Loaf newsletter

Just a quick post to say our Loaf newsletter is back.

After hibernating for a few months, our bumper March edition marked what we hope will be the start of a new quarterly newsletter to keep you updated with Loaf news, successes and new projects. As well as cookery school and bakery updates, this time it included the launch of our new Loaf Loyalty Card, our feature in The Telegraph as one of britain’s top 5 bakeries and a visit to Loaf by MP Chuka Umunna Business Secretary. We’re never short of news. Next issue June.

You can subscribe to the newsletter on our contacts page.

A snippet from our march newsletter…

March Newsletter

Courses – Seasonal Favourites are Back

Since moving into our shop in Stirchley six months we’ve added a whole load of new courses to our Cookery School repertoire.

As well as old favourites (bread, sourdough, pasta, butchery) we’ve added a Seafood course and seven Kitchen Essentials workshops (knife skills, stocks and sauces, flavour geography etc). Our seasonal favourites, Forage and Cook, Earth Oven Building & Preserving are also back.

Sorry, but our courses and events always sell out fast, so book early!

New courses can be found on our website, or if you’re local browse in the Cookery School window: www.loafonline.co.uk/cookeryschool

Earth Oven Course

Courses – Seasonal Favourites are Back

Since moving into our shop in Stirchley six months we’ve added a whole load of new courses to our Cookery School repertoire.

As well as old favourites (bread, sourdough, pasta, butchery) we’ve added a Seafood course and seven Kitchen Essentials workshops (knife skills, stocks and sauces, flavour geography etc). Our seasonal favourites, Forage and Cook, Earth Oven Building & Preserving are also back.

Sorry, but our courses and events always sell out fast, so book early!

New courses can be found on our website, or if you’re local browse in the Cookery School window: www.loafonline.co.uk/cookeryschool

Earth Oven Course

Shaping a boule – video

Have been playing around with a posh camera (not mine) that does HD video, a lot of fun. I decided to shoot this short video with the camera mounted on a tripod whilst I shaped some boule (classic round shaped) sourdough loaves. I may have messed around with the speeding up and slowing down of the film a bit, hope it doesn’t make you too dizzy. instructions on screen during the video, but feel free to ask questions in the comments too. Enjoy!

p.s. Here’s what the finished loaves look like the next day:

A Butchers Apprentice

I just spent an enjoyable hour with Steve Rossiter at his butchers shop in Bournville. Steve showed me around his meat hanging cold rooms, we chatted about the business a bit, and then he proceeded to demonstrate how to take apart a side of lamb. It’s fascinating to watch a craftsman at work, and even though he slowed down for me, he still did it bloomin’ quick! I’m getting really excited about our next collaboration, a Lamb Butchery workshop on the 20th October. I really like working with Steve, and love having the opportunity to put on courses like this for people, mainly because I just want to learn it all myself too! I’ll be writing the course description for the workshop up in the next few days, so stay peeled to the cookery school pages for that. In the meantime, here’s a pic of Steve at work with his meat cleaver splitting a lamb in half:

Steve Rossiter

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!

BBC WM visit Loaf

BBC WMLast night we had the pleasure of hosting a live broadcast by BBC WM during their Drive Time show with Paul Franks. Franksy sent roving reporter Jennie Jones down to Loaf HQ (i.e. Tom’s gaf), to see what Tom’s getting up to, to bake some Ciabatta’s, and pop open some elderflower champagne. Tom featured on the show at 6.15pm and again at 6.45 pm – you can listen again in the next 6 days if you visit the Paul Franks Show on the BBC iPlayer – skip to 2:16 and then 2:44.

Breadmaking Photos

Shaping fougasse before it goes into the earth oven.
Shaping fougasse before it goes into the earth oven.

We had another great breadmaking course here on Saturday, with enthusiastic students creating lots of lovely loaves. One of my students took some great photos of the produce, which you can find on this Flickr set. Said student also happens to be the head honcho at School of Everything, which you should definitely check out – did you know they now have 9,000 teachers worldwide teaching anything from maths to martial arts, amazing! The next ‘Bread: back to basics’ course is on the 17th April.

Course Spotlight: Butchery

I’m really excited about some of our upcoming new courses, not least the Butchery workshop that we’re running in collaboration with master butcher Steve Rossiter on the 14th April. Steve is a bit of a local legend around these parts, founding Birmingham’s first organic registered butchers in Mary Vale Rd, Bournville. Steve has agreed to help me run an evening workshop where we explore beak-to-tail butchery of poultry birds, along with some tasty and impressive ways of cooking them.

butchery poultry logo

We’ll start the evening with a whole chicken (one between two). Steve will then teach us how to respectfully joint it, and show us what else we can do with the various joints. Then I’ll take over, and lead us in some fantastic chicken recipes that show off your new found butchery skills and taste amazing too! We’ll be making butterflied chicken breast stuffed with homemade chorizo, chicken Raz al Hanout with minted cous cous, and pan fried chicken livers with a wild green salad. Anything we don’t cook, you get to take home and show off your new skills with!

The first course is on Wednesday 14th April from 6.30pm-9.30pm, and is a snip at just £50, which includes all the ingredients and equipment, course notes, and a full stomach! There’s still a few places available, so email tom@loafonline.co.uk to book your place!

Fingers crossed, we’re going to be able to offer a lamb-in-a-day type butchery experience in the Summer too!