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  1. How to use Bakers' Percentages

    The recipes that most of us are familiar with use specific weights of flour, leaven, salt etc in grams, teaspoons, tablespoons, cups or ounces. But what if you would like to make the recipe a little larger, or a lot larger? Doubling or trebling a recipe using mental arithmetic is usually easy enough but can lead to very annoying mistakes (at least, in my experience!). Making an odd proportion of the original recipe, say 3/4 or 2.5 times is much more prone to error. Read More
  2. First Honey of the Year!

    Just sharing some of our excitement at Croakham Farm with our first honey of the year - 76lb - the first for 3 years as we've had no summer for ages so we're happy with that. The farm next door has been good enough to plant lots of Oil Seed Rape - great for bees and bad for hay-fever... Read More
  3. Is This Normal, Doctor?

    No, not laid by the metal chicken but by a free-range ex-battery hen. We've had lots of odd shapes, huge and almost square eggs but none the size of a walnut. Not even a mouthful! Poor hen must be protesting at the wild wind and rain today. She probably still squawked as loudly as ever when she laid it though.
  4. Original Beans - The Very Best Organic Chocolate - Flavour and Ethics

    Original Beans - The Very Best Organic Chocolate - Flavour and Ethics
    Everywhere you look there is a large range of chocolate available as confectionary and for cooking (couverture). Which is good - which is bad? Not easy questions to answer in the chocolate industry, much of which is still wracked with dubious labour practices and where the vast majority of chocolate is produced by a small number of processing conglomerates from which the familiar brands buy their materials. What makes the best chocolate? The answer to this is quite straightforward and similar to most other foods: use the very best raw ingredients and don't add anything else that cheapens or disguises the content. Chocolate should only be cocao, cocao butter and raw cane sugar (and milk for milk chocolate of course). No need for emulsifiers, lecithin or vanilla, all of which are signs that the product is compromised in some way. At BakeryBits, we want to offer the best ingredients without compromise. Original Beans is a Swiss-based chocolate company that produces only organic chocolate bought directly from individual smallholder farmers, all based in biodiversity hotspots, paying well above the Fair Trade premium generating funds for training and planting seedlings to extend the local rainforest. Continue reading →
  5. Baguettes, baguettes!

    Javier Mercado teaches students at Westminster College for a foundation degree in Culinary Arts. He teaches breads and decorative showpiece breads and yesterday taught a session making baguettes using our rolling boards, couche rolling cloths and grignettes. The photo is the result of their first go - pretty good!
  6. What Makes a Good Olive Oil Good?

    What Makes a Good Olive Oil Good?
    Stocking Pelia olive oil has taken the team at BakeryBits on a bit of a journey to understand the differences between olive oils especially the complexities of the flavours - and how to characterise them. Philip at Pelia has given us the benefit of his extensive knowledge, some of which is related here. Philip describes the key aspects of olive oil flavours and what to look for when you taste them. The way that olives are grown and transformed into the delicious oil is a very important contributor to the final quality of the oil. We have a video showing how this is performed at Pelia along with a description of all of the stages in making the oil. We found it interesting enough to warrant a blog article and hope that you agree. Continue reading →
  7. World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

    Macmillan Cancer Support has its World's Biggest Coffee Morning on 30th September and in addition to this, it has produced a lovely little book The Little Book of Treats which is available from Marks and Spencer stores. It contains lots of cake and biscuit recipes that made my wife and daughters ooh and aah - and compelled them to try a couple of them. They made the Beetroot and Chocolate Brownies and Claudia Winkleman's Gingerbread Men, although our girls made Gingerbread butterflies which were delicious. We're going to have a go at the Pumpkin and Ginger Cupcake and Sophie Dahl's Lemon Capri Torte recipes next. Read More
  8. Dan Lepard to Open Eden Project Bakery

    Dan Lepard is due to officially open the new bakery at the Eden Project on Monday, 3rd October 2011.
  9. A Day in the Life of a Phoenix Baker

    Recently, Aidan Chapman, master baker and joint owner with his wife, Lisa, of the Phoenix Bakery in Weymouth invited me to come along and spend a Saturday on his Apprentice Course to experience his one-man artisan bakery at first hand. It's a compact bakery with the shop-front split between sales and baking, all on full display to passing trade. Above the shop and bakery, Aidan has a café through which there is a steady stream of customers munching on the pick of the day's quiche, bruschetta and cake with a fresh coffee. Read More
  10. Crop to Crust Conference

    Why not come along to the From Crop to Crust conference on 16 April in Stratford-Upon-Avon? From Crop to Crust is a conference that celebrates the role of the traditional mill in the local community as a source of local food, employment, community and renewable energy. Through a series of workshops, demonstrations and networking opportunities artisan millers and bakers will...