Monday 30 March 2015

Flour & Water

We keep two sourdough starters. Extravagant I know. This is mainly down to nostalgia but there’s the odd occasion where there are benefits of maintaining two at different hydrations or water contents. Sanj is getting on a bit now, born in my old flat, named after a flatmate and good friend he’s been with us throughout our baking journey. Clare, his classier other half has nobler heritage and hails from 200 year old Lapland stock if you buy into that kind of thing. I don’t. Granted I like the story and want to be part of a baking lineage, but my own view is that your starter quickly adapts to the local microflora, ours having long ago acquired a Bristol accent.

As an experiment I wanted to start a new starter. One born and bre(a)d in Bristol [sorry]. I mixed equal parts flour and water and left it on the counter. Repeated this once a day discarding 3/4 of the mixture and after a week baked a loaf. It really was that simple.

I lie. Baking’s not simple. Baking the perfect loaf’s a Sisyphean task, but one where you’re rolling dough not boulders and even the disasters taste great. Getting you own starter going is simple though and well worth the effort - amazing what you can do with just flour and water.

Seven days of starter evolution and the resultant loaf
There are plenty of well written guides online for making our own starter so I won’t dwell on the specifics, I like this one for example. Although my personal tips would be the following:
  • Use a decent organic flour with as much whole grain as possible
  • Rye makes a welcome addition, it has more soluble sugars than wheat and typically higher amlyse activity, all of this equates to more food for the starter
  • Don’t bother with fancy glass Kilner jars, granted they look nice but with regular feedings and cleaning they smash far too easily. This grows tiresome. Cheap plastic containers like soup containers work much better
  • And finally if all of this still sounds too daunting, give us some notice and we can bring some of our starter along to an event for you (assuming you pass our extensive starter adoption vetting process)

Thursday 5 March 2015

Russian Doll

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On the surface there’s not much to this newsletter, a few paragraphs which don’t really do justice to the last few months. Give the links a click though. Make yourself a cup of tea and peel back the layers on what we’ve been up to.

Restaurant news

I’ve now lost track of the number of sites we’ve visited. Turns out placing a three tonne oven on site makes some landlords uneasy. But it feels like we’re gaining momentum, with leads starting to reach us through customers and word of mouth. We have a couple of front runners, but until these things are done - they’re not. So for now we’ll remain tight lipped. Rest assured you guys will be the first to hear once it’s all signed.

Last hurrah before we kiss our holidays goodbye

We spent the last few weeks in the US. A west coast pizza road trip to visit some of the best pizzerias and bakeries in the world. We met some incredible people and have returned inspired - and slightly overweight- ready to progress to the next level. Full writeup can be found here, make sure you’ve got that tea.

Hart’s 2

It’s with a massive smile and giddy jig that we announce we’re back at Hart’s Bakery on Friday 20th March for another pizza popup. The last sellout event was great fun and we’ll be back with the winning formula of wood fired sourdough pizza and bring your own booze. We’ll be serving from 5pm so come down early before we run out of dough.

Moor of a good thing

In a warm up for a bigger event in May (weekend of 16th, paired pizza and beer anyone?) we'll be popping up at Moor Beer's tap room next Friday evening (13th) to prove there's nothing unlucky about it.

Shameless self promotion

We don’t believe in competitions, food’s too subjective. There’s no one ‘best pizza’ with so many styles, interpretations and variations on a theme. We do however see the impact awards can have and as a fledgeling business, if you were prepared to vote for us in the Bristol Good Food Awards click here, we’d be eternally grateful. I think it was Anthony Mangieri who said that “taste may be an opinion but quality is a fact” - we’re committed to improving each day so stick with us for the journey.