On Saturday, fellow cake lady and real bread enthusiast Fiona and I embarked on a short road trip down to the Scottish Borders to a town called Lamancha. Just past the hub of this tiny town is an organic farm called Whitmuir and nestled into one of the outbuildings on the farm is the Breadshare Community Bakery.
The bread made by the team at Breadshare is sold through the farm shop at Whitmuir but we were lucky to have been offered the chance to have a look around the bakery itself. Geoff and Debra, who have recently been appointed to manage the bakery, took Fiona and me through their real bread methods and ethos.
The bread is made with the minimum of ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast or leaven and is left to prove for a minimum of 4 hours. Debra and Geoff are clearly enthusiastic about their project, and it is infectious. Debra showed us some small containers of leaven she was testing for a workshop with the local scout group. By sharing methods and knowledge with local children, and adults alike, they hope to encourage more people to enjoy making bread.
I could go on and on about our visit but I think that the big message I took away from it was that baking bread...on this level...is really amazing. Debra did mention that when they first started everything was very exact, but now they feel more free in their baking, it's more of a fluid process. I can barely imagine baking with 1kg of flour, let alone 20kg. It is seriously technical and scientific, it is a challenge, and it is something that the Breadshare Community Bakery has embraced.
To bring home with me I bought a Cardamom Almond Roll...totally delicious enriched dough with cardamom slathered with frangipane, rolled up covered in flaked almonds and an egg wash and baked. Normally I am a sucker for an almond croissant but there was something much more satisfying about this roll, perhaps it was the cardamom.
I also picked up this Cheese Scroll. It is mixture of rye and wheat dough mixed with cheese and then rolled. I've only nibbled at the edges so far...
Geoff and Debra were kind enough to offer us some samples not only of something new they are developing (croutons and crisp breads using left over breads) but they also sent us on our merry way with a little pot each of the Breadshare rye leaven to get experimenting with.
Breadshare is not for profit, which means that they can really focus on slow fermentation, the process and the ingredients that go into making their breads. You can buy Breadshare Community Bakery breads through Whitmuir Farm in Lamancha or in Edinburgh at St. Mary's Market on Saturdays and also at Margiotta on Dundas Street. The bakery also featured in an episode of Landward earlier in April.
Thank you again to Geoff and Debra for letting us have a nosey around the bakery. It was a really lovely introduction to community baking I only wish I was able to get down more to volunteer. I should note that the bakery isn't normally open to the public.
|Piggies on the farm! I couldn't resist...|