Clarke & Lee Launch Event, 9th March.

February 11, 2014 No comments »

Check out the snazzy poster below, and here’s the link to The Church blog about the event where you can follow a link to buy tickets. Looking forward to seeing you there!

clarkeandlee poster

Goodbye Dom Clarke. Hello Clarke & Lee.

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DomWe are sorry to announce that we will be losing a key member of the Loaf team this Spring. We are preparing to bid farewell to Dom Clarke who has been full time baker at Loaf since we moved to our Stirchley premises in August 2012. Dom adapted to bread baking incredibly quickly (he was a head chef before), and has driven the bakery forward hugely in the last 18 months. He has also brought his cooking prowess to the table and enabled Loaf to do many more things than we otherwise would have been able to do. Before I let you know what he’s up to next (because it’s a bit exciting!), I want to share a few of the highlights of Dom’s time at Loaf:

  • Introducing the Maslin Sourdough – probably our best loaf (that’s why we only bake it once a week, lol).
  • Kicking off our popular pop-up takeaway nights with the burger night, where we served around 100 portions in a couple of hours (and made enough money for Dom to get his pay packet that month!)
  • Starting CANeat, a hugely popular occasional dining experience in the cookery school dining room. In July 2013 this received a 5 star review in the Birmingham Mail and was featured nationwide in the Metro.
  • Creating and delivering a brilliant range of ‘Kitchen Essentials’ courses, from Knife Skills and Stocks and Sauces, to Dom’s particular area of expertise – Cooking Meat.
  • ‘Ryegate’ – that time Dom used all of the rye sourdough starter up and forget to save any – fortunately he found a recent sourdough course student who still had some alive in her fridge and pedalled round to ask for some back!
  • Every baker has forgotten to put salt in a dough before, but who can forget ‘Saltgate’ – the day Dom forgot to put salt in not one, not two, but three of our five daily dough’s. Forgiven but not forgotten!

After Dom leaves in April he’ll continue to teach Kitchen Essentials courses for us in the short term, but we will be bidding farewell to CANeat, as frankly no one else here can cook quite like Dom can! To celebrate CANeat we’ll be saying goodbye to it with a pop-up takeaway night on the 28th February. Keep peeled to the blog / facebook / twitter for details on that soon.

 So, what next for Dom?

It’s my pleasure to announce that Dom will be launching an incredibly exciting food project in Birmingham with his CANeat collaborator and our expert fish tutor Lap-fai Lee.

Clarke & Lee will be launching onto the Birmingham Food Scene on the 9th March in what promises to be a very special dinner, hosted by our friends over at The Church in the Jewellery Quarter. Continuing what they started with CANeat, Clarke & Lee will be ‘Creative Eclectic Dining’. The 9th March dinner is from 7pm at the Church Inn and costs just £25 per person. Tickets available soon from The Church website. You’ll be in for an evening of superbly crafted food, sharing plates of smoked meats, pickles and modern creative cuisine. Here’s a sneak preview of the menu:

Crisp breads, Guanciale, Nuts and Seeds

Sprouted Wheat Rye, Smoked Butter

Aubergines, Crispy Shallots

Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Almonds, Kimchi Mayo

House Salad

Pickle Plate

Beef Rib, Japanese BBQ sauce

Clementine Cake, Crème Fraiche, Pomelo

Green Tea and Yuzu Teacake

Take a look at the CANeat blog for pictures of the previous editions.


Farewell Dom, good luck!



Loaf is Changing

January 30, 2014 3 comments »

Shop Changes

After a successful first year on Stirchley high street Loaf has outgrown the bakery and is expanding to keep up with increasing customer demand for delicious bread & cakes. Thank you to Stirchley Stores volunteers, our customers, bread bond holders, bread club members,  our landlords, Loaf directors and staff for making this success possible. At the end of April 2014 Loaf will be taking over the shop from Stirchley Stores in order to meet our growing customer demand. The new bakery shop will be run & managed 100% by Loaf staff.

