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Loop goes to Loaf (Part 2)

Apologies for the delay in bringing the second part of this article to you but there was the small matter of a wedding and honeymoon to deal with. Now we are back in Llanidloes with our heads buzzing with ideas and lots of potentially exciting things happening. Anyway back to the post!

You may remember from part one we had taken a break for a fabulous home-laid egg and home-made ciabatta lunch. We didn’t stop for long though as burnt bread doesn’t taste good or sell very well either. So we took the final load of rye bread out of the oven and then took some time to reduce the washing-up mountain that had formed.

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It was now time to bake using the outside oven. Although specifically designed for making pizzas in, it can also handle a few loaves although any remaining fire needs to be completely scraped out beforehand. It’s also crazily hot, so a good idea to quickly bake some roll or batches first to make use of that heat.

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From proving basket to oven you have to be really quick. With a flick of the wrist, Tom turned the banneton over to expose the jelly-like dough to the peel; and with a quick slash of the knife the dough was thrust into the oven.

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We put three loaves in and kept an eye on them however they still cooked a little too quickly; it’s really hard to monitor the internal temperature of the oven so it take a bit of guesswork to find out when they are done. However we ended up with some very good looking loaves and presumably some very happy customers who collected them later the same day.

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And that was the marathon baking session over. I headed back to Llanidloes on the train with my head full of ideas about how this could be replicated across the border in Wales.

I’m at a slight disadvantage in that our kitchen is a lot smaller than Tom’s but I’m sure there is a way around it all. My kitchen has just been passed by environmental health so I can now start making bread. I already have a few potential customers and the locally run community shop in Llani will take loaves off me. Watch this space for more info in the next few weeks (with no wedding to distract me either!)

Time will tell if the community bakery idea takes off but there is a growing national movement as shown by the Realbread campaign. Demand “Real bread” at every place you shop and let’s make this thing a success. No longer should the British public have to put up with tasteless, expensive supermarket bread. And as Andrew Whitley says “Le pain se lève”.

Finally, thanks to Tom at Loaf for giving me such a great insight into the life of a community supported baker! It certainly gave me lots of ideas. Loaf also run a cookery school with great bread, pasta and wild food courses. Check them out if you are in the Birmingham area.

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