Britain’s Best Bakeries

Thanks everyone for your flurry of Twitter and Facebook messages on Sunday. To those of you who missed it, we were announced as one of Britain’s top five bakeries in The Sunday Telegraph Seven magazine, by The Fabulous Baker Brothers. So we’re a bit chuffed.

We’re honoured to have been mentioned, as there are now so many amazing bakeries popping up across the UK who deserve recognition too.

We’ve  been in touch with Tom and Henry Herbert to say thanks and we’re hoping they may even pop down to see us in Stirchley one day soon. We’ll keep you posted if this happens.

Britain's Best Bakeries
The Sunday Times, Seven Magazine (3 March 2013)

Britain’s Best Bakeries

Thanks everyone for your flurry of Twitter and Facebook messages on Sunday. To those of you who missed it, we were announced as one of Britain’s top five bakeries in The Sunday Telegraph Seven magazine, by The Fabulous Baker Brothers. So we’re a bit chuffed.

We’re honoured to have been mentioned, as there are now so many amazing bakeries popping up across the UK who deserve recognition too.

We’ve  been in touch with Tom and Henry Herbert to say thanks and we’re hoping they may even pop down to see us in Stirchley one day soon. We’ll keep you posted if this happens.

Britain's Best Bakeries
The Sunday Times, Seven Magazine (3 March 2013)

Sourdough loaves for sale today

sourodugh breadI had lots of dough leftover after yesterdays wash-out food festival at Winterbourne Gardens, so I called up my mate Carl who has an enormous wood-fired oven in Stirchley. He fired it up mid-afternoon, and we popped round in the evening to bake the remaining dough, and turn it into these whopping 1kg loaves of sourdough bread. Wander down Dell road in Cotteridge today and you can pick one up for £3, or email tom@loafonline.co.uk to reserve one. Now what to do with all the leftover cheese and ham…

Happy Birthday to us – Loaf is One!

birthdayWell, on this day on in 2009, Loaf was officially incorporated with Companies House as Loaf Social Enterprise Ltd. It’s amazing what can happen in a year, although I had (and still have) grand plans for Loaf, I’m still staggered with what we’ve achieved in a year. In the original plan I was going to continue working part-time with the NHS until April 2011 – this happened a year earlier. I’d like to share with you a few pivotal moments as well as some interesting facts to celebrate this auspicious occasion.

19th June 2009 – Tom starts www.loafonline.co.uk as a food blog

13th August  2009 – A board of directors is formed, sworn in, and the company is officially registered with Companies House as a social enterprise (company limited by guarantee)

16th October 2009 – Tom is featured in The Birmingham Post in an excellent feature by Richard McComb. This coverage kicks off a whole load more press coverage in the coming year.

14th November 2009 – Tom attends ‘The Rise of Real Bread’ conference in Oxford, has one too many beers with Dan and Johanna McTiernan from the Handmade Bakery, and plots his exit from the NHS on the train home.

18th November 2009 – Loaf Cookery School launches with the first Handmade Pasta course.

21st November 2009 – Tom runs the first Bread: Back to basics course, soon to become the most popular course at the cookery school.

22nd January 2010 – Tom starts the Community Supported Bakery supplying sourdough bread to 10 subscribers and Capeling & Co.

3rd February 2010 – Loaf provide bread for the Soil Association’s annual conference. Tom gets to meet his bread hero Andrew Whitley, who approves of the bread – phew!

May 2010 – Tom appears in the Virgin Trains onboard magazine and cookery school bookings go through the roof!

3rd July 201o – Loaf launch the third strand of their business – the mobile wood-fired pizza oven at the CoCoMAD festival in Cotteridge park – Tom and team make 180 sourdough pizza’s in six and a half hours.

27th July 2010 – Loaf are involved in launching Stirchley Community Market, a one-of-a-kind local food and crafts market in Birmingham. 36 loaves of bread sell out in 30 mins.

4th August 2010Tom appears in the Guardian Society as part of a discussion on the inaugural Stirchley Market and the role of local food in community building.

August 2010 – Tom’s bread courses are so popular that they sell out for the rest of 2010.

Since January 2010 Tom has made approximately 1500 loaves of artisan bread for the community bakery. These were all hand kneaded and baked at home.

Since November 2009, 153 people have attended courses at Loaf Cookery School.

Phew, what a year, thanks to everyone for helping us make it work this year, we couldn’t have done it without all our loyal bread buyers, course students, and of course, Richard Mccomb. A massive thank you as well to my amazing wife Jane Baker of Greensnapper Photography for being so supportive and for allowing her home to be turned into Loaf HQ. Here’s to a second successful year!

