The Baker’s adventures in Wales.

Many of you ask how Tom and Jane, who founded Loaf from their home in Stirchley back in 2009, are getting on these days. Tom will be back at Loaf on Saturday 17th November to teach Simply Sourdough (there are places available, book here) and as you’ll see if you read on we’re not sure how regularly we’ll be hosting Tom’s courses in future as he and Jane’s new ventures in Wales are very exciting!

Jane on the Machynlleth Market stall.

After having their son Reuben in 2016 and Tom taking an extended period of parental leave, they headed off in a campervan, visiting bakeries and permaculture projects across Europe and searching for the right place to start the next chapter in their lives.

Machynlleth in mid-west-Wales is that place! They moved in April this year and started a new ‘micro-homestead and family bakery’ called Rye & Roses or Rhyg a Rhosod in Welsh. They sell their bread at Machynlleth’s amazing weekly market – the biggest street market in Wales. Tom bakes purely sourdough from Loaf’s original sourdough starters, with a focus on whole-grain loaves from non-commodity grain milled by water power at Felin Ganol just down the coast.

Award winners already!

They’ve benefited hugely from taking over their spot on Machynlleth market from Mair’s Bakehouse who had been selling wood-fired sourdough bread there for the past 9 years, and had decided to retire this year and kindly endorse Tom and Jane’s new enterprise. They’ve also hooked up with another bakery, Andy’s Bread in Llanidloes, and formed the ‘Mountain Road Bread Collective’ and sell their bread together at the market and other events.

Tom makes everything by hand (no mixer!) just like the early days of Loaf, and currently bakes in a semi-commercial ‘Rofco’ oven in the conservatory. They’re hoping to be fully off-grid with the bakery in 2019 and put a wood-fired oven in a purpose-built bakehouse in the garden.

Perhaps most exciting of all is their forays into farming. They have just planted up a fifth of an acre on a local farm with an organic population of winter wheat, and they’ve agreed with another local organic farm to rent an acre for grain growing over the next few seasons. And Jane has enrolled on an innovative horticultural training course called ‘Pathways to Farming’. Exciting times ahead! Follow their progress on Instagram and twitter (@ryeandroses), Facebook
(https://www.facebook.com/ryeandrosesmachynlleth/), and at www.ryeandroses.co.uk

Farmer Bakers!

We’re looking for new local suppliers

We’ve always done well with a number of local producers and suppliers, from Cuffufle‘s jams and chutneys to Pip’s hot sauces, and we’re now actively looking for more for the bakery shop 

We have three broad criteria:

  • Local businesses. Stirchley is the gold standard, of course! But West Midlands based in great. 
  • Bread-related. We sell bread and bread-making equipment, so we’re looking for products that complement. Spreads and sauces are obvious winners and coffee always sells well. What else might people who are buying lovely bread also need?
  • Stuff we can use. One of the founding principles of Loaf is you can do what we do with the tools and ingredients we use. Everything we sell in the shop is or could be used in the bakery, cookery school or for preparing lunches. Usually we source this from Suma wholesale, but it’s be lovely to get it locally. 

Beyond that, products should obviously be packaged professionally for retail and according to food hygiene standards. They should ideally have a long shelf life, though we are open to selling perishable items if it’s worth it. 

Terms are figured out to mutual benefit, so if you’re producing something that fits some, if not all, of our criteria, please get in touch with Pete at info@loafonline.co.uk

We’re also going to be actively looking at places like Stirchley Community Market and always welcome tips from our customers. What would you like us to sell? 

Coming up at Loaf – a Pop Up with Lap-Fai Lee and our closed week

Here’s what you can look forward to over the next couple of weeks at Loaf. First up, next week Lap-fai Lee is back in the kitchen, bringing you our #TEAMRICE pop up on Thursday 23rd August. Doors open at 6.30pm and it’s first come, first served. It’s eat in or take away and we’ll do our best to throw a good queue party for you all. Here is the menu – Kerry’s final design before she finished at the end of July, featuring Molly’s illustrations.

The following week, Loaf will be closed for annual maintenance from 28th – 31st August. Don’t worry, we’ll make plenty of bread on the Saturdays  so you can stock up! We will be in the building doing work but don’t be fooled, we won’t be baking. Instead we’ll be tidying, sorting, organising, painting and all the other things on our list of odd jobs.

In the cookery school, August courses are full but there are spaces on several dates in September, including:

Dosa on Tuesday 4th or Thaali on Tuesday 25th both with Haseen from Kings Heath’s Pop Up Dosa.

You can join our Martha for Bread: Back to Basics on Thursday 13th.

Loaf founder Tom Baker is back in town delivering a Sourdough course on Saturday 15th.

Phil will be teaching our ever popular Handmade Pasta course on Tuesday 18th and he’s about to spend a week holidaying in Italy so we’re expecting fresh inspiration when he returns.

Enjoy the rest of the warm weather everyone, see you at #TEAMRICE!

 

 

 

What’s on at Loaf this week?

