Nothing rivals good quality, fresh bread. The comforting yeast smell, the crisp and chewy crust, the slightly rustic look and the depth of flavour are unbeatable. This is the idea that community bakery Breadshare have tapped into with their range of nutritious, organic, additive-free breads produced in their newly-established bakery in the Scottish Borders.
Having experienced Breadshare’s breads at St Mary’s Market in Edinburgh, I decided to take advantage of a free weekend (in April and May, these are few and far between for me!) and take a trip down to the Breadshare bakery with the lovely Victoria. We were lucky enough to have a peek in the kitchen and were made very welcome by Geoff and Debra who kindly took us through their their bread making processes.
From this modest kitchen in the Scottish Borders, over 800 artisan loaves are produced every week. The loaves include yeasted breads, Italian breads, sourdough loaves and even the occasional sweet treat. The loaves are sold in a multitude of ingenious ways: the shop at Whitmuir: The Organic Place, just a few steps away from the bakery door, stocks an extensive range; loaves are sold by volunteers at weekend markets in Edinburgh; and through the bakery’s Breadbasket scheme where locals take multiple loaves back into their own communities to distribute and are paid for their work in bread.
The bread itself is made without additives, preservatives or commercially enhanced processes. There are large mixers present in the kitchen (mixing 60 kilos of bread would be back-breaking without them!) but there are no commercial proofers or proofer ovens. In this kitchen, the bread dictates the processes and not the bakers. The bakers and volunteer bakers must assess the temperature of the kitchen on a daily basis and monitor the bread throughout the process to ensure that it it doesn’t over-proof. These facts put together demand a high level of talent and knowledge from the bakers and also ensure an attractive natural variation in the loaves produced.
Given that the shop was only a few feet away from the bakery and it was the day after payday, I treated myself to a few of Breadshare’s finest loaves.
I fully intended to freeze some of these, thinking that we couldn’t possibly eat them all. How wrong I was! Two days later there remained only a bit of the bata (perfect for breakfast) and a few slices of the olive loaf. There is no denying that this is quality real bread produced in a community-focused way. I just can’t get enough!