Happy Birthday to us – Loaf is One!

birthdayWell, on this day on in 2009, Loaf was officially incorporated with Companies House as Loaf Social Enterprise Ltd. It’s amazing what can happen in a year, although I had (and still have) grand plans for Loaf, I’m still staggered with what we’ve achieved in a year. In the original plan I was going to continue working part-time with the NHS until April 2011 – this happened a year earlier. I’d like to share with you a few pivotal moments as well as some interesting facts to celebrate this auspicious occasion.

19th June 2009 – Tom starts www.loafonline.co.uk as a food blog

13th August  2009 – A board of directors is formed, sworn in, and the company is officially registered with Companies House as a social enterprise (company limited by guarantee)

16th October 2009 – Tom is featured in The Birmingham Post in an excellent feature by Richard McComb. This coverage kicks off a whole load more press coverage in the coming year.

14th November 2009 – Tom attends ‘The Rise of Real Bread’ conference in Oxford, has one too many beers with Dan and Johanna McTiernan from the Handmade Bakery, and plots his exit from the NHS on the train home.

18th November 2009 – Loaf Cookery School launches with the first Handmade Pasta course.

21st November 2009 – Tom runs the first Bread: Back to basics course, soon to become the most popular course at the cookery school.

22nd January 2010 – Tom starts the Community Supported Bakery supplying sourdough bread to 10 subscribers and Capeling & Co.

3rd February 2010 – Loaf provide bread for the Soil Association’s annual conference. Tom gets to meet his bread hero Andrew Whitley, who approves of the bread – phew!

May 2010 – Tom appears in the Virgin Trains onboard magazine and cookery school bookings go through the roof!

3rd July 201o – Loaf launch the third strand of their business – the mobile wood-fired pizza oven at the CoCoMAD festival in Cotteridge park – Tom and team make 180 sourdough pizza’s in six and a half hours.

27th July 2010 – Loaf are involved in launching Stirchley Community Market, a one-of-a-kind local food and crafts market in Birmingham. 36 loaves of bread sell out in 30 mins.

4th August 2010Tom appears in the Guardian Society as part of a discussion on the inaugural Stirchley Market and the role of local food in community building.

August 2010 – Tom’s bread courses are so popular that they sell out for the rest of 2010.

Since January 2010 Tom has made approximately 1500 loaves of artisan bread for the community bakery. These were all hand kneaded and baked at home.

Since November 2009, 153 people have attended courses at Loaf Cookery School.

Phew, what a year, thanks to everyone for helping us make it work this year, we couldn’t have done it without all our loyal bread buyers, course students, and of course, Richard Mccomb. A massive thank you as well to my amazing wife Jane Baker of Greensnapper Photography for being so supportive and for allowing her home to be turned into Loaf HQ. Here’s to a second successful year!

In Search of a Local Loaf – Part 2

charlecoteSo about three weeks ago I went to visit the historic Charlecote Mill in Warwickshire, where I had a private tour from John Bedington the Miller. When I got back from holiday I was champing at the bit to try out the wholemeal flour I had taken home, so much so that the sourdough starter was whipped out of the fridge and refreshed before i’d even taken my coat off. I keep a white sourdough starter, and taking John’s advice, I wanted to include a decent percentage of strong white flour to create a light, wholesome loaf. So I made it with a high percentage of sourdough starter (40% of dough weight), but all the remaining flour was Charlecote Mill standard wholemeal flour. A 67% hydration dough and a long, cool, overnight bulk fermentation led to a light, wholesome loaf, full of flavour and a sense of history and place.

That was two weeks back, and since then i’ve managed to organise to get a 32kg sack of flour dropped off this week, so after a little more experimentation I’m hoping to add a local, wholemeal sourdough loaf to the standard loaves I produce for the community bakery every Friday.

In Search of a Local Loaf – Part 2

charlecoteSo about three weeks ago I went to visit the historic Charlecote Mill in Warwickshire, where I had a private tour from John Bedington the Miller. When I got back from holiday I was champing at the bit to try out the wholemeal flour I had taken home, so much so that the sourdough starter was whipped out of the fridge and refreshed before i’d even taken my coat off. I keep a white sourdough starter, and taking John’s advice, I wanted to include a decent percentage of strong white flour to create a light, wholesome loaf. So I made it with a high percentage of sourdough starter (40% of dough weight), but all the remaining flour was Charlecote Mill standard wholemeal flour. A 67% hydration dough and a long, cool, overnight bulk fermentation led to a light, wholesome loaf, full of flavour and a sense of history and place.

That was two weeks back, and since then i’ve managed to organise to get a 32kg sack of flour dropped off this week, so after a little more experimentation I’m hoping to add a local, wholemeal sourdough loaf to the standard loaves I produce for the community bakery every Friday.

Bread Club!

The first rule of bread club is…

Next week Loaf launches it’s ‘bread club’, where we’ll be baking bread every Friday for up to 20 monthly subscribers. Subscribers pay up front for a months worth of bread, and then pick up their delicious loaf from Cotteridge on a Friday evening – simple! There are still some places left for subscribers so if you have any friends who live or work in the Cotteridge area, please tell them about Loaf Community Bakery’s bread club. If you want to subscribe or enquire, just email bread@loafonline.co.uk.

