July 3rd, 2021


This is the weekly newsletter from Loaf in Stirchley, keeping you abreast of our bakery and, once we can re-open it, our cookery school.

This week we meet the baker who’ll be teaching Phil how to make better baguettes, and enjoy a new podcast series rethinking the value of family-owned farms.

But first, if you would like to pre-order your bread and pastries for the coming week, our website is now open.

Pre-order your bread

We have plenty of bread and pastries on the shelves too, with lunches served from noon on weekdays. Scroll down for this week’s lunch menu.

Our opening hours are:
Wednesday: 12-4
Thusday: 12-6
Friday: 12-4
Saturday: 9-1

Cookery school re-opening plans

Photo of Wayne Caddy

Wayne Caddy, the baker’s baker

On Monday, Phil will be attending a two-day ciabatta and baguette course run by Wayne Caddy. ‘Chibs’ and ‘bags’ are breads we’re generally happy with but always felt we could do better or at least more interestingly, so when this quite specific course came up we felt it was a good investment. Phil will be taking extensive notes and his newfound knowledge will spread through the team and into the bakery and the bread course.

Wayne Caddy is a baker’s baker. As well as winning awards for his bread he’s a teacher and communicator, teaching at Sheffield’s School of Artisan Food and consulting as The Essential Baker.

For the more casual bread aficionado, his Instagram account is a lovely mix of delicious photography and practical advice. These angel wings are a great case in point. They look incredible but in the comments he explains how simple they were to make.

Like many teachers who found themselves unable to teach last year, he started a YouTube channel. Among the usual lessons he has a couple of examples of what we might call ‘advanced bread scoring’ by Rosie McCarthy, carving intricate drawings in the dough that reveal themselves upon baking. All bakers develop a knack and style for this, but these are next level.

We can't wait to see what wisdom Phil brings back!

Is the family farm the best farm?

In the world of baking you hear a lot of talk about ‘tradition’, particularly in contrast to the post-war industrial processes that dominate breadmaking today. But tradition can be an insidious thing, its origins obscured by the mists of history. Despite feeling right and proper, reverting to the traditional option isn’t necessarily what’s best.

Landed, the current Farmarama podcast series, is written and presented by Col Gordon whose grandfather rented, and then bought, a farm in the Scottish Highlands. Having grown up there, and recently returned to co-run his inheritance, he’s convinced family farms pave the way to an agroecological future “in which rural areas are alive with culture, many more people work on the land, farms operate in sympathy with nature, and nutritious food is available to everyone in society”.

Progress is slow and he’s not sure he’s making much of a difference in the face of ‘Big Agro’. And then the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 happen. Like many people with more than a modicum of privilege he finds himself questioning a lot of things he’d taken for granted.

In reading about BLM he comes across the phrase “the family farm is a colonial concept” which throws him, along with the discovery that the family farm tradition in the Highlands is only a few generations old. Prior to this, farms were run very differently. What if the family farm is actually part of the problem and there’s a better way to do things?

We’ll have to wait to find out the answer as this is just part one, but it’s a really intriguing start and raises some pertinent and maybe difficult questions for those working to fix the food chain. We’ll be following with interest!

If you’re new to Farmarama be sure and check out Cereal, their previous series on the Real Bread Campaign.

Lunches this week

This week's sourdough pizza is roasted red pepper, courgette, onion, olive, goat’s cheese and mozzarella (V) on sale Wed to Fri.

The soup pot will be serving the following with a slice of sourdough bread:
Wed: Tarka daal curry (Ve).
Fri: Roast mushroom and spinach curry (Ve).

Thursday's focaccia sandwich is curried chickpeas, tomato, radish, rocket (Ve) with optional feta (V).

Savoury snacks include our famous sausage rolls and vegetable rolls, available all week, plus ham & cheese and walnut pesto & cheese croissants on Thursday and Friday.

Lunches are made fresh every day for 12 noon. Our menu for the week is on the website here.

Thanks for all your continued support. See you next week!

Team Loaf: Phil, Val, Neil, Pete, Molly, Nancy, Martha, Sarah & Rach


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