Now that the oven is all finished we're busy developing new breads for the Bakery. Matthew is working on perfecting our wholemeal wheat loaf - while we were baking for ourselves in our kitchen during the oven build we tried different ways of doing the wholemeal. Some things were so successful that Matthew is trying to incorporate them into our regular loaf.
I'm working on developing new specials. The Sweet Lemony Fennelly was the first product of this process. The inspiration for the loaf was Laurel Robertson's Bread Book.
The two books which inspired our move to all sourdough, Andrew Whitley's Bread Matters and Dan Lepard's Handmade Loaf, concentrate mainly on white or mainly white breads. Whilst they are both inspiring books, we are so convinced of the taste and health benefits of wholemeal bread that we needed to look further afield for inspiration, and came to the American wholefoods guru Laurel Robertson.
Although Laurel Robertson's bread is not all sourdough, it is a fairly easy matter to convert the recipes to sourdough. This is how I began with the Sweet Lemony Fennelly. I love the combination of lemon and fennel, so I was delighted to come across the mix in one of Laurel's recipes. Hers is a savoury bread. My first step was to convert her recipe to sourdough. The bread came out really well, however, it needed some changes. We wanted another sweet bread for the bakery so we added light muscovado sugar. We also felt that the use of lemon zest would be too fiddly a process to replicate efficiently in the bakery, so we continued the sweet theme and brought in the lemon flavour with candied lemon. We ended up with a delicious loaf, excellent spread with butter the first few days, and toasted with almond butter for up to a week afterwards.
I wish I had a better picture, but I confess I was more interested in eating it than photographing!