20th-25th April 2014: Shop closes for refurbishment
End April 2014: New Loaf Bakery shop opens


The new Loaf Bakery shop will sell:

Our usual selection of delicious bread & cakes
Fresh takeaway lunches & hot drinks
Specialist cookery school equipment (e.g. preserving equipment)
A limited selection of specialist cookery ingredients (e.g. 00 pasta flour, yeast)



A Special Thankyou

To Stirchley Stores volunteers for your hard work, passion & energy this year. You have brought the community together, &  proven that local people are really keen to see positive change on their high street & to see better access to healthy, affordable, & ethically sourced food. We wish you every success in moving forward with new options in the future and hope to see you continue as a co-operative in Stirchley.

Keep an eye on the Loaf website for future shop updates

Real Bread Campaign is under threat!

January 23, 2014 No comments »

The Real Bread Campaign was set up to fight for better bread in Britain, but it’s future is under threat.

Co-founded in 2008 by Sustain and Andrew Whitley of Bread Matters, the Real Bread Campaign has recently lost it’s main provision of funding and is looking for support. Starting with a basic definition of Real Bread being made without the use of any artificial additives, “the Campaign seeks, finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet”.

Real Bread Campaign website

Can you help save the Real Bread Campaign by becoming a member?

Loaf is a member of the Real Bread Campaign because, like so many of our customers, we believe the UK is loosing the traditional skills to bake tasty, wholesome, handmade bread leaving us with cheap, mass-produced additive-filled factory loaves. Not only are these loaves filled with chemicals and therefore unhealthy for us, but they are often transported long distances and therefore damaging to the environment. That’s why we started our community supported bakery to provide healthy, Real Bread to our local community, and through the loaf cookery School teach as many people as possible how to make Real Bread. As well as selling good food, we are also able to help other local people like us restore our local high street to the thriving community it once was.

Chris Young, the Real Bread Campaign co-ordinator says; “Until we secure new grant funding, the only money Sustain (the charity of which we are part) has to run the Campaign comes from membership fees and donations, so getting new members is more important than ever to ensure our survival”.

Bread Lovers

So Loaf is asking bread lovers like us to sign up as Real bread Campaign members and spread the word via Twitter (@RealBread) and Facebook (realbreadcampaign). As a member you’ll receive discounts on courses, a quarterly magazine, access to an online forum for tips and advice on bread making, and more. You can also make a one off donation here. Find our how more on the real bread Campaign website:

Read Loaf’s Real Food Manifesto to find out why we do what we do.

How do you turn a kitchen novice into a fantastic cook?

January 16, 2014 1 comment »

We can’t claim to be able to turn you into Michelin star chefs. Sorry.

Illustration: www.walternewton.Often, we meet neighbours, friends and Loaf customers who’d love to shake up their culinary skills and become better home cooks. Most people’s concern is how to work with ingredients to turn them from bland, same-old set dishes, to an endless repertoire of flavoursome meals that they would be proud to serve. Basically, what’s the magic?

And it’s my concern too. I may be married to Tom, but I don’t share the same culinary experiences, and therefore skill or knowledge (even though most people think we share the same brain!). I’m good at Marketing – but I also love eating good food from around the world, and watching the joy it gives others. So i’m slowly starting to learn too. I’ve done the Bread: Back to Basics course and i’m booked on the Dosa and Handmade Pasta courses.

My culinary wish list is as follows:

  • Understanding flavours – I have a great sense of taste, and grow my own fresh herbs, but I’d love to grasp making fantastic flavour combinations, to transform a dish with a few simple touches.
  • Building Blocks – How do I make the classic stocks and sauces from around the world extra special? (béchamel to improve my Italian cooking; tasty vinaigrettes to lift my salad, tomato-based sauce to die for;  a good solid home-made mayonnaise, and classic French and Asian stocks).
  • Preparing ingredients and utensils – Sometimes my timing goes awry or i’m slowed down by not knowing which utensil to select, or how to use it well for the job intended.
  • International Cuisines – I grew up eating classic British meat and veg dinners, which I love. But i’m also blown away discovering international cuisines from Asia, Europe and Africa, and I simply how I can make them too.

