Today’s guest blogger is artisan baker, Carol Hunter from Worthing. Grainwave is Carol’s business and she sells baked goods, including gluten free bread from her home in Worthing and at Goring farmer’s market.
A day in the life of ……… a fairly average (self-proclaimed) artisan baker
The ‘early to bed, early to rise’ maxim has always been in my subconscious, but only became a reality when I started my own business a couple of years ago. That’s when it became a choice thing rather than a struggle. (the ‘late to bed, late to rise’ – student thing and ‘no-sleep, early rise’ of new-born infant thing were something else entirely!)
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So what that means for me these days is starting the day with some ‘overnight oats’ – my own choice of additional nutty, seedy material to some basic bircher muesli soaked in organic soya milk. Fruit – it happens to be foraged blackberries from my own hedge this morning – and half a banana.
In winter it’s porridge – minus the seasonal blackberries – cranberries and grated apple. Oh, and lemon and ginger tea. I’ve taken advice from my Chinese doctor, mentor and well-being guru on the tea. She’s right, it’s a brilliant early morning de-tox. Whatever the season, if I start the day with that kind of combination, I know I can get to lunchtime without deviant snacking!
If it’s summer – which it seems to be for at least three days a week at the moment – I need to get on task immediately after my muesli. Summer is busy for my best customer – a local seafood restaurant – so today it’s early morning slicing and wrapping of the light soda bread ready for lunchtime service.
This is a great recipe and I often make extra for my own bread bin. Easy to digest unyeasted bread made with a blend of organic white and stoneground wholewheat flour. I add lemon juice and zest as it goes really well with fish and seafood plates at the restaurant. At home I just toast it like normal bread and have it with poached eggs, but it’s great with your favourite breakfast spread – honey or nut butters are delicious!
I never have enough eggs!
OK, so far so good. Almost eleven o’clock and seem to have found enough to distract me from any thoughts of food. Namely, a trip to Sainsbury’s for essential supplies – why have I never got enough eggs? I have a very convenient arrangement with my neighbour Zoe; she hands over a consignment of eggs from very happy hens and in return I supply her with organic home-made bread for the weekend … and still I end up at the supermarket making up the shortfall!
After a diversion to buy paint, I arrive home and embark on a small DIY project – painting a couple of tired old chairs. That takes me industriously towards coffee o’clock.
Time to get Zoe’s bread on its first proofing. Today it’s organic malted sunflower seed. I get all my flour delivered from a traditional flour mill in Gloucestershire. Once I tried it, there was no going back. The quality speaks for itself. I don’t make fancy bread, people are happy with a nice wholesome loaf that tastes good with anything – which isn’t that difficult if you make it yourself.
Pictured 48% hydration sourdough
The key element to home baking is the time you can give your bread to rise properly. All mine is done at room temperature. No running up and down stairs to the airing cupboard, just leave it to do its own thing – which may be most of the day. That way, the bread doesn’t start fermenting again in your tummy, which means no bloating
The last thing I do most evenings is weigh and feed my sourdough starter. This is the science part. OK, I don’t use my own wild yeast in every loaf, but by growing your own yeast, the only thing in your bread dough is flour, water and salt and nothing else! So for my bread it’s’ early to bed, slow to rise’ and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
A note from Honey
Thank you Carol for sharing all your bread insights. I will be along for a loaf soon 🙂