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Articles & Advice

Getting started artisan bread baking

  1. Dark Rye, Light Rye, White Rye, Wholemeal Rye....and just plain Rye

    Dark Rye, Light Rye, White Rye, Wholemeal Rye....and just plain Rye
    We frequently receive questions about rye flour. "What's the difference between dark rye and wholemeal rye?", "Is rye flour wholemeal?" for example. Hopefully this short and simple article will be just the thing to clear up what you need to know about rye flour nomenclature. Thanks to a conversation with Andrew Wilkinson of Gilchester for some of the details. There...
  2. Which Yeast is Which?

    Which Yeast is Which?
    There is a wide range of yeast available at BakeryBits. Which one should you choose, what's the difference, how should they be used? Some yeasts are general purpose while others are specifically formulated for a particular job - raising a high-sugar dough sugar as panettone for example. Many versions of yeast have arisen in response to commerical bakery plants that...
  3. What is Emmer Flour?

    What is Emmer Flour?
    Emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum), milled to make Emmer flour, was domesticated from a wild grass and Einkorn in the Ancient Near East over 9,000 years ago. Einkorn, together with naked barley, arrived in Britain around 2,000BCE, where together they were believed to have been the principal bread “corn” of Bronze Age farmers. Emmer was not a very high-yielding wheat so...
  4. 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
  5. Sourdough Starters - How Do you Care For Yours?

    Ask a dozen bakers how they look after their sourdough starter (or leaven), you'll probably get a baker's dozen replies. Everyone starts by avidly following guides to get started - Dan Lepard's method in his excellent The Handmade Loaf is how I started mine, several years ago now. Read More
  6. Basic Equipment

    Artisan bread-making is an extremely rewarding and traditional craft using natural leaven to raise the dough and create fantastically tasty sourdough breads! So how do you get started? Read More
  7. 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 →
  8. The Story of Ndali Vanilla

    The Story of Ndali Vanilla
    Vanilla - Baking IngedientThe Ndali Estate is a 1000 acre farm set in volcanic soil in the tropics of Western Uganda. The farm specialise in the organic, Fairtrade growing and curing of fine vanilla, the best of which is sold as "Ndali" vanilla. Vanilla grows best in small-scale agro-forestry, it takes considerable time and care to produce the beans. Vanilla flowers the world-over are pollinated by hand to ensure a good crop since the very specific pollinating insects are not numerous enough to ensure this. So, the farmers must be on-hand within 8 hours of the flower opening to perform the delicate operation. After pollination, the beans then take 9 to 11 months to be ready for harvest at which point they are still green. Continue reading →
  9. Living with a Wood-Fired Oven

    I've had a Four Grand-Mère wood-fired oven in my garden for a couple of years and have been learning how to get the best out of it. I've baked with it in 8" of snow and often in the dark, but can confirm that decent weather and daylight are more pleasant. As a weekend baker, I prepare for a large...