Revolution Rye (front) and Cotteridge Sourdough
Revolution Rye (front) and Cotteridge Sourdough

We’re also going to be supplying one or two other places wholesale, where you can sample our bread. Capeling & Co, the excellent new cheese shop on York Road in Kings Heath are stocking Revolution Rye on a Saturday, last week they sold out super fast, so get down there early if you want some. Friday and Saturday customers of Farm Fresh Organics veg box scheme can also now order Revolution Rye.

Sample loaves available this Friday!

rye breadIf you’re thinking about subscribing to Loaf Community Bakery’s ‘bread club’, where you get a weekly loaf of bread in return for a monthly subscription of £11, then this Friday, 8th January, you have the opportunity to buy a sample loaf before the scheme gets in full flow on the 22nd of January. These loaves must be pre-ordered by 11am Thursday morning, and will be ready for collection from Cotteridge between 4 and 7.30pm on Friday. The two loaves available to order are:

Revolution Rye (pictured above) – A 100% rye sourdough bread. This loaf is baked with a 2-year old rye sourdough starter, and UK-grown organic light rye flour, topped with pumpkin and sunflower seeds. It has an amazing depth of flavour and surprising moisture. Like a good cheese or wine it gets better with age, and is at it’s best 2 or 3 days after baking. It will be in good condition for 5-7 days. Approx 800g, £2.75.

Cotteridge Sourdough – Flour, water, salt, wild yeasts. Nothing else. A loaf born and raised in Cotteridge using a 4-year old wheat sourdough starter, and UK-grown organic white flour. This is a great everyday bread that has a subtle sourness, light airy crumb, and a hint of smokiness from the wood-fired oven it is baked in. It keeps well for 5 days, and freezes well too. Approx 800g, £2.75.

If you’d like to preorder one (or two) of these loaves for collection on Friday between 4 and 7.30, please email tom using bread@loafonline.co.uk before 11am on Thursday 7th January, and I will send you the address details.

Loaf Community Bakery – pt 2

community bakery loafLoaf Community Bakery is our new bakery in Cotteridge, South Birmingham, specialising in sourdough and other artisan breads. Bread is baked at the home of Loaf director Tom Baker, in both a conventional and traditional wood-fired earth oven. The bakery sells bread through a ‘community supported bakery’ scheme, as well as selling some wholesale to specialist local delis. Bread is made with organic flour, grown and milled in the UK.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the two polls about the bakery – they’ve helped inform what day we’re going to bake, and the price. I’ve set the price by taking the mean of all the options voted for, and multiplying it by 4 for a months worth of bread.

Loaves are going to be baked on a Friday, and need to be collected that evening. Collection is from Cotteridge currently, although an alternative Saturday collection point will be arranged depending on the location of subscribers. A large white sourdough (Cotteridge Sourdough) and a large 100% rye sourdough (Revolution Rye) are available initially. Both breads keep well for 5 days and are suitable for freezing. Other specialities such as brioche and ciabatta will be available occasionally on a first-come first-served basis.

Invest in Loaf Community Bakery and subscribe now for just £11 a month!

We’ll be supplying a weekly loaf to subscribers from mid-January onwards, so get in touch soon if you want to subscribe as we can only take a limited number – email tom@loafonline.co.uk to register your interest.

Meanwhile, answer this poll:

[poll id=”9″]

Loaf Community Bakery – pt 2

community bakery loafLoaf Community Bakery is our new bakery in Cotteridge, South Birmingham, specialising in sourdough and other artisan breads. Bread is baked at the home of Loaf director Tom Baker, in both a conventional and traditional wood-fired earth oven. The bakery sells bread through a “˜community supported bakery’ scheme, as well as selling some wholesale to specialist local delis. Bread is made with organic flour, grown and milled in the UK.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the two polls about the bakery – they’ve helped inform what day we’re going to bake, and the price. I’ve set the price by taking the mean of all the options voted for, and multiplying it by 4 for a months worth of bread.

Loaves are going to be baked on a Friday, and need to be collected that evening. Collection is from Cotteridge currently, although an alternative Saturday collection point will be arranged depending on the location of subscribers. A large white sourdough (Cotteridge Sourdough) and a large 100% rye sourdough (Revolution Rye) are available initially. Both breads keep well for 5 days and are suitable for freezing. Other specialities such as brioche and ciabatta will be available occasionally on a first-come first-served basis.

Invest in Loaf Community Bakery and subscribe now for just £11 a month!

We’ll be supplying a weekly loaf to subscribers from mid-January onwards, so get in touch soon if you want to subscribe as we can only take a limited number – email tom@loafonline.co.uk to register your interest.

Meanwhile, answer this poll:

[poll id=”9″]