Thursday, 14 July 2011

A visit to Neal's Yard Dairy

108 Druid Street, London SE1 2HH
Thanks to Rob at Leila's shop and his previous six years experience working as a cheese monger at Neal's Yard he managed to get me a place on this afternoons cheese tour. Representing the School of Artisan Food (SAF) I joined some of the best cheese retailers in London including the highly reputable La Fromagerie of Highbury.We were welcomed by Srdja Mastilovic who was an excellent host and extremely knowledgeable as he took us through the most stunning collection of farm cheeses from the British Isles.

We started with three of the most popular British cheddars from the Somerset region; Westcombe Cheddar an unpasteurised cows milk made with traditonal animal rennet at Westcombe farm near Shepton Mallet (a personal favourite), Montgomery's Cheddar an unpasteurised cows milk made by Jamie Montgomery at Manor Farm and Keen's Cheddar made by the Keen family at Moorhayes Farm near Wincanton. The blues were Colston Bassett stilton, a pasteurised cows milk made in the village of Colston Bassett in Nottinghamshire and saving the best until last, our very own Stichelton made by Joe Schneider with unpasteurised organic cows milk at Stichelton Dairy on the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire.

We then moved into the cooler zones of the (railway) tunnels, which emulated the traditional cheese caves in temperature and humidity. We entered each of the maturing rooms and tasted our way through Tunworth, Innes Log, Sleightlett, Tymsboro, Wigmore, Spenwood, Berkswell, Waterloo, Hawes Wensleydale and Lincolnshire Poacher.
Tunworth - Hampshire
Wigmore (mature) - Berkshire
Tymsboro - Somerset

Cardo  - Somerset

Wigmore (young) 
Stawley (young) - Somerset
Michael with Innes Log - Staffordshire

Sampling Lincolnshire Poacher

Neal's Yard are currently experimenting
in the creamery with a new variety
due to be called Bermondsey. 
Thanks to the team at Neals Yard for a great afternoon which was both fun and  informative. Take a look at this short film to see some of the producers of these magnificent British cheeses:

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Leila's lovely shop in Shoreditch

This week I am at Leila's shop situated on a quiet, leafy side street called Calvert Avenue in Shoreditch within the London borough of Hackney. This is a truly diverse area, a built up inner London city with a strong community of Bengali residents. Sky rise flats directly face gated mews that house a creative set including some of our most famous British artists.
Leila sources her fruit and vegetables every Monday night from New Covent Garden market, one of the largest hubs of wholesale trade in the London area selling produce from the surrounding Kent and Sussex countryside. Leila's cafe just next door to her grocery/urban farm shop offers beautiful fresh food simply tossed together. For lunch, I enjoyed two poached eggs on Russian kale (sweeter & softer than curly kale) with toasted sourdough bread. All the bread is sourced from the artisan bakers at St Johns. I am hoping to make my way over this week to see what other breads they make.
This is Leila's cafe. Its just like being in your mamas kitchen. When I arrived there were huge pots of tomato and pepper soup and some cucumber gazpacho on the stove. This place has a lovely cool vibe with an experienced crew that are calm and confident in what they do, making the whole thing just gel seamlessly. 
Leila has some amazing old wooden mangers, troughs baskets, bowls
and old wooden crates that add to an old English style display.
One of her customers actually bought in an old photo of
the shop as it looked in years gone by (below pic)

Veg boxes get packed up on Tuesday mornings and delivered
to Leila's local customers. Brimming with a variety of
seasonal produce and complete with basil, mint & coriander
I thought they were fantastic value at £10, £20 & £30 boxes.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Artisan Speciality Breads for Chorleywood

My first stall at the Chorleywood Village Fayre

Saturday was a HUGE day for me. After 10 months of studying bread making at The School of Artisan it was the chance for me to prove myself as a real artisan bread maker in my home village of Chorleywood. Ironically, the very place back in 1961 where the Industrial loaf was born.

So what to bake ? 

After a week of deliberation and several different production schedules (its like planning a military operation when you only have a tiny kitchen with one domestic oven and no mixer!) I decided that I would leave the standard white, wholemeal and malthouse to the other bakeries and go to town with sourdough, overnight fermentation, enrichment and natural additions of fruit, nuts, seeds, honey & beer.
I had to consider that each bake took 30 minutes, I could only fit 3 x 900g tins and 5 x 400g tins into the oven and I wanted to present my bread as fresh as possible. So I started baking at 4pm and finished my last loaf at 9.15am. I headed off to the fayre at 9.45am with a car smelling of wonderfulness. Here's what I baked...

