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
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
If you want to know how to make real bread, then Paul Merry, a master baker with boundless enthusiasm, is your man. In the beautiful setting of a working watermill in Dorset, his PANARY courses are empassioned weekend workshops where bread is made and discussed in equal measure.
— Jonny Hughes, Waitrose Food Illustrated, Sept 2003
If you have any inclination at all towards baking, I recommend making sourdough yourself. Paul Merry’s PANARY courses in Dorset are an excellent way to start: he has a knack for demystifying a process that is sometimes overcomplicated in bread-making books.
— Nikki Duffy, The Guardian Weekend, May 2005
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 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 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
“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
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
After attending your 'Going Professional' course in October, I have begun - in a very small way - to do just that. I now now bake once a week for a farm shop at a garden nursery. I bake sourdough loaves on Friday and get up early on Saturday to bake a range of yeasted loaves. I have been doing this for 12 weeks and the amount that I am selling is gradually creeping up. I am enjoying it a lot; it balances out the other work that I do. Although I had been baking for many years, your course gave me the confidence to develop it.
— Rosanne Cecil, October 2012, Ballymena, Co Antrim, NI
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 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
"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
“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