Loaf featured in Hotline Magazine

I’m fortunate enough to be featured in this months Hotline Magazine, which can be found onboard Virgin Trains during the month of May. Check us out on p.23 next time you catch the train, or click to enlarge the image below. Thanks to the delightful Rosie Birkett for the nice write-up! T.

hotline may 23

Loaf wins an award!

tom + sourdough
Photo by Jane Baker / greensnapperphotography.com

Well, I had the honour today of making the winners list for the inaugural MAD’s (McComb Awards for Dining) brummie food awards in the Birmingham Post. Amazingly, I shared a page with such brummie foodie greats as Glynn Purnell, Luke Tipping, and Richard Turner. Not only that, but I seemingly had a whole category named after me, winning the ‘best outdoor-cooked eggs and muffin’ category. You can see the whole article by clicking here or see below for the full text of the mention:

Tom Baker, Cotteridge

Food evangelist, founder member of Birmingham-based LOAF social enterprise and self-taught cook, Tom Baker combines a democratic, culinary zeal with down-to-earth rustic cooking. Yes, like his surname, he is a baker – and an outstanding one at that. One of my food highlights was sharing freshly cooked muffins with the man, topped with fried eggs, all cooked in his adobe-style wood-fired earth oven. Dining alfresco in Cotteridge has never been so good.

Well that just about tops off a fantastic 2009 for me and I hope I can retain the tile in 2010! Tom.

Birmingham Friends of the Earth Christmas Fair

Next Saturday 19th Dec, Loaf will have it’s first stand at a fair – and it’s the Birmingham Friends of the Earth Christmas Fair at Moseley CDT/Moseley Exchange, from 10-4pm. Fortunately it’s the same day as the farmers market across the road, so do pop down to both and come and say hi! On offer will be  fresh sourdough bread (including revolution rye and cotteridge sourdough), fresh homemade stollen and ‘flowerpot’ pannetone, and the chance to buy Loaf gift vouchers for your loved ones, and sign up to subscribe to Loaf community bakery. If you’ve read this and come along, please come and introduce yourself too. Tom.

Loaf Community Bakery

breadThe new year brings big news for loaf – we are launching Birmingham’s first community supported bakery. What the heck is a community supported bakery I hear you ask? The idea is simple, and it’s borrowed from the American community supported agriculture (CSA) model. Each month you ‘subscribe’ to a farm (or in this case, a bakery), giving a set amount of money upfront. Because of your monthly investment and commitment to the farm (bakery), the farmer (baker) has a guaranteed income and so can invest in equipment, tools, supplies, labour etc, in order to repay your investment with an agreed amount of produce every week. The farmer (baker) gets some security and a leg-up in surviving against the industrial food system, and you get wholesome produce, produced responsibly and sustainably, at a fair price.

Loaf Community Bakery will be launching in January 2010, and will provide bread to a limited number of monthly subscribers. Some of our bread may also be available at a local retail outlet for those who don’t want to commit to subscribing. However for the immediate future this will be a very limited scheme, we’ll take up to about 20 subscribers who’ll need to be able to collect their weekly loaf from Cotteridge, South Birmingham, although we will look at an additional pick-up point depending on demand. The bread will be mainly, but not exclusively sourdough, and mainly made with UK-grown organic wheat and rye flour. There’ll definitely be a white sourdough loaf and a 100% rye (which is almost impossible to find these days, especially fresh). Over the next few weeks, we’ll be asking you on here and on twitter how Loaf Community Bakery can best serve you – what day, time, price, variety etc. In the meantime if you have any thoughts or questions please leave them in the comments section below, or send an email to tom@loafonline.co.uk.

If you’ve read this far, why not answer this poll:

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Still time to respond to our last poll too:

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Week One at Loaf Cookery School

pasta courseWell last week saw Loaf’s first week of doing business. We started on Thursday evening with a ‘Handmade Pasta’ workshop. Five people came along (six is our maximum class size), and by the end of the evening had successfully mastered kneading, rolling, and shaping fresh egg pasta, and made three classy sauces to accompany their handiwork. Alongside a nice Chianti, we enjoyed seasonal vegetable tortellini with a butter and blue cheese sauce, paperdelle puttanesca, and taglietelli carbonara. Oh and we made some orechiette with the scraps and a quick gnocchi demo. Phew, it was a lot of fun and the talented students picked up the techniques extremely quickly, without even using a pasta machine!

Saturday saw the first full day ‘Bread:back to basics’ course, and it was a sell out. We had a fabulous day, and produced some great breads.

bread course

Despite the weather we were dashing in and out to the earth oven to bake our white and multigrain loaves, in which we had earlier made our own pizza’s for lunch and fougasse to show off! We covered a couple of different kneading techniques and made some stunning ciabatta’s too. We covered the principles of sourdough baking, and I’ll be seeing some of the students next year when I do a Friday eve/Saturday morning ‘simply sourdough’ course – should be great fun! We finished off making brioche dough, and each student left with a bit of dough to refrigerate overnight, and bake at home. Check out this review of the day on the No Love Sincerer blog, and see our upcoming courses here.
All in all a great first week, knackering stuff though!

Loaf hits the headlines – part 2

bham mailWe’ve been featured in the local papers again, this time in the Birmingham Mail. We were on the front page of the Mail’s Food and Drink section on Thursday 29th October, with another half-page inside that section. It’s all good stuff, and the earth oven features a bit more prominently in the print version, and there’s a bigger photo on the online version too – you can read all about it here.

Loaf hits the headlines – part 2

bham mailWe’ve been featured in the local papers again, this time in the Birmingham Mail. We were on the front page of the Mail’s Food and Drink section on Thursday 29th October, with another half-page inside that section. It’s all good stuff, and the earth oven features a bit more prominently in the print version, and there’s a bigger photo on the online version too – you can read all about it here.