Fruit bread (with raisins, fig & apricot)
Pain de Campagne
Focaccia (Rosemary & Rock Salt + Olives & Feta)
Cottage Loaves
Raisin, fig, walnut & cinnamon
Olive and feta bread wrapped in pine nuts & sesame seeds

Fruit Bread with raisins, figs & apricot
Fruit Bread
I managed to fit 5 x 400g tins into the oven and then trayed a couple freestyle.

830g Strong White Flour
200g Light Rye
650g Water
400g Rye Sourdough
20g Salt
20g Fresh Yeast
20g Honey
400g Raisins
200g Figs
100g Apricots

1) Mix by shearing the dough and working the gluten (leave fruit until the end)
2) Bulk ferment for 1 hour in a plastic tub
3) Scale out and round into balls. Rest for 20 minutes covered with plastic sheet on the side.
4) Mould and shape into tins or baton shape to bake on a tray
5) Prove for 2 hours - important that they double in size
6) Bake in pre-heated 250 oven turned down to 220 for 25-30 minutes. Keep your eye on them, sometimes good to turn down to 210 in the last 10 minutes of baking.

Pain de Campagne
Pain de campagne with cheeky photo;-)

I made 3 x 900g loaves and 1 x 500g that fit into one oven load. I wish I could have made more as they were so popular. So many people asked for bread without yeast. This 100% sourdough loaf with a mix of wheat & rye flour was perfect. 

Pain de Campagne
1000g Strong white flour
400g wholemeal
200g dark rye flour
600g white sourdough
1200g water
28g salt

1) Mix using shearing method and rest then return every 10 minutes or so (gives you time to get on with other things!)
2) Bulk ferment for 1 hour in a plastic tub
3) Scale out and round into balls. Rest for 20 minutes covered with plastic sheet on the side.
4) Mould and shape into tins or baton shape to bake on a tray
5) Prove for at least 4 hours - important that they double in size
6) Bake in pre-heated 250 oven turned down to 220 for 30-35 minutes. 

with olives & feta
with rosemary & rock salt
Focaccia (Rosemary & Rock Salt + Olives & Feta)

These went down brilliantly and easy for handmade production as I could use baking trays and get two trays into one oven load. I sold them sliced and whole and they looked amazing.

815g White Flour
700g water
1200g Biga (overnight dough)
32.5g Salt
15g Fresh Yeast

To make the Biga (I prepared at 1.30pm on Friday to bake at 1am on Saturday morning):
825g White Flour
463g Water
15g Fresh Yeast

1) Mix
2) Bulk Ferment in handful of olive oil for 1.5hrs (folding every 20 minutes)
3) Rest 30 minutes
4) Scale out or tray up
5) Bake at 230 with topping of your choice
6) Drizzle olive oil over when straight out of oven

Labels created by Abbie
My Royal Loaves
I have absolutely loved making cottage loaves throughout my course and they are special to me because they are beautiful British heritage loaves that you don't see so much anymore and we baked them for Prince Charles when he came to visit us at the school. 
This recipe made me 5 cottage loaves scaled out at 200g (bottom) and 100g (top). I also had a little left over so filled the old tiny Hovis tin I had.
Pre-ferment (stiff poolish overnight): 
840g Strong White Flour
504g Water
6g Fresh Yeast
Final (production) Dough:
1350g Pre-ferment (stiff poolish)
210g Strong White Flour
2g Fresh yeast
21g salt
31g butter
10g lard
90g beer (i used river cottage stinger ale - anything malty is good)
21g honey

1) Mix
2) Bulk ferment for 1 hour
3) Scale, mould and shape into balls (200g and 100g)
4) Rest 10 minutes
5) Mould into tighter balls and dock centre with thumb. Press thumb directly through the top to dock the smaller onto the top (the upper crust!)
6) Slash each loaf 8 times using a serrated knife (watch your fingers!)
7) Place on baking sheet and prove until double in size (about an hour)
8) Bake in pre-heated 250 and turn down to 220 for 30 minutes. Use steam by filling bottom tray with water.

