It’s been mayhem in the Market Cross kitchen today, Belford has a community market every bank holiday weekend so I am busy kneading and proving my loaves. I bake around 20 to 30 loaves to sell and it’s usually a mixture of white, brown, spelt and fruit loaves. It takes me a few days and is full on but I enjoy the challenge of making so much and with only one oven.
When I first arrived at Market Cross, bread was one of my many passions. Having recently been to Edinburgh on a course with Andrew Whitely I knew I wanted to make all my own bread for the B&B. Being really keen, as usual to use local produce wherever possible I was very pleased to have 2 flour producers right on my door step. After struggling for a few months to get my bread right I decided to go on another bread course, this time with Bread & Roses in Alnwick. While there I discovered that the local flours contained higher levels of gluten than I was used to. That was why my bread was not rising! Changed my flour and hey presto, great bread.
Variety being the spice of life I have made many different types to go with various dishes. Sour dough, focaccia, baguettes, soda bread and ciabatta to name but as few. It depended entirely on what dish I was preparing of course and was part of the meal plan, particularly when we were serving evening meals. I have sometimes struggled in the winter to get it to rise (old house) and in the summer with it over proving.
Having recently met the new miller, Dave from Heatherslaw Mill near Ford and Etal, of course the conversation turned to bread, flour and all things baking. I explained my problems with the local flour and Dave told me that it was to do with the quality of the wheat and the way it was milled. He suggested that I try the Heatherslaw flour and I am currently using his wholemeal and malted.
Steve and I went up to the mill to collect our first batch of flour and had a guided tour. It is really fascinating and well worth a visit when you’re in the area.