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How to get the best from artisan baking equipment
  • Introducing the Fourneau Cast-Iron Bread Oven v.2.0

    Buy Now (Free UK Shipping) Is it always wrong to fall in love with baking equipment? I used to (and still do) feel this way about certain items of stationery. The perfect pen or a decent post-it pad for instance, who doesn’t? I’ve become besotted with my Fourneau cast-iron bread oven. It is quite an investment but it is really at the luxury end of covered bakers, being designed and made in the US with attention to detail and the best materials. The baker resembles a Nissen hut, being a long, narrow dome, closed at one end. Made from...

  • Bannetons - the how to guide

    Why use a Banneton? Bannetons made from natural materials such as the cane and lined wicker ones work by creating a slightly humid micro-climate between the dough and the banneton during proofing. As the dough dries it creates a skin, and this is what makes a superb traditional crust on artisan bread. How to prepare a new banneton? When you get a new banneton it needs a little conditioning to get the best from it. They need a build up of a thin layer of flour in the nooks and crannies. If you ever have the opportunity to peek into the working...

  • How to use a banneton.

    We've got some new bannetons at bakery bits, and they are beautiful.  They are made from sustainable seagrass grown and hand-woven by rice growers in rural Vietnam. I can't recommend using a banneton highly enough to give you a great crust a good structure to your bread - they are to just for sourdough, but any dough that makes bread. Using your banneton. This is a short video on how to use your Banneton.

  • Olive, Feta & Rosemary Sourdough Focaccia

    I love rosemary. Related to lavender, its aromatic leaves work beautifully in any bread recipe, but this combination is magical. I’ve blended the flours to produce delicious, chewy bread and given the dough a long fermentation to really boost the flavour. The result is a robust sourdough that can really carry the depth of the olives and rosemary.  You will also notice that I have reduced the salt to just 5g and this is simply because there is plenty of salt in the olives, feta and the salt sprinkled on top. If want to you could reduce the salt further...

  • Les Madeleines de Janet

    I'm really delighted to share the is recipe because we've now got some wonderful French Madeleine tins in. If you haven’t baked a Madeleine then you missing out on one of the most delightful treats I know. The Madeleine is a light French, somewhat sophisticated small cake originating from The northwest of France, and when baked fresh they are utterly irresistible.  I was taught to make Madeleine by an old lady in the village in the southwest of France called Janet. She was in her eighties and had the energy of a toddler.  She'd chat ten the the dozen...

  • Minestrone Sourdough

    Making Bread Together by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou is my favourite book of 2014.  I wrote about this great bread making book just before Christmas and I am delighted to be able to share this recipe for a wonderful filling bread is from infused with an array of flavours.  It has got potato, celeriac, carrot, leek, red onion, garlic and oregano – all the components of a hearty minestrone soup. It’s fantastic for a winter’s day and feels like a meal in itself! Because this recipe involves a sourdough starter, it will take some time to make, but it’ll be worth it!  Ingredients: ...

  • Welsh Honey & Camomile Bara Brith - with a cup of Clipper Tea

    I know that we are hard core bread bakers but bear with me .. there is a story to this cake.  It began approaching 5 years ago when I started writing my first book.  I was worried about making sure my recipes worked, I had after all only just returned to my career after children.  I advertised for recipe testers on Twitter.  I had just 40 followers and one of the many lovely ladies that came forward was Lynn Hill.  It would really have made her laugh out loud if I were to say that I would be testing out...

  • Why use a stainless steel mixing bowl to make bread?

      If you read last week's beginners breed recipe then you might have spotted my daughter holding a beautiful large stainless steel mixing bowl. I've had lots of people asking about it so here is a little bit more on mixing bowls. A decent mixing bowl is an essential basic item in any baker’s kitchen. I love my old style  pottery bowls, but I would never be without a professional stainless steel one. One of the main differences that I notice between professional bakeries or kitchens and domestic kitchens is the size of the bowls.  In most instances...

  • Chocolate, Cinnamon and Orange Biscuits

    Autumn brings the annual event with a grizzly origin, on 5th November we celebrate Guy Fawkes by burning his effigy on a bonfire - something for the children to enjoy it seems! Guy Fawkes was arrested alongside other members of the gunpowder plot for his part in an attempt to blow up the House of Lords and King James I with it. In response to the foiled plot, bonfires were lit around London and this has become an English festival, having developed into Guy Fawkes night. What would be better than some warming biscuits to nibble while watching the...

  • Sekowa Malted Rye Loaf

    The Germans are known the world over for their rye breads. They also have a hugely popular product called Sekowa, which is essentially a ferment not dissimilar to sourdough that they use to bake long slow fermented bread with. Unlike sourdough though, Sekowa is made using honey, organically grown peas, wheat and maize and the microorganisms are a result of spontaneous fermentation. On the face of it a sourdough starter and the Sekowa Special Baking Ferment starter are very similar, but you get quite different results when you bake them side-by-side. The first thing to note is that...

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