Great local food festival tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday in a local town, Neath.
Pulling out all the stops by baking lots of loaves so hope it's busy or I'll be ringing my mate Iolo and swapping stale bread to feed his chickens, with eggs they've laid, and eating eggs on toast for the next 3 weeks....
If you're fed up of rolls like these (above) then come visit us at Usk Farmer's Market, this Saturday 1st Sept, and try some of our real rustic rolls. Natalie is manning the stall - pop along to say hi.
Hot and sticky in the bakery this week. All the ferments are bubbling like crazy and the air is thick with sourness. Gotta watch the prove closely as it's a fine line between just right and overproved in this weather...Oooh, the danger
Doing festivals is always interesting because you get to talk to customers directly.
Having done a few so far this year I've been amazed how many times I've been asked "do you have any loaves without sugar?"
Adding sugar speeds up the fermentation process so you can make more loaves in less time.
It also adds flavour to loaves that have none of the complex flavour that long fermentation brings.
None of our loaves contain sugar. All are naturally fermented, the slow way.
(This is why we always look so tired and have no social life...)
You can't rush real bread.
Interesting to hear from one of our shops that they have been approached by another baker who makes sourdough.
Yeast was listed as an ingredient on the label of their sourdough.
When asked by the shop why it contained yeast they claimed "we don't have the conditions for cultivating the sourdough, or a prover so we add yeast instead".
The conditions for cultivating sourdough are patience & a tub with a lid.
The conditions for proving it are patience & a plastic bag to cover the bread.
It's not sourdough if it contains yeast.
You can't rush real sourdough.
When you come from a baking family you have some strange conversations at family gatherings. Got talking to my Uncle Philip at a family birthday bash recently and we were talking about Summer holidays.
"You've got to go to Florida" he said, "fantastic climate out there, warm and humid....perfect for making bread".
"So did you manage to meet some bakers out there?" I asked -(my family has a habit of introducing themselves to anyone involved in baking whilst on holiday).
"No, not this time" he said "but I took a couple of my tins with me and baked when I was out there..."
"What, you packed your tins in your suitcase?"
"Yeah, I didn't take my own flour, what with customs and white powders..."
"But you did pack metal boxes that might look very much like some kind of device?"
"...er...yes...but anyway, the humidity was like having a prover on everywhere you went...."
A baker's family holiday checklist - wallet, keys, tickets, passport, bread tins.