Hello! Here is the lunch menu for the week ahead:

Tuesday: Tarka daal with sourdough (be)
Wednesday: Roast squash, caramelised onion and blue cheese sourdough pizza (V)//Squash, lentil and walnut salad with focaccia (Be)
Thursday: Chlodnik (cold beetroot soup) or borscht (depending on the weather) with sourdough (V)
Friday: Salt beef on challah with mustard and pickles//Sri Lankan carrot and coconut curry with sourdough
Saturday: Salt beef on challah with mustard and pickles//Veggie sandwich on brioche roll

We had another lovely breakfast and bike ride with our friends at Birmingham Bike Foundry this sunny Sunday just gone – the next one will be on the 9th September. The rest of the week is quieter for us – no courses until next week when we have the following – still spaces on Thai and Sweet Breads and Viennoiserie, follow the links to book your place!

Wednesday 15th – Thai Cookery with Lap-fai Lee, one place available.
Thursday 15th – Bread: Back to Basics with Rob, fully booked.
Saturday 18th – Sweet Breads & Viennoiserie with Rob, five places available.

Today is Stirchley Community Market day, we won’t be there this time but there are loads of lovely stalls to be found from 4-8pm at Stirchley Baths.

#thebreadfastclub getting hot this morning on another great ride

A post shared by Worker Co-op // Bike Shop (@birminghambikefoundry) on

August in the Cookery School

Hello,

We’re well into the summer holidays now and August is just around the corner. August is always a time when Loaf slows down in the bakery, we have less courses and we take some time to reflect on how the year is going.

You may have seen our last post; we’re taking a week off at the end of August. We will be closed Tuesday 28th August until Friday 31st Aug, opening up as normal on Saturday 1st September and for the Thaali course on Tuesday 28th August.  We’re hoping to spend the time having a bit of a rest and all being well, giving the place a lick of paint – do you have any local recommendations for painters and decorators?

We have a handful of courses taking place and all of the following have availability – it would be wonderful if you’d like to join us on the and learn skills for life.

We’ll be making Som Tam Thai (spicy papaya salad), Nam Pla Ra (fermented fish relish with fresh vegetables), Pla Tort (deep fried grouper with Nam Jim sauce), Massaman beef curry and Yum Makeua Yao (smoky aubergine salad with egg).

Learn the art of dough lamination and creating classic sweet treats such as brioche, chelsea buns, cinnamon buns, and hot cross buns. You’ll also be turning your laminated dough into four classic viennoiserie – croissants, pain au chocolat, pain aux raisin, and danish pastries.

Learn how to make alkali noodles from scratch and use them in two classic Asian noodle dishes; Chinese dandanmian and Japanese ramen. Dandanmian is a Sichuanese street-food staple, quick and easy to prepare. Tonkotsu ramen is the slow simmered pork bone broth originating in the south of Japan and is now beloved globally. We’ll make all the usual accompaniments, the braised pork belly, marinated egg and black garlic oil.

Thaali is a meal made up of a selection of vegetarian dishes served on a platter. In Kerala it is known as Sadhya (banquet), traditionally served on a banana leaf, often in large quantities; for weddings and other special festivals and celebrations. Typical dishes include rice, daal, saambar, vegetable stir fries, papad, curd (yoghurt), and chutney or pickle.

The photo is Lap teaching on our Bao course, photo by Jack Spicer Adams.

Photos from Chinese Bao & Dumplings course

Last month we had our brilliant photographer Jack Spicer Adams in on our Chinese Bao & Dumpling course by Lap-fai Lee.

Here are some of the photos – mouthwatering!

The next class is on Weds 5th September and there’s only a couple of places left so don’t wait if you’re keen to learn how to make Chinese Bao & Dumplings.

We’re hiring!

Big news for the Loaf team – we have two vacancies coming up! It’s bittersweet as we are saying goodbye to two wonderful team members – Kerry and Rob – but they both have exciting plans and we wish them all the best.

If you would like to apply – have a look at the adverts and job descriptions on our jobs page – we really hope to hear from you soon!

New face in the bakery (UCB Placement)

If you’ve been in to Loaf over the last few weeks you might have seen or met Kajol, who has been doing a work experience placement with us. Kajol is studing at UCB College of Food – which is where Loaf alumni, Anna Claringbull, studied before joining Loaf – Anna now works at Lune Croissanterie in Melbourne.

Kajol got stuck in with all aspects of the baking assisting mostly Neil – from shaping sourdough, refreshing the starter through to learning how to make croissants. It was really lovely having Kajol in the bakery with us – the experience taught us a lot too. Best of luck with what you do next Kajol!

Course highlight – Simply Sourdough (THIS WEEKEND!)

It’s Monday – so we are CLOSED. Although we are all in for a team meeting this afternoon!

This week we have three courses in the cookery school;

How to Make Dosa
Tue 17th, 6.30-9.30pp £65pp (one place available)

Bread Back to Basics
Thurs 19th, 9.30am-4pm £120pp (FULL)

Simply Sourdough
Fri 20th – Sat 21st, £120pp (6 places)

It’s a good time of year to book on to Sourdough – the bonus is we’ll teach you how to look after your starter in this (glorious) weather 🌞 we run this course once a month only, and it’s a two-session class – you’ll come in on a Friday evening to refresh the rye sourdough starter, and mix and knead the wheat sourdough loaves. You’ll return on Saturday morning to shape your wheat and rye loaves, and enjoy a hearty brunch with sourdough English muffins or sourdough pancakes. There’s plenty of time to discuss techniques, equipment and baking to suit your lifestyle. There is of course, lots of bread to take home too!

More information on the Simply Sourdough course page on our website.