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Seed to sandwich in Shaky Toon

Tyra Dempster reports on a Scottish village bakery and primary school collaboration she helps run as a volunteer.

. Copyright: Ella / Tyra Dempster

. Copyright: Ella / Tyra Dempster

Each morning, a handful of children at Comrie Primary School spend half an hour making Real Bread. They rotate every day, giving each of the rural Scottish village school’s 130 or so pupils the opportunity to make, bake, slice and enjoy loaves they’ve nurtured since they were seeds in the ground. 

Named after being inspired by the work at Greenside Primary in London, Breaducation at Comrie Primary School is the result of a three-year collaboration with Wild Hearth, their local artisan bakery. In 2020, the bakery’s founder John Castley began inviting small groups of pupils from the school to sow and grow a small plot of wheat. They returned in the autumn to harvest, thresh and mill their crop, finally visiting the bakery to make Real Bread from the flour. John also invited to the school a straw weaving specialist, who taught every pupil how to make a hairst (harvest) knot, traditionally given as a token of love or luck.

The following year, more pupils became involved to help to sow grain over a much larger area; as the wheat grew, so did the project. We began to wonder if we could turn this soil-to-slice initiative into a daily part of school life. We hoped that the children having this practical experience would help them to understand more about the health and nutritional qualities of the food they eat. 

Pupil power

The headteacher, Heather White, enthusiastically welcomed the project. She supported a bakery-led pupil consultation and blind taste tests to create a bread that the children could make according to their tastes and preferences. The pupils threw themselves into the development discussion, whilst demolishing every crumb of bread in the taste tests, and we emerged with a clear brief. The children voted overwhelmingly to make bread from locally-grown grain as they believed this was more environmentally sustainable. Their taste test result was firmly for a loaf with a complex flavour profile that was based on a rustic, French wholemeal bread. We were delighted with our brief and couldn’t have hoped for a better combination! Now we had to design a bread that met the pupils’ criteria whilst being simple enough for them to make during the school day. Many, many test bakes followed. 

We finally arrived at a loaf that fitted the bill, in which half of the flour is from wheat grown by the children and half is from Mungoswells in nearby East Lothian. It is leavened by a sourdough starter made from Scotland the Bread rye flour, which the children nurture, with a little bit of baker’s yeast. The mixing and proving process is simple and it slots into the school schedule. Each day a handful of the children take their turn to make, bake, and slice the bread, which they have named The Shaky Toon Loaf because Comrie is known locally for its occasional wee earthquakes. They then deliver it around the school and have the fun of watching their fellow pupils eating it at break and lunchtime. 

Loaf lessons for life

Breaducation at Comrie Primary School offers every pupil a healthy bite at lunch and snack time and teaches them so much more than just how to grow grain and make bread. They also gain a better understanding of ingredients and learn about the nutritional and health benefits of making food from scratch. Weighing and measuring gives them a chance to put maths to practical use, while maintaining a sourdough culture and proving dough offers them an introduction to the biology of microbial cultures and fermentation. It also offers up an introduction to professional skills. The experience of baking may lead to some children to consider it as a career. Some might love the experience of running a bread stall at the school gates and others might enjoy the marketing angle. At the very least, we hope that every Comrie Primary School pupil will hold onto the valuable life skill of making a simple loaf of bread from scratch. 

As the project continues, support for it grows. This year we received an offer from a local farmer to grow more wheat for us and we hope to develop many more opportunities for bread making with the children. We’re in the process of setting up a charity, Breaducation Scotland, and have secured a grant to buy a bread oven for the school. This will allow us to make loaves and additional treats that pupils will be able to sell these on a pay-what-you-can-afford basis at the school gate every Friday to raise money to cover the ingredient and electricity costs. Pupils now run an Instagram account to keep people in our community updated on the project’s development and when bread is available to buy.

Breaducation would not be possible without the enthusiastic support of Heather, John and the teaching staff who patiently oversee the bread making each day. It has been exciting to be a part of this project and to see it develop. In February 2023, we nervously submitted our Shaky Toon Loaf to the Scottish Bread Championship and were thrilled when it won a silver medal!  We’re now working to help the project’s roots to become established so that Breaducation settles in as a firm part of primary school life. 


Bread schedule

School starts


  • Mix the dough and leave it to prove for 30 minutes. 
  • Weigh out the next day’s ingredients.
  • Slice the previous day’s loaves and deliver around school.
  • Feed the starter.
  • Fold the dough and then return to class.


  • Divide and shape the dough, then put in tins to prove.


  • Bake the loaves and leave to cool for the next day.

Originally published in True Loaf magazine issue 55, July 2023.

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Published Thursday 22 February 2024

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