So,  i’m upping my game and booking on some Kitchen Essentials courses , to tick my culinary wish list boxes. Stocks and Sauces, Beans, Pulses and Grains and Knife Skills to start. Fingers crossed.

Kitchen Essentials: a series of evening cookery courses

Led by Loaf Baker and trained chef Dom Clarke, this series of short workshops are designed to help create more adventurous, faster, efficient home cooks. They cover a wide range of skills, and work well as single courses or as a whole set. Each once does what it says on the tin, teaches you a new and essential kitchen skills. Once you’ve learn the magic they’ll be no turning back. All with an evening meal included, cooked by you! Coming up:

Kitchen Essentials: Illustration: www.walternewton.comKitchen Essentials
Knife Skills: Tuesday 18th March
Stocks and Sauces: Tuesday 18th February
Cooking Vegetables: Tuesday 25th February
Herbs & Spices:  Tuesday 11th March
Beans, Pulses & Grains: Tuesday 1st April
Cooking Meat: Tuesday 8th April

To find out more about each workshop visit: Kitchen Essentials. £30 per person per workshop (except Cooking Meat – £40).

Jane Baker


Pop Up Dosa at ORT Cafe

January 2, 2014 No comments »

This just in from Haseen at Pop Up Dosa:

Pop Up Dosa at ORT

Authentic South-Indian Lunch!
Dosa Plate: £7
Dosa Plate+Kerala Dessert+Chai: £9

Saturday 11th January 12-4pm
Avoid disappointment: reserve a table! Please call 07845083322 or email

Dosa Plate: 
Kerala Home Style Masala Dosa, Sambaar Vegetable Stew with Daal and Tamarind, Fresh Coconut Green Chutney and Gunpowder Chutney

- All Vegetarian, Healthy and Super Tasty! – Vegan option.

Taste the real thing, then come and learn how to make them with Haseen himself at Loaf Cookery School – future course dates coming up in 2014, email us to join the email alert list for this course.

Coming up in January 2014

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After a well deserved rest we’re back in full swing at Loaf, with the bakery open and our first cookery school courses to come later this month. It’s pretty fair to say we’ve all eaten a lot of very rich & tasty food over the festive season, so it’s time to get back to some fresh ingredients and good old home baking & cooking. After an abundance of interest in course bookings and gift vouchers over the Christmas period, we’re looking forward to meeting a lot of new faces in the Cookery School in 2014.

Cookery Courses coming up in January 2014

Kitchen Essentials Cooking Meat 14 Jan 2014 Marmalade Masterclass - 15 Jan 2014 Butchery: Perfect Poultry 29th Jan 2014

As well as our popular Bread: Back to Basics, Bread: Simply Sourdough and Handmade Pasta courses, we’ve got the following courses coming up this month:

  • Kitchen Essentials: Cooking Meat – Tuesday 14th January, 7-9pm.
  • Marmalade Masterclass - Wednesday 15th January, 6.30-9.30pm.
  • Butchery: Perfect Poultry - Wednesday 29th January, 6.30-9.30pm.

Click here to see our huge list of Loaf Cookery School courses for January 2014 onwards. Courses book up fast, but are repeated again throughout the year. If you have a gift voucher call us on 0121 458 7682 on email cookeryschool(at) with the name and date of the course you would like to book.

Fig & Raspberry Frangipan

Fig and Raspberry Frangipan ready for the oven

Stirchley Brewhouse

Our Friday pop-up cafe is back for 2014 serving hot and cold lunches, brewed coffee, loose leaf teas and cakes. We’ll be open from 10am – 4pm on the following dates with a new menu on each occasion:

  • Friday 31st January
  • Friday 14th March
  • Friday 28th March

Check out what goodies we have on offer on our events page the day before.

Happy Christmas & Thank you!

