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Home » Ethics

The Handmade Bakery Co – community supported bakery

Submitted by on February 16, 2010 – 1:14 pm2 Comments

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Using Our Loaf!

Here’s a good example of the circular nature of local, sustainable trading operating between Suma and one of our local bakeries. The Handmade Bakery Co. buy most of their ingredients from us, bake the bread in Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, and we buy it back from them. Simple really!

The Handmade Bakery is a not-for-profit community supported bakery which makes additive free, traditionally crafted and slowly fermented breads, from ethical ingredients – organic flour and local ingredients, where possible.
Many of you will know there’s a world of difference between the factory produced product on the supermarket shelves and the craft made bread. When made with care, bread is not the unhealthy, carbohydrate dietitians want to ban, but an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. The basic ingredients you need for a loaf of bread are flour, water, salt and yeast. However, the loaf you buy from the supermarket or even your local bakery is likely to contain flour treatment agent, bleach, reducing agent, emulsifiers, preservatives and a huge list of enzymes. Enzymes are not required to be listed on the label, because they are treated as ‘processing aids’.

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Keeping Bread

Although they have a shorter shelf life than commercially-produced breads filled with preservatives, artisan breads will generally keep very well – about three to four days at room temperature. Either store the loaf in a paper bag, or place it on your cutting board or counter, cut side down, and lightly cover with a dish towel. If the bread hardens a bit, spray with a little water and heat it in the oven for a few minutes. Refrigerating will only shorten the bread’s keeping qualities, destroying the lovely moistness which is the nature of traditionally made breads. However, the loaves freeze and refresh beautifully. If you won’t be eating it within two or three days, wrap it in aluminum foil, then in a plastic bag and freeze. To refresh, remove the plastic and put the loaf still in its foil wrapping straight into a 190 degree Celsius oven for about 20 minutes. Or, if you prefer, allow the loaf to completely thaw at room temperature and then pop it into a preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

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Training and Courses

As well as baking, The Handmade Bakery is developing courses in home breadmaking. They offer a 1 day course, which will explore setting up and running a community supported bakery. It looks at the practical, technical and community aspects of baking and you’ll be baking some bread as part of the day so you can get your hands on some professional equipment. The day will also be an invaluable chance to meet other aspiring bakers and hear their ideas and solutions, and to develop an ongoing support relationship with them as you progress with your project.

Here’s their website address for more details: www.thehandmadebakery.coop

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