Stay up to date with everything happening at the Bakehouse
April 15 2013
Word up Bakers,
The Real Bread Campaign are banner wavers for using your loaf to eat real bread. In May, Real Bread week is hitting schools, bakeries and homes, with a series of events planned to raise awareness of the value of proper bread. See below for more info. Happy Baking.
As Britain’s only national Real Bread charity, the Campaign is also encouraging professional and homebakers to help raise money for its work. Campaign coordinator Chris Young said: ‘We have fantastic new plans to help some of the people in Britain who have a tougher time than most of us to enjoy the social, therapeutic and employment opportunities of Real Bread making, but we need the dough to do it!’
In addition to locally-organised activities, the Campaign is running a week-long bready online auction. Lots include bread making classes with Campaign ambassadors Aidan Chapman at The Phoenix Bakery, Emmanuel Hadjiandreou at The School of Artisan Food, Tom Herbert at the Hobbs House Cookery School, and Andrew Whitley at Bread Matters. Other lots include a tour of Shipton Mill with boss John Lister, and sacks of flour from fellow independent miller Marriage’s.
To help supporter dress for the occasion, Balcony Shirts has created a limited edition I ‘Loaf’ Real Bread t-shirt. For each shirt sold (£12.50 + p&p), the company will donate £4 to the Campaign.
For anyone who has not yet made their Real Bread Maker Week plans, an activity and fundraising guide is still available from the Campaign website. Ideas for professional and homebakers include organising one of the following with friends, family, neighbours or colleagues, perhaps in association with a local bakery, café or restaurant, pub, WI, village hall, community group, farmers’ market, school, or workplace:
· lunchbox masterclass to share all the great Real Bread alternatives to soggy factory loaf sarnies with parents at a local school.
· tasting dinner or pizza night – perhaps in association with a local bakery, pub or eatery.
· beginners’ workshop.
· baking club event to bring friends, colleagues and neighbours together to bake.
The Campaign also invites homebakers to see how much they save in May by not buying industrial loaves or shop-made sandwiches, and donate the difference to the charity. Even affirmed non-bakers can get involved by digging out unloved bread machines or supporting local events and participating Real Bread bakeries. People can find and add details of Real Bread classes and other events, discounts, the auction and the guide at realbreadcampaign.org
Find out more at www.sustainweb.org/realbread/national_real_breadmaker_week/
April 12 2013
Yesterday saw our kitchen buzzing with activity. Despina, Dixie & Marcella were working together after the main lunch service, experimenting with new pie fillings and making a childhood favourite of Dixie's, which she calls Picnic bread. Picnic bread is a fantastic way to make use of a stale loaf which hasn't been cut into. So for those of you who love baking at home and get a bit carried away, this could be right up your street. Take a loaf and slice off the very top, then scoop out the inside, which can be used as bread crumb, stuffing etc. Line the inside of the hollow loaf with pesto, and stuff with leftovers. Refrigerate over night and simply carve off slices the following day. Dixie prepared a basil pesto, and sauteed mushrooms and chard, and combined with goats cheese. I'm about to go and see how it turned out!
March 25 2013
The malthouse loaf has been a tricky one for us. We’ve wanted a ‘granary’ style bread for a while now, something soft, brown and sweet, that beautiful compromise between the white loaf we wanted growing up and the wholemeal bread we were forced to eat. But getting there was a struggle. First the name – can’t call it granary, that’s property of Rank Hovis Ltd, trademark registered. So let’s avoid that one. Next, the flour. Shipton Mill, our main flour supplier, offer malthouse flour (hence the name), a mixture of wheat flour and three types of malted grains: wheat, barley and rye. When hydrated, it has a deep nuttiness that smells great. But using it proved challenging. We really struggled getting a good rise out of it, and getting the most flavour. We couldn’t achieve the right amount of sweetness, adding malt extract, then maple syrup, then both, in an attempt to achieve that flavour profile we were looking for. And the results were ok. But nothing special, nothing to set your pants alight.
Until we found wort. Wort is the malty liquid obtained in the first stage of the beer making process. Malted grains, usually barley, are mixed with water, then mashed, steeped, and heated to 73°. The extracted liquid will then go on to be mixed with hops and inoculated with yeast, but before that, it is wort. The kind people at The Cock Tavern (who make some of the best craft brew in London under their Howling Hops label), and especially Ed their head brewer, were kind enough to let us use their wort. And the stuff is magic. Intensely malty and sweet, when we first used it in the bread, it was like feeding our wild yeast steroids. And for our malthouse loaf, it has worked wonders. Finally, we were able to achieve that sweetness, the wort really bringing out the nuttiness in the flour, and creating a balance of flavour we were hoping for in a fully sourdough ‘granary’ style loaf. It is also an ever-changing thing, the loaf taking on different characteristics depending on what Ed is brewing that day. We’re pretty excited about this bread, and we hope you enjoy eating it as much as we’ve enjoyed developing it.
May 16 2012
I was brought back half a loaf of Kamut flour bread from Denmark recently - certainly one of the most delicious breads I have ever eaten. A texturous, moist crumb, with plenty of hearty flavour. I was determined to have a bash at this myself and so ordered 16kg's from Shipton Mill, our flour supplier.
I developed a kamut Starter using our 200% rye mother, and refreshed it a couple of times ahead of the first attempt. The first dough I made was a runny batter, around 100% hydration (bakers percentage), I allowed it to autolyse for 30 minutes and then added the salt and mixed the batter again with a wooden spoon. I also added chopped figs and hazlenuts to the mix, and poured the whole lot into 1 pound loaf tins, and put in the fridge overnight. The next moring I baked them at around 220C, and lo and behold, I had something to be proud of, moist, good crumb, and bags of flavour.
Having been asked by the Young British Foodies to enter their competition, I decided to pimp my loaf up a bit, by refreshing my kamut mother over several days with an elderflower and honey infusion. I suspected the yeast and sugars in here would give an extra dimesion to the bread.
I was fairly happy with the end result, although proving it in a banneton meant it slumped a little bit once turned out for baking. My friend Kemal popped over to take some photographs and if I can understand how to upload them, will show his pics next.
February 29 2012
This evening I called over to see a guy called Roberto. I met Roberto a couple of years ago whilst selling bread outside a pub in Clapton. There's an old bakery in the basement below my flat he told me. My appetite whetted I found him home a week or so later and explored the bakery. It's history is something like, set up around 60 years ago, changed hands a couple of times, finally run as a Caribbean bakery - lots of bun. It closed around 10 years ago and hasn't been touched since. I salvaged an old trolley that time, bu it's been on my mind. Roberto's an artist and called me a couple of days ago, asking if I could help him build a house from old bread, I couldn't help much, but it reminded me how much I wanted to explore the space again. I had memories of a vast mixer, and wondered if it was an artofex, a bi like the one we bought recently. So tonight I knocked on the door and interrupted him. The power was off in the bakey, so we walked the steep steps in torchlight. The was an old Hobart, not that impressive, then I found a beautiful bun maker, a real classic looking machine, and yes, in the far corner, an ennormous old artofex dough mixer. So, the next step is getting it out !