December 23, 2013 No comments »

What a year!

It’s been fantastic. Thank you to everyone that has made 2013 a real success. We’ve grown from strength to strength over the year, increasing our staff  team, taking on new directors, extending our selection of bread & cakes, developing new courses and pop-up events and meeting lots of new faces in the cookery school, bakery & on our local high street in Stirchley.

Thank you to all our customers, friends, colleagues & families. Special mention also goes to our:

  • Bread Bond Holders - without whom none of this would have been possible – thank you
  • Bread Club members - for returning to the bakery week after week to pick up baked goodies!
  • Loaf Directors - Matt, Michelle, Russ… and former directors Tim & Ria
  • Loaf Staff - Andy, Dom, Jane, Nancy, Sarah & Tom
  • Cookery School Guest Tutors - Haseen, Lap, Lizzy, Mohini, Rachel & Steve
  • Everards Brewery - our landlords who have helped us grow on Stirchley high street
  • Stirchey Stores Members - for sharing the Loaf love by selling our bread & cakes in the shop
  • Creative & green fingered friends - Clare, Fraser, Jack, Jacob, Kerry, Mike, Paul & Walter
  • Fellow Food Lovers - Brad, Carl, Chris, Krishan, Lap, Nico, Nick, Vic
  • Fordall Farm - a community owned business who are a real inspiration to us.

And many, many more… there are just too many to mention!

Loaf in Lights - Christmas 2013

Have a very Happy Christmas and promise of a wonderful new year.

We look forward to developing new & exciting projects in 2014 and hope you will join us for the ride!

From the Loaf Team

x x x

* Christmas Closure - The Loaf Community Bakery, Cookery School and Stirchley Stores will be closed from Wednesday 25th December, re-opening on Thursday 2nd January 2014. Bread Subscribers – we will be baking for you again on Friday 3rd January.


Christmas Eve – Curds & Whey are back!

December 19, 2013 No comments »

Curds & Whey Cheese Stall Returns – Tuesday 24 December, 8.15am – 2pm.

On Tuesday 24 December Curds & Whey will be back in Stirchley Stores selling a selection of artisan cheese from the UK and the continent.Pop in between 8.15am – 2pm.

You can also pre-order, making buying on the day nice and simple. Pick up an order form from Stirchley Stores or check it out below. Select the cheese you would like and email your order in advance to curdsandwheyuk(at) or call  07964 60 67 62.

Order form (pdf): Curds & Whey Christmas_Order_Form-Dec-2013 (2)

Curds & Whey Christmas 2013 Form

Curds & Whey Christmas 2013 Form







Christmas Goodies from the Bakery

December 2, 2013 No comments »

The mincemeat that we made back in October is maturing nicely, and quite frankly we’ve held off long enough. Now December is upon us, we’ll be unleashing glorious mince pies on you every day in the bakery. We have a deliciously rich mincemeat, which will be stuffed into our own sweet shortcrust pastry and baked fresh daily.

PRE-ORDER STOLLEN – This year reserve your Christmas Stollen (for collection in the shop on 23 – 24 December only). We do not offer a postal service. Our usual selection of bread produced in the Loaf Community Bakery will also be available to buy as usual in the Stirchley Stores co-operative community shop.

Christmas Stollen

CHRISTMAS OPENING HOURSThe Loaf Community Bakery, Cookery School and Stirchley Stores will be closed from Wednesday 25th December, re-opening on Thursday 2nd January 2014.

STIRCHLEY BREWHOUSE – We’re taking a small break from Stirchley Brewhouse throughout December. It’s all hands on deck in the bakery instead in the run up to Christmas. The smell of seasonal dried fruit & spices is amazing. Brewhouse will be back again in early 2014.


Tuesday – Friday     2 – 7pm

Saturday                8.15am – 2pm

Monday 23rd December      2 – 7pm

Tuesday 24 December    8.15am – 2pm

Closed 25th December – 1st January.

Re-opening on Thursday 2nd January 2014, 2 – 7pm.