We approached Real Bread Week 2021 (20 – 28th February) as an opportunity to show our support to community bakeries and bakers, and some of the artisan bakeries in our network committed to Real Bread.
We aimed to spread the word about our Solidarity Bags: free bags of Scotland The Bread flour for community bakeries to use in their work keeping folk fed and promoting affordable access to Real Bread and the skills needed to make it.
Read some of the Solidarity Stories coming our way here, like that of Emily Sandeman and Jess Doyle of The Wild Loaf bakery in Everton, delivering sourdough to accompany emergency food parcels.
Solidarity Bag support extends far beyond this or any other week of the year: please help spread the word to encourage bakers to apply for a 16kg bag of flour, generously donated by our customers with delivery coordinated by us.
Each day of the week we also highlighted some of our favourite Real Bread bakeries (and Scotland The Bread flour users) through our social media channels: read on below for introductions to:
Sweet Jane Bakehouse
Orchard Hills Bakery
Strathpeffer Artisan Bread
Jess Rose Young
Courie Courie Bakery and Café
The Wee Boulangerie
Wild Hearth Bakery
Riverside Bakery CIC
Sweet Jane Bakehouse
Sweet Jane is an artisan bakery in Dennistoun, Glasgow. The small but busy operation serves the local neighbourhood and supplies cafes and shops across the city. They specialise in slow-fermented breads alongside a range of cakes and pastries, and use only UK-grown, organic flours from Mungoswells Malt & Milling, Scotland The Bread and Shipton Mill. All Sweet Jane bread doughs, as well as the brioche-based and laminated pastries, follow a 48-hour process, combining sourdough and other pre-ferments with overnight proving. This helps give bakes the most flavour and texture, as well as improving their shelf-life.
Baker John Meechan says: “We’re delighted to support the Real Bread Campaign, and to be supported by them in turn. Making bread properly – whether through eliminating additives by choosing organic ingredients or promoting traditional techniques like natural leavening – doesn’t just produce a tastier loaf, but has knock-on benefits for your digestion, your local economy, and the environment. For us it also means encouraging our customers to bake their own bread, and apart from retailing most of the flours we use, we also sell sourdough starter kits and are on hand to offer baking advice or a jar of our levain to help you get your own going.”
Orchard Hills is run by Michelle and Dave Brewer in Aldridge, just outside Birmingham.
It is a social enterprise bakery with a passion for Real Bread and cakes. The Brewers love baking with ingredients that are organic, local and seasonal, growing some of these themselves.
Dave Brewer says: “Scotland The Bread is growing exceptional wheat and rye. Our wholemeal sourdough has a wonderful earthy flavour and lasts a full week, according to our customer reviews. We believe Real Bread should be available to everyone, and our goal is to introduce it into the community so it can reach as many people as possible.”
Strathpeffer Artisan Bread make Real Bread by hand in the Highlands of Scotland, north of Inverness. Their bread includes sourdough made with just flour, water and a small amount of salt, using all organic grains including Scottish grown & milled too. Nikki Burdekin’s home microbakery was once her daughters’ playroom and now they bake together. They love making real bread with a few quality ingredients that produces a satisfying loaf that is good for you. It is fantastic that flour is supplied in paper bags that can be used again and always end up in their compost area: Strathpeffer bread is a true zero waste product.
Pre-pandemic they sold their bread at local markets in Dingwall and across the Black Isle. During lockdown they carried on baking, delivering bread and flour direct to people’s doors. Burdekin says: “Our customers really value this service; one couple had a newborn baby, another a health condition so delivering direct keeps everyone safe and our miles down.
“We love the flavour, softness and increased nutrition of Scotland The Bread flour. We couldn’t wait to use it in our bread and have even introduced it to our local secondary school. With the help of Scotland The Bread’s ‘Flour to the People’ project, we provided flour to the S1 pupils at Dingwall Academy, who took part in a Cookin’ by Zoom. We demonstrated how to make delicious flat breads that are quick and easy with no waste or packaging. It was great to see the enthusiasm of everyone cooking together and so satisfying to make great food!”
Jess has been running a pop up food business at Bowhouse since late last year, just 2 doors down from our mill! She makes delicious bread and pastries as well as loads of other delicious treats available weekly for collection.
Baker Jess Young says: “Firstly and most importantly for me – the taste of Scotland The bread wholemeal flour is delicious! I use half and half for my wholemeal loaf (with Mungoswells Malt & Milling – another Scottish miller) and it’s got such a distinct savoury, almost nutty taste which I love.
“Unlike some processed, shop-bought bread, working with sourdough is going back to basics – how real bread is made with just flour, water and salt. Making sourdough is a slightly longer process but I think it’s a simple one and the outcome is delicious.
“I’ve managed to feed so many of the local community and the thought of fresh sourdough bringing joy to people during this strange time makes me very happy. I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with the flour. I’ve made wholemeal bread rolls using Futtle beer, sourdough and next week I’ll be using the wholemeal flour for a savoury tart. “There is something extremely satisfying being able to use organic flour that is grown and milled at the Bowhouse where the cafe is too.”
