To celebrate Real Bread Week 2019 we organised a ‘flour share’ event with some of Scotland’s most talented bakers.
The three bakeries that took part are all masters of their sourdough craft, committed to slowly fermented, flavour-full Real Bread. We sent them a sample pack of our heritage flours, in return for honest feedback.
Scotland The Bread flour is lower in gluten and therefore ‘softer’ than conventional bread-making flour. It handles differently, requiring a delicate touch and less kneading than bakers are used to. Our bakers rose to the challenge, experimenting with it and producing beautiful loaves.
Caroline Walsh, Archipelago Bakery
Archipelago Bakery can be found on Dundas Street in Edinburgh’s New Town. Director Caroline trained on a Professional Bread Making Bread Matters course with Scotland The Bread co-founder Andrew Whitley, and now her bakery and café serves up bread and cakes, as well as a café lunch menu and wholesale baking. Archipelago uses only organic flour, and Caroline asked for Golden Drop to make a Real Bread Week loaf with, and also Hunter’s for a wholemeal carrot cake.
Caroline said: ‘We made a wholemeal sourdough using Scotland The Bread flour. It was a lovely texture with good crumb and nice and spongy on the inside. It also tasted really good!’
‘Our chef Paul made a carrot cake and it was gorgeous – nicer than normal even though we always use wholemeal flour. It was lovely and moist.’
Matt Fountain, Freedom Bakery
Freedom Bakery is a commercial bakery with a difference: it’s a social enterprise that believes that people at risk of committing crime can benefit significantly from professional training and employment opportunities.
Freedom Bakery was established in 2015 at HMP Low Moss. It started life as a small bakery within the prison walls, training inmates and wholesaling to cafes and restaurants in Glasgow. In 2016 Freedom made the decision to expand. Almost a year later after a successful Crowdfunder road and major investment from Resilient Scotland, a new, purpose-built bakery was opened in Glasgow.
They continue to work with prisoners from Greenock, Barlinnie and Low Moss prisons who come out to the bakery on a training programme on day release. Where possible Freedom actively seeks to offer employment to apprentices after release, and where this isn’t an option they work with a number of partners to assist them into employment.
The Bakery is committed to Real Bread principles, including using neither preservatives nor additives. They specialise in slow fermentation bread with a minimum 20 hours given to doughs, and use Scottish flour sourced from farms as far north as Orkney and as far south as East Lothian.
Matt Fountain, Freedom Director, asked to experiment with Rouge d’Ecosse, and the verdict quickly came back: ‘it is a wonderful flour indeed!!!’
He continued: ‘The formula we used for the bread in the photograph was 75% Rouge d’Ecosse, 8% Strong Organic White (Mungoswells), 17% white organic mother. The hydration is 77%.
‘The flour is quite weak in strength and it took longer to prove than our usual wholemeal flour (again from Mungoswells) but it baked really well. The flavour is amazing with warm, earthy notes. The crumb is lovely and with quite a soft texture as is the crust which caramelises nicely. It’s great in fact!
‘Rouge d’Ecosse is a flour that will promise a lovely crumb, great flavour and a wonderful appearance to a baked loaf. It is something very special.’
Aliona Eardley, The Riverside Bakehouse
Aliona Eardley runs The Riverside Bakehouse, a small bakery and cafe located in the rural hamlet of Abbey St Bathans in the Scottish Borders.
Everything is handmade: they produce small batches of slowly fermented sourdough bread, a range of beautiful cakes and pastries, as well as seasonal soups and salads with a focus on local produce.
Aliona used Rouge d’Ecosse flour in her test bakes. ‘The flavour of the loaf was superb, really gorgeous earthy notes,’ she said.
She sent back useful feedback on the flour’s handling. She made two loaves, finding the usual hydration produced an over-wet dough that needed a tin to bake it off: ‘The second time I dropped the hydration to 80% and also subbed the flour with a bit of organic strong white to improve gluten structure. A gentle hand-mix with cool water really helped, I gave it 2.5 hours bulk with several stretch and folds and then long final prove in the fridge overnight.’