Behind The Blue Door

Afternoon Tea | December 13, 2015 |

Secrets from the bakery:

a favourite recipe shared



Trends come and go, fads are over before you know they exist but one food remains steadfast at the nutritional helm of our nation: bread.

In all its forms, bread remains the most widely-consumed food in the world – with ancient bread-making mentioned in the Bible and remnants being discovered in prehistoric pestle and mortars. But the modern, ‘evolved’ loaf is a very different beast altogether.

Real Bread enthusiasts have recently begun popping up all over the country to reclaim the loaf from cheap, hastily-produced bread – search the online directory to find natural loaves local to you.

We spoke to one baker listed on the directory, Al Kippax, from York’’s Bluebird Bakery, who gave us his thoughts about the future of bread:

““There’’s been a surge of interest in provenance in the last decade – people want to know where our food actually comes from – and I think this is linked to how much we trust our manufacturers. It has allowed the growth of a new breed of artisan producer; one who creates authentic food with simple ingredients.”

But what does this mean for large scale industry and what is the future for mass-produced bread?

As Al explains it, “”There’’s a shift towards more sustainable and small-scale bread producers like myself – but big supermarkets are big for a reason. Price, ease of access and tons of variety means that there would have to be a pretty big sea change to knock them off the top spot.””

Freshly baked bread is one of life’’s greatest comforts, but how easy is it to recreate at home? We asked for a simple Bluebird Bakery recipe.

The Bluebird Bakery Rustic Cob

For the overnight sponge:

  • 150g strong white bread flour (preferably organic)
  • 95g water
  • 0.5g yeast
  • 2.5g sea salt

For the final dough:

Overnight sponge and:

  • 155g strong white bread flour
  • 100g tepid water (23C)
  • 3.5g salt
  • 2.5g yeast
  1. Create an overnight sponge by mixing together all ingredients in a non metallic bowl and leave for 12-16 hours.
  2. When ready to make the bread, weigh out all ingredients. Mix the water with yeast then add this to the dry ingredients and overnight sponge in a bowl.
  3. Bring together with your hands to form a rough dough and then start to knead on a lightly-floured surface. Knead for around 10 mins until the dough feels nicely elasticated. (If using a mixer with a dough hook, mix on slow for 2 mins, fast for 5 mins). Put the dough into a clean lightly-oiled bowl and leave to double in size (about an hour depending on the room temperature).
  4. Knock the air out of the dough by folding it into itself from each side, while still in the bowl. Leave for another hour.
  5. Take the dough out of the bowl, roll into your preferred shape, then leave on a piece of baking paper covered with a tea towel for its final proof. Preheat your oven to 230C/Gas 9 (if you’ve got a baking or pizza stone, place it in the oven now).
  6. When you think the loaf has risen enough, lightly prod it with the tip of your finger. If the imprint stays as it is, then it’’s ready, but if it pops back out it needs a bit longer. Spray the loaf with water, slide the loaf onto the baking stone or baking tray and bake for about 35 mins until golden brown.
  7. Wait until it’’s cool enough – then slice, serve with proper butter and await compliments.
The Bluebird Bakery granary

Appetite for savoury inspiration? Discover the best recipes for an unforgettable afternoon tea.


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For a unique serving idea, why not present your fresh bread on a Wedgwood Cuckoo sandwich tray? Skillfully-made in fine bone china, with a burnished gold edge line, it will do justice to your efforts.

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