The Brockwell Bake started as an annual real baking competion and meet in Brockwell Park, Lambeth, South London in 2008. In 2009/10 we expanded our activities aimed at promoting knowledge and choice in baking in our local area to include growing heritage wheats on allotments, school and community gardens and with farmers close to London. We stone mill and bake with our wheat through out the year and at events such as the Lambeth Urban Green Fair and the Feast on the Bridge, The Mayor's Thames Festival. We also do real baking workshops with local schools.
Two years of baking just 18 loaves per night/day in our outdoor mobile wood oven has had to come to an end as new home cannot fit the oven. In any case baking maximum 18 loaves per day/night through two winters of snow and rain is enough plus was nowhere near satisfying our consumers' justifiable demand for BBA bread. So now we have moved on to bake our loaves using the flour from our new Astrié mill inside our local Bread Bread bakery. 3rd generation Roman baker Enzo and his assistant Louis are now helping faithfully craft our Brixton Sour loaf, and two new loaves with a rather softer crumb, the Lilford Log (3K) and the London Country stick (750g) have been added to our range. If you would like to try our bread please email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07852863952.
Baking with Georgian wheat and a Georgian baker
Jean-Jaques Jacob came from Georgia with the very special Doli wheat flour of Georgia to bake with us for the Georgian "Supra" banquet at the first RAW festival of organic and bio-dynamic wine. Doli is an amazing and unique aromatic wheat with flavours like cinnamon, plum, roasted green almonds. The whole occasion was very interesting and exciting, especially to make friends with Jean-Jaques. We hope not too long before we can meet again, here or in Georgia and that if his harvest this year is good we can maybe import some Doli grain to mill and bake with here.
BBA expedition Bretagne - late July 2011
Visit in July 2011 by BBA members Andy Forbes and Vincent Talleu to the Breton village of Laurenan to check out the mills made by Samuel Poilâne of type "à meule de pierre type Astrié" to see whether right mill for BBA. Samuel with his partner Valérie Poilâne-Tabart also bake bread for the neighborhood every week as well as supplying organic veggie boxes. Lovely to also to meet again after their London trip their three very lively lovely sons Ismaël, Jason and Perig Poilâne-Tabart.
We also made very interesting visit to the peasant farmer/bakers Julie and Florian on their "Ferme de Carafray" and their heritage wheat trials.
Wheat Harvest - 10/8/10
Pics by RAA plotholder Elkin Atwell as we try late night to finish harvest on plot 35 and 36 before the start of a wet August 2010.
Spring Wheat, South London, 2010
Sowings around South London on school, community gardens and allotments during March 2010 including 16 heritage wheats (early cultivars and may be a few landraces) from the John Innes Centre’s BBSRC Small Grain Cereal Collections.
Trip to John Innes Centre 28/7/10
Trip to inspect heritage wheat trials in the John Innes Centre’s fields near Norwich as guest of Mike Ambrose, curator of the BBSRC Small Grain Cereal Collections
Tivissa, Oct. 2009, oven firing and wheat planting
After a long wait, since the oven was uncovered and dome rebuilt in 1998, finally manage to get a new oven door together and make pizza and bake decent bread in Gary and Adrian’s oven 9th October 2009. Plus dig over the huerta behind the lower caseta and a patch of the meanie (fennel) field and do a first sowing of the Letts Winter mix of traditional UK wheat.
oven and mill, Pyrenees, France
a few pics showing baker/mill set up in Pyrnees. We believe the mill/bakery supplied bread to about five local villages so quite big by local standards. Oven was of the ’gueulard’ design.
The new very old Artofex mixer
Now that I had an oven that could bake more than one loaf at a time I found I needed a bigger mixer than my so called ’Heavy Duty’ Kitchenaide. Remembering the Artofex ’triple action twin reciprocal plunging arms’ mixer (originally a French make) Richard had shown me at Baker and Spice I started a search for one. Luckily I came up with an expired ebay auction, where no bids had been made, whose seller turned out to be just 8 miles away in Mitcham - I know of other people who are scouring across all continents to find the same machine . Here you can see other bakers describe this as the Stradivarius of dough mixers, its certainly the mixer that most closely mimics hand kneading to make a beautiful silky, ’artisanal’ style dough. My machine was originally supplied to the ’Laboratory of the Government Chemist’ in 1974 and appears to be in perfect working order - due to the amazing quality of its materials and engineering. Just its quiet deep hum when running makes the Kitchenaide sound like a tin and plastic toy in comparison.
Videos - "a dough mix" video of mixig of a 3 kilo dough batch, 65% hydration white sourdough from poolish. Two 12 minute mixes with 15 minutes rest between. "lifting arms"
Traditional wheat from Madeira provided to Brockwell Bake by Rosendale allotment holder Antonio Luis
During the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons we sowed wheat in the Lambeth and Southwark area including samples of early cultivar and UK landraces of spring wheat from the BBSRC - Small Grain Cereal Collections at the following locations.
Community Gardens and Farms, Hyde Farm Community Garden SW12,
Arden House, Lambeth Walk SE11 5QH, Community Garden Mayow Park Sydenham SE26, Brookwood House Council Estate Community Garden, Southwark SE1, Guinness Trust Estate Allotments Brixton SW9, The Onion Shed @ Roots and Shoots SE11 6DN, Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses SE24 9BJ, Vauxhall City Farm (with local Primary School) SE11 5HS, Cowley Estate Farm SW9 6LZ, Sutton Community Farm SM6 0SH, Myatt's Fields Park Project Group SE5, Oasis Children’s Nature Garden SW8 4ER, Chiswick House Walled Garden W4 2RP, Burges Salmon LLP BS2 0ZX, Tooting Community Garden SW16, Surrey Docks City Farm SE16 5ET, Edible Bus Stop, Landor Rd. SW9 9NU, Slade Gardens Adventure Playground SW9 0AB
Schools and Colleges, Rosendale Primary School SE21 8LR, Friars Primary Foundation School SE1 0RF, Walnut Tree Walk Primary School SE11 6DS, Reay Primary School SW9 0EN, Streatham and Clapham High School SW16 1AW, Hackney Community College N1 6HQ, Sprouting 56 - Camberwell School of Arts SE5 8UF, Prior Weston Primary School EC1Y 8JA, The Elmgreen School (Secondary) SE27 9BZ, Brindishe Lee Primary School SE12 8NA, Buckland Primary School TW18 1NB, Heswall Primary School CH60 7SD, Tower Bridge Primary School SE1 2AE, St Johns Angell Town CofE Primary School SW9 7HH, St Michael Steiner School Wandsworth SW18 5ST
We have also delivered a programme of three wheat and baking workshops to Key Stage 2 at four of these schools, Rosendale Primary School, Walnut Tree Walk Primary, Reay Primary School and Friars Primary School.
In addition we supply heritage wheat seed for school and community sowing projects to community groups and schools outside of London across the UK.