A BAKER with seven decades experience at the mixing bowl has been giving his fellow care home residents a masterclass in bread making.
Ralph Baines, 85, led the inaugural session of the new baking club at Pelton Grange Care Home, on Front Street, Pelton, near Chester-le-Street.
Despite being registered blind and having Alzheimer’s disease, Ralph was able to show his fellow residents exactly how to make bread, taking them through the process step-by-step.
Ralph first started baking when he was 15 years old, when he got a job at bakery and confectioners Garbitts of Pallion in 1949.
After three years, he went to Newcastle College to study bakery and confectionery, in 1952, and then completed his national service as a baker at Aldershot Garrison and then Catterick Garrison.
He then joined Smyths, in Sunderland, where he worked for six years.
In 1962, at the age of 28, Ralph and his wife Maureen bought the bakery in Townend Farm, Sunderland, which they ran for 15 years. They sold the bakery to his brother and it was later knocked down to make way for a housing estate.
Ralph said: “The shop was an important part of the community. I loved it. Baking is really hands on. I love the feeling of kneading the dough and seeing and eating the finished product.”
Ralph used his extensive baking knowledge and expertise to help residents at Pelton Grange Care Home make bread for all to share with the evening meal of homemade soup.
Chris Hogan-Hind, home manager at Pelton Grange Care Home, said: “Ralph’s 70 years of baking experience were on show during the first session of our new baking club.
“You could see his breadmaking skills were like second nature, as he showed the residents how to make the perfect loaf. A true testament to the fact that some skills never leave you.
“Everyone is excited to see the next masterpiece at the next baking club session. We’re all on the lookout for a contestant to apply to the Great British Bake Off.”