I realise that, despite the grand ambitions of this daily blogging malarkey, the actual baking has been limited to some pizza and a single loaf! For that I can only apologise and say that I plan to bake a bit more over the next few days starting tomorrow (and tomorrow and tomorrow…).
Today I thought I’d just share a few links to sites and organisations that I have found helpful. This is by no means meant to be exhaustive and I will probably add things to it as I remember them but they are just things I have found helpful.
The Real Bread Campaign, run by the indefatigable Chris Young, is a marvelous organisation which provides support, advice and networking for anyone with an interest in ‘Real Bread’ (as opposed to mass produced, chemically enhanced pap). The campaign has built up around it a great community of bakers, both professional and amateur, and I am frequently amazed by the goodwill and generous sharing of skills and advice. Membership is just £22.50 a year which gets you a quarterly magazine (which is worth it just for the bread-related puns if you ask me!) as well as discounts in bakeries and on courses across the country. It also supports the campaign’s media work, raising awareness of the benefits (health, financial, ecological, community etc.) of supporting your local bakery or making your own bread.
The School for Artisan Food is a cookery school which focuses on traditional, artisanal crafts, particularly baking, butchery and cheesemaking. The school is set in the grounds of a beautiful old house near Worksop in Nottinghamshire and runs a range of courses from short taster sessions to whole day or multi-day courses to a year long diploma course for professional (or aspiring professional) food producers. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to attend a day long ‘European Breads’ course there courtesy of a Real Bread Campaign competition and it was that course which really ignited my passion for baking. I learned so much just in the space of the eight or so hours that we were there with the tutor Emmanuel Hadjiandreou which transformed how I think about baking.
I mentioned Bakery Bits the other day when I was rhapsodising about dough scrapers but it is worth mentioning again as it is a great place to get whatever baking equipment you happen to need (and plenty that you didn’t even realise you needed!).
Shipton Mill is another place that I mentioned the other day as it is where I get most of my flour from. They have a very good online shop and apparently you can also visit the mill itself which I would love to do some time.
A couple of years ago, when I finished working for our old church to start theological college, the church family gave us a very generous cheque as a leaving present with which we decided to invest in a pizza oven! I had often wondered about building one but knowing that we will be moving around fairly regularly for the forseeable future there had never really been a good time or place. However we came across this company based in the same town that we lived in so we thought we’d pay them a visit and we found a brilliant little father/son startup business making fantastic ovens in a range of sizes and styles. When we visited they were just arguing over who would get to deliver and install an extra large oven on a millionaire’s yacht in the Mediterranean!
This blog is great because it has regular (it seems to be monthly at the moment although it is sometimes more frequent) “YeastSpotting” roundups. These consist of pictures and links to loads of blogs about bread and are great for getting ideas or just looking at pretty pictures! I have submitted a few of my posts to this and still get a steady trickle of visitors from it nearly two years on. Susan also occasionally blogs herself and these are always worth reading although she hasn’t been so active recently.
So there we have a few of my more frequently visited sites, I’ll try and add some more as I remember them!
How about you? Are there any blogs or websites that you have found helpful?