Courie Courie Bakery & Café is based in the East Cairngorms, turning out organic sourdough with a focus on nutrition, using seasonal produce and sourcing ingredients as close to home as possible. Baker Dougal Darroch Stonebridge took over the premises at the start of the first lockdown and fell in love with sourdough baking after being pushed into it by the yeast shortage. Courie Courie are currently offering a home delivery service for their bread, cakes and buns to most of Deeside and hope to get into markets come summertime.
Darroch Stonebridge says: “Scotland The Bread flours are a perfect fit for us in terms of quality and a reduced carbon footprint. We’re working on getting established as a community bakery and supporting our home bakers with flour supplies and helpful information. We’re really looking forward to the future and working with all the interesting things that we’re sure will come out of Scotland The Bread.”
The Wee Boulangerie is a local artisan bakery in the Southside of Edinburgh, producing daily bread slowly and gently at the back of the shop. They use traditional methods from France, Scotland, Germany, Scandinavia, Italy and beyond to patiently ferment doughs, sometimes over days, to bring out different flavours and marvellous nutritional and conservation properties.
The Wee Boulangerie do everything on site and by hand, from turning croissants and shaping cinnamon buns, to roasting vegetables and making tomato sauce to put in pizzettas.
Baker Katia Lebart says: “We work with the weather and the seasons…and we just love it, and love to share with all the taste of real bread! Really, all you see in the shop is made here, from scratch, using simple and natural ingredients, and as local as possible.
“We particularly enjoy using Scotland The Bread flours in our breads, in our Oats sourdough and our ‘Flour of Scotland’ loaf [pictured], a long fermented sourdough loaf with 60% Balcaskie Landrace flour, brimming with linseeds – for a ceilidh of flavours and healthy ingredients – and a tiny wee carbon footprint!”
Wild Hearth are a wood-fired artisan bakery on the edge of the Scottish Highlands dedicated to the world of natural sourdough.
Their breads and pastries are slowly and carefully created by hand from organic flours and wild “starters” for the optimum depth of flavour, balance and lightness. In fact, apart from baguette and ciabatta where they use a tiny amount of baker’s yeast in addition to sourdough, everything they make is sourdough, even the croissants.
They do home deliveries to much of the central belt of Scotland, sell at farmers’ markets, and supply wholesale to shops, restaurants, cafes and caterers.
They also run a community bread cooperative scheme, whereby communities can group together for bread deliveries to save on delivery costs and carbon footprint.
We asked baker John Castley to tell us more about their distinctive rye loaf, baked with Scotland the Bread Fulltofta rye flour: “We call our wholemeal rye bread Swiss Highland Rye because it is based loosely on Walliser Rogenvolkornbrot, the only bread in Switzerland with an appellation d’origine protégée (AOP). It is adapted to be pure sourdough, made exclusively with wholemeal rye flour, and baked in insulated German rye tins rather than directly on the hearth.
“Flavour is paramount for this bread – the unique process, which involves pre-gelatinising some of the flour, results in excellent flavour using even an average rye flour. Scotland The Bread rye flour takes this loaf to a new level, resulting in exceptional complexity of flavour and length on the palate. And we love the fact that we are making an exceptional bread from flour organically grown and milled in Scotland. We really should rename it Scottish Lowland Rye!”
Riverside Bakery CIC is a wee sourdough bakery that’s based in Stirling and delivers everything by bicycle, currently run by Rosi and Nicola. Rosi took on the bakery last March from her friend Théo after having volunteered with him for a year or two, and Nicola is the bakery’s ‘Menstrual Man’, replacing Rosi for one bake a month.
Baker Rosi Koll says: “Our aim is to make nutritious and flavoursome breads and pastries available to the locals, as well as to pass on bread skills by running workshops and enabling people to join bakes as volunteers to learn (which is how we both ended up working as bakers, too!).
“We prioritise using local ingredients and the bakery has been working with Scotland The Bread’s flour since their very beginnings as we believe in their growing methods and ethos (organic, bringing back heritage grains, increasing genetic diversity for adaptability, spreading bread skills etc!). Currently we’re using both the rye (for its caramelising characteristics in a wheat rye loaf) and the Balcaskie Landrace (as a pure tin loaf).”
Reviving Food is a microbakery in a converted horsebox in Kincraig, in the Cairngorms. The bakery produces sourdough loaves and wholesome pastries with UK-grown grains and local ingredients, focussing on feeding the village and sharing stories to reconnect people and place. Baker Rosie Gray is doing this through working more directly with producers, to increase decentralisation, diversity and working towards a more sustainable food system.
Gray says: “I enjoy using Scotland The Bread flour, as I want to choose ingredients which are grown in a way that support the wellbeing of soil and people’s health. It’s great to work more directly, building relationships that allow honest and transparent conversations about our methods. I enjoy the flavour from these more interesting and diverse grains, which are brilliant to use in combination with other flours as well as simply by themselves. They also make more punchy tasting biscuits, I wouldn’t consider using whiter flours for these now.”