Raisin, fig, walnut & cinnamon

Everyone loves a fig & walnut and these are great simply sliced with butter for tea or laden with a spread of blue Stilton. I made five loaves - some in tins and some baton shaped. Andrew Whitley's wife loved these so much she bought two:-)

1000g Strong White Flour
400g Wholemeal
32g Salt
200g Walnuts
300g Raisins
200g Figs
680g White Sourdough (nice & bubbly)
1000g Water

1) Mix
2) Bulk ferment for 1 hour
3) Scale in to balls and rest for 20 minutes covered on the side
4) Mould and shape into tins or baton shape
5) Prove for about 3 hours until double in size
6) Sift flour and slash with knife before baking
7) Bake in pre-heated 250 and turn down to 220 for 25-30 minutes. Use steam by filling bottom tray with water.

Olive and feta bread wrapped in pine nuts & sesame seeds
This speciality bread was introduced to me by British Baker Wayne Caddy. It was a real winner at the fayre. They look absolutely stunning. It was difficult for me to price them because they are oozing with mixed kalamata greek olives and feta cheese and wrapped in pine nuts (a pricey nut!) so they are certainly rich in ingredients (and time with an 18 hours pre-ferment)! I priced them at £3.50 and sold out within the hour. I think I could have pushed £4.50? I hate the fact all 'bread' is tagged as a low value item. Its CRAZY!
I made 6 x 300g loaves with some dough to spare

1250g Strong White Flour
500g Water
38g Salt
100g Olive Oil
7.5g Fresh Yeast
1500g Poolish (liquid poolish overnight)
To make the overnight liquid poolish:
750g White
750g Water
3g Fresh yeast

1) Mix until silky
2) Divide loosely into 600g and rest covered on the side for 30 minutes
3) Stretch into slipper shape. Rest for 10 minutes further.
4) Roll out with rolling pin to about 1 cm or so thick.
5) Add mixed olives and crumbled feta cheese and roll up.
6) Coat in toasted, crushed pine nuts, sesame seeds & semolina.
7) Cut through the middle with a sharp knife and turn upside so you see the olives on the top and place into a greased tin. Prove for 60 minutes.
8) Bake at 230 for 30 minutes with steam

I hope you enjoy these recipes and I will keep you posted as to what I will do next - bakery & bread school coming soon!

Retiring the Supermarket Loaf!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the industrial loaf, made in large scale factories using a high speed mechanical process which relies on additives to ensure consistency and longlife (80% of UK bread is still made this way!) and so a massive PR opportunity for the Real Bread Campaign to educate people on the difference between real bread and the additive laced supermarket loaf The Flour Milling Association that created the Industrial loaf is now a retirement home and so alongside Andrew Whitley and Chris Young we RETIRED the supermarket loaf!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Buckwheat Blinis at Derby Summer Food & Craft Fair

Today we were at the Derby Summer Food & Craft Fair and what an amazing venue. The Roundhouse in Pride Park is a magnificent Grade II listed railway site where the locomotives and old carriages used to get repaired. It recently had a complete makeover as part of a £48 million pound regeneration programme.
At The School of Artisan Food stand, Joe and I prepared some tasty Buckwheat Blinis with creme fraiche strawberries & blueberries. 

The gluten free Buckwheat flour gives a distinct taste that reminds me a bit of sesame paste. It went really well with the sweetness of the blueberries, strawberries and the cool creamy finish.
Buckwheat Blinis with creme fraiche
strawberries & blueberries
So if you fancy making these at home here's the recipe:
Buckwheat Blinis
70g Buckwheat Flour
70g Plain Flour
1/3tsp Baking Powder
1/3tsp Dried Yeast
175ml Warmed Milk
1 egg separated
125g butter
Toppings: Creme Fraiche, Strawberries & Blueberries

1) Prepare a pre-ferment by dissolving your dried yeast into warm milk.
2) Sift your Buckwheat, Plain Flour and Baking Powder together.
3) Add the yolk only to the milk/yeast mixture and 1tspn of melted butter.
4) Then whisk your milk/yeast/yolk mixture into the dry mixture to form a batter.
5) Next whisk your egg white until it forms stiff peaks. 
6) Then fold this into your batter mixture carefully to ensure you keep the aerated volume and whippy texture.
7) Clarify some butter by warming it up so that the white and yellow liquid separate. Keep the yellow liquid to use as a greasing agent before you drop a large teaspoon of batter into the hot pan to make your blinis.
Top with fresh fruit or a popular topping for these Russian pancakes is smoked salmon.