The residents of Crich (pronounced cry-ch) in Derbyshire are very lucky – They have the loaf – a wonderful artisan bakery – deli – cafe run by Andrew Auld and his partner Roger. We made a slight detour on our recent trip to the Dales in order to go and visit him. We have exchanged recipes and posts on Dan Lepard’s forum and I had a great time being shown round the bakery and getting a serious lesson in making 100 per cent spelt breads and pasteis de natas. I think I’m getting the hang of the bread finally and I have no excuse now not to make those custard tarts as I have been given all the info to make them work!
Andy makes a full range of breads from 100% rye sourdough to traditional wholemeal loaves, there’s a cafe serving great food, and a deli section as well. His list of breads is flexible and there is always something new coming up. He has customers who come from miles away to stock up on his wonderful breads. This business is an inspiration showing that you can go into baking from a non-conventional background providing you have the enthusiasm and the passion to do it and are prepared to work seven days a week to make a go of it with 3 am starts!
While we were sitting nattering away over a delicious lunch of pinenut and goats cheese quiche with tabouleh salad, I noticed that the shelves which had been maybe three quarters full when we arrived, were emptying rapidly…
and I suddenly got anxious that there would be no bread left by the time we went, so I got up and grabbed some loaves to take with me. One is based on Dan Lepard’s barm bread, made with beer from a local pub, another is based on a light rye bread formula that was shared on Dan’s forum and a couple of rye breads from recipes that I had passed on. When we finally got to Yorkshire we ate most of the bread we had brought with us, sharing it with the Dales Dough Do on Friday night. The barm bread with soaked raisins was particularly popular, I of course love the seeded rye based on this recipe (but then I would!)
The french baguettes at the loaf are made from Jeffrey Hamelman’s poolish formula, though I read on Andy’s website that he is making some new italian style baguettes as well now, he also offers one of Mick Hartley’s seed and sourdough specials every Saturday. These are all tried and tested breads that sell well and are popular with their customers.
This is sounding like one of those reviews you read in a paper, it’s not meant to be. We had a lovely time; the sun shone, we got to look at a bakery, admire the five deck oven and talk about proving baskets and the price of flour and how to get your scones to rise straight and not twisted. It was great fun. Go and visit the loaf if you are over that way, that’s what I want to say – and keep talking – exchange thoughts and ideas – and everyone will get to eat better bread, whether you bake it yourself or live near an oasis of a bakery like this one.
And if you are lucky enough to have a good bakery near you, then don’t forget to support them and buy the bread that someone has been up at all hours of the night getting ready so it is fresh for you in the morning.
I’d love to hear about your favourite breads and your favourite bakeries, though I might get very jealous!