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Articles & Advice

Getting started artisan bread baking
  • Heritage flour is the latest thing

    One thing we’re often asked by customers is how to best use the Lammas Fayre heritage flours. Given the current interest in heritage grains, it’s not surprising and we’re keen to help out with ideas and recipes. Some bakers it seems, are a little nervous about using these flours. It is understandable that they are worried that ancient wheat varieties might be more challenging to work with and some customers have voiced concerns that this kind of flour may not give good results when used for modern recipes. I can honestly...

  • Vanessa Kimbell answers our Sourdough Questions

    Sourdough Special Many of you know Vanessa as our in house baker for Bakerybits, but she is often referred to as The Queen of Sourdough because day-to-day she teaches domestic bakers to make sourdough at the Sourdough School in Northamptonshire. She has a special interest in bread in relation to health, and is also a regular contributor to the BBC Radio 4 food Programme, and an award-winning author, and writing her third book .. this time on Sourdough! ( at last!) What do you love about sourdough? I have a particular interest in sourdough for health. Research...

  • How get a Sourdough starter

    How do I get a starter? This is a question I get asked often, and there are many different ways to get a starter going. You could make your own.  It can take from a few days to a couple of weeks depending on the flour you use and the temperature. It’s uniquely satisfying and fun, but many people loose patience and give up, or do not recognise when it is ready.   A reputable and supported sourdough starter such as the one sold by Bakerybits is a fast way to get going because it has a...

  • Sharpham Park's Story of Spelt

    One of the farms leading the resurgence in British spelt growing is Sharpham Park near Glastonbury in Somerset. Owner of Sharpham Park, Roger Saul, cheerfully explains how organic spelt is “dead in the water in terms of commercial farming”. The crop yields at best two tonnes per acre, compared to the four tonnes or more you can get from wheat, albeit with a hefty input of fertilizer. You then need to factor in crop rotation – spelt can be grown on the same land for a year or two, but then the soil fertility needs to be rebuilt by growing...

  • 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.

  • Autolyse – What, Why & How

    Autolyse is a technique that is easily introduced into your bread making routine and delivers a dough that’s easier to work with and shape, and a loaf with better texture, rise and flavour. It’s a deceptively simple process. Just combine the flour and water in a bowl and mix until no dry flour remains. Do not be tempted to knead.  Simply cover the bowl and leave it in a warm place for anything from 20 minutes to up to 3 hours. During this resting stage, gluten development begins and simple sugars start to form as starch is broken down. Although...

  • So what makes a healthy loaf of bread without compromising on flavour?

    Bread is an important part of most of our diets. The flour used and the way the dough is made can have a significant impact on the healthiness of the baked bread. So what makes a healthy (and tasty) loaf and how to make one without compromising on flavour? Re-evaluating your daily loaf is really important, and rather than making drastic and unsustainable changes to your diet, what simple techniques will drastically improve the nutrition of home baked bread? The first thing to consider is choosing your flour carefully, to maximise the nutritional value. Make the most of...

  • Mulino Marino Flour & Getting The Most From Them

    We've been stocking Mulino Marino flour for quite some time and have found that they perform consistently, producing great loaves of bread and perfect cakes. With such an extensive range and with them being called by their wonderfully evocative Italian names it's sometimes confusing choosing which flour suits which loaf best ... so we asked Angus McCraig, friend, chef, tutor and the owner of our favourite pub The Holt if he might put them to the test and give us a rough guide to what the flours do best. I think you will agree that this chart is a fantastic...

  • How to Bake with Lavender

    “The the best way to describe Lavender is that it overlays a sweet fruity floral mintyness to baking.  It works with both sweet and savoury and it somehow transforms the everyday baked goods into something remarkable just by showing up in a recipe.  It is worth noting though, that with lavender ... less is more”. Vanessa Kimbell   Over the years I have come to the conclusion that you either love it, hate it or perhaps just a little afraid of it. Blue, mauve, indigo or pink, wonderful aromatic lavender hasn’t always been in vogue  ...  but it...

  • Some quick tips on slowing your sourdough down as the weather warms up

    Sourdough can get a bit over excited as the weather warms up. Slow it down using Vanessa's tips and techniques below. As the weather gets warmer your sourdough might need tweaking - after all your sourdough is alive.  Sourdough reacts to its environment, which on the one hand is wonderful because we can control how it behaves, and dreadful on the other, because sometimes there can be several factors affecting your dough all at the same time and deciding which factor to change can be a nightmare. It’s easy to get into a routine with making...

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