stevanato, London, February, 2011
"Just a short note to say thank you for Friday's course. Despite having lots of loaves from Friday's baking, I decided to make some more loaves on the weekend while everything was still fresh in my mind. The result is ten times better than anything I have made before, much lighter and with a much better crumb and texture.
I feel that I have really moved forward and, for the first time, that I am making proper bread. Thanks again, and best wishes for the future.
p.s. The whole family agrees that Michael's flour (we tried the granary for this batch) is absolutely delicious!"
— Simon Miles, Feb 2009
Just a note to stay that I really enjoyed my one day British course in early April.
The theory I learned has been really useful in helping me understand recipes better and has extended what I'd already picked up from books.
However, as with my engineering apprenticeship 35 years ago, the main value was in learning the hand skills from a real master craftsman. Some things you just can't learn from a book!
Armed with the experience from the course, I got myself a baking stone, hacked a peel out of some plywood & had my first few goes at hand shaping – something I wouldn't have had the confidence to try before the course.
— Ed Deacon, April, 2013
“I cannot recall ever having returned home from a course bubbling over with so much enthusiasm. I can hardly wait to put into practice what you taught me. My wife’s reaction to the bread I brought back was that it reminded her of how bread used to smell…..”
— David Brown, Minety, Wiltshire, November 2006
Thank you for the wonderful and informative course. I really enjoyed the experience and will most certainly put your course notes to the test over the next few days. I can not remember when I have enjoyed learning so much new information.
— David Cornwell, Essex, March, 2011
“You taught us a lot in a very short space of time: how to prepare, work, and handle dough. The course itself was excellent. We all had a good time and I certainly came away with a much better understanding of the breadmaking process.”
— Jasper Buch, Henley, January 2006
I had the joy of attending Paul's "basic" one-day bread making course at his rustic premises near Shaftesbury, in the water powered flour mill. Paul greeted us warmly and we were quickly introduced to flour's water absorption, kneading, shaping, and secrets such as bubbling, tightness, dough temperature etc. His wealth of knowledge, passion, humour and genuine people skills meant we all left the day with armfuls of bread and deeper respect and appreciation for a commodity which is so undervalued relative to the amount of nurturing, artistry and alchemy that goes into its production - truly British, slowly grown, beautiful, golden bread.
I heartily recommend Paul and a PANARY bread making course to anyone.
— Juliette Morgan, Cambridge, December 2008
“Paul Merry is a calm and patient teacher, good at confidence building, and offers an endless stream of vivid insights into the mysteries of yeast, gluten and kneading, on the principle that the more you understand, the better the chances of you doing things right.”
— Philippa Davenport, Financial Times, April 2005
As I sit here eating our delicious semolina bread for breakfast, I wanted to send you a brief note for a truly wonderful three days at PANARY. For me, your course was pitched at just the right level. I loved the way we gradually became more confident and at the end, you were letting us “just get on with it”....(that’s how it appeared anyway, the mark of a good teacher!).
— Jonathan Darnell, April 2012, Alicante, Spain
It was a huge privilege and a great pleasure working with you – there could have been no better introduction to the craft of baking. I’m most grateful, and you were also a most generous host too.
— David Wright, March, 2013
I enjoyed the Sourdough course I attended last Friday. I gained so much knowledge in a short space of time - but also now realise how much more I still have to learn! My family loved the bread we made and the leavens have been well looked after. The pace of the course was just right, with a fantastic lunch and lovely informal atmosphere. I hope to book another course soon.
— Stacey Breese, Wiltshire, April 2011