Yeast, Bacteria and Sourdough

Yeast and Bacteria don’t really sound like things we want in our food but actually most of them aren’t so bad. They are just tiny little organisms that live all around us, in the air, in the water, on plants, fruits and grains. They also live inside of us. Yeast is a microscopic type of Fungi, mushrooms are also a type of fungi and we like them! Most bacteria and yeast are very helpful to us but some are dangerous and can make us sick. Those are called Pathogens.

 

A sourdough is dough in which wild yeasts and bacteria have been cultivated. Once water is added to flour it is kept and maintained in a warm place. This creates a perfect environment for the micro-organisms to thrive and multiply. After several days, as they reproduce, the dough will contain a far higher concentration of yeast and bacteria than normal.

 

 A mature sourdough will take between 5 and 7 days to create but will take over a month before a fuller flavour will be developed. It can then be kept “alive” indefinitely for as long as it is looked after. Some sourdoughs have been known to be over 100 years old, handed down through generations of baker’s.

 

Lactobacillus is a friendly bacterium which feeds on sugars and excretes lactic acid. The lactic acid gives the sourdough its distinct sour flavour. It also kills off other micro-organisms which tend to spoil food and this is why sourdough bread has such good keeping qualities. 

 

Wild yeasts within the dough feed on sugars present in the flour and release alcohol and carbon dioxide. This is called fermentation. The carbon dioxide gets trapped and causes the dough to “rise”. In case you were wandering, no you won’t get drunk from eating lots our bread. The minute traces of alcohol present in the dough get vaporised as the bread bakes.

 

Strains of these micro-organisms vary from region to region, so the flavour and characteristics of the dough will differ slightly from place to place, for instance a San Francisco Sourdough made in London will not taste anything like an original San Francisco Sourdough.

What is Spelt?

Spelt is a grain similar to wheat with a mellow, nutty flavour. Spelt was probably what the ancient Egyptions were using to make bread.

Most Spelt is organic because it has a thick husk which protects the grain from pollutants and insects without the need for pesticides or other chemicals.

The spelt kernal is usually stored in the husk and separated just before milling. This not only protects the kernal but retains many of the nutreints and flavour. It is high in fibre, B complex vitamins and 25% higher in protein than modern wheat.

Spelt also seems to be easier to digest and has been used as a wheat substitute for people with wheat allergies. If you are wheat or gluten sensitive, consult a doctor before trying spelt.

If spelt is so good, why are we even bothering to grow modern wheat? Well, modern wheat has been bred to be easier to grow, harvest and mill. Farmers and millers can get far greater yields out of modern wheat than they can from spelt. With so many people in the world to feed nowadays, this is a good thing.

When baking with spelt, bear in mind that the gluten is not as strong as in modern wheat and the dough must be treated much more gently. Although it is possible to get some great breads using spelt flour, it requires much more skill to get a consistent result. Replace wheat with spelt flour in cake and biscuit baking where stronger flour is not so necessary.

Give baking with spelt a try. We're sure you'll be pleased with the results.

New Job Opportunity

Retail Development Manager

 

We are an award winning, wholesale artisan bakery which is now expanding into the retail market. Our current aim is to pioneer the re-emergence of the community/village high street bakery. This expansion has created a new and exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic, creative, hands-on and proactive Retail Manager to join our team.

 

As the Development Manager, your role will be to help us establish and oversee the retail side of our business. We intend to establish a small chain of high street shops which reflect our company’s values.

 

Responsibilities will include:

  • Seeking, developing and establishing new retail opportunities.
  • Designing and implementing shop fixtures and fittings.
  • Recruiting and training a team of store managers and market sellers.
  • Ensuring customer service is of the highest standards at all times.
  • Actively liaising, communicating and developing good relations with the production team
  • Ensuring our stores and market stalls maintain outstanding visual presentation at all times
  • Managing the redevelopment & expansion of our Farmers’ Markets & appropriate Food Event opportunities

 

The Person must possess:

  • A background in food retail management
  • Passion about delivering the highest possible levels of customer service
  • An ability to visualise and create individual, unique & attractive store displays
  • A commercial and marketing understanding.
  • An ability to drive sales and get the best from individual team members
  • Confidence, be outgoing - and most importantly, LOVE good food!

 

Benefits:

  • 25 – 30k per annum
  • Generous bonus structure
  • Staff discounts
  • Opportunity to develop within an exciting and forward thinking business.
  • Car allowance or access to a company vehicle