Posts Tagged ‘bread’

Brand new Viennoiserie and Sweet Breads course

March 9th, 2015

take home breads small

On Saturday we held our first Sweet Breads and Viennoiserie course, which by all accounts was a roaring success. I was super nervous about the first one as it’s the first new bread course that I’ve introduced for a couple of years and I didn’t have any jokes lined up about laminating. I needn’t have worried as we had a great room-full of people who were chatty, interested, and by the end of the day, very talented! I just wanted to share a few pictures of the day and encourage you to book on our May dates which still have spaces (14th and 23rd May). The above picture was kindly sent in by Chris Wordsworth when he got home and spread out everything that he’d taken home from the course. The rest are some photos taken on my phone during the day! You can find out more about the course and book online here. TB.

Loaf is Changing

January 30th, 2014

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 23rd, 2014

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.

Christmas Goodies from the Bakery

December 2nd, 2013

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.



One year on: ode to the wood-fired oven

September 13th, 2013

The Good Old Days…

Back in 2009 Tom began Loaf, baking bread in a wood-fired oven in our garden in South Birmingham for our neighbours and friends. Seeing this picture, below, again reminds me of the smoky taste and smell of the bread Tom used to bake, and the way it all started. Authentic, fresh, Real Bread. Celebrating our first anniversary on the high street this week (8 Sept 2013), we owe the success of Loaf Community Bakery and Cookery School to those early days baking in the garden, to the support of local people, a growing staff team and to Tom’s determination. And it has been worth it.

Earth Oven Course


Earth-Oven Building Weekend – 28th – 29th September 2013

It’s really very simple, cheap building an earth-oven once you know how. Our final Earth Oven Building Weekend for the season is coming up on Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th September 2013. So, if you missed out on our previous courses and fancy a little dabble at making your own you’re just about in time. We only have a few places left.

The course is great for both garden, food and bushcraft enthusiasts, and definitely for those that don’t mind getting their hands dirty. No experience is needed, we’ll teach you everything – just a willingness to get stuck in. You can cook practically anything in a wood-fired oven, from bread and cakes to casseroles and pizza, all with that unique smoky taste. And there really is nothing quite like it.

For more info and to book visit our Loaf Cookery School page



Below: The good old days – Tom featured with our earth-oven in Virgin Train Hotline Magazine (May 2010). More early Press coverage  here.

Virgn Hotline Magazine May 2010


Stirchley Community Market celebrates it’s third Birthday

August 2nd, 2013

Congratulations to Stirchley Community Market! Here’s why…

Kerry Leslie, volunteer market committee member writes:

The vibrant community market in the South Birmingham city suburb of Stirchley began with a partnership between arts group Stirchley Happenings, local cookery school and community bakery LoafSouth Birmingham Food Co-op, and Birmingham City Council’s Town Centre Partnerships.  Stirchley Community Market launched on Tuesday 27th July 2010 with its first market in the car park of Stirchley United Working Men’s Club, selling wholefoods, bread, hot curry, pizza, artisan preserves, cupcakes, seasonal fruit and vegetables, and local arts and crafts. Since then, the market has gone from strength to strength, and has doubled the amount of stallholders on offer each month, yet it still remains an inclusive, fun, community and social event, not to be missed by locals and wannabe Stirchley residents.


Stirchley Community Market – Vegetropolis stall

Stirchley Community Market’s main aim is to give the local community and commuters on their way home from work an opportunity to find out what Stirchley and the surrounding areas have to offer. You can meet some excellent food producers and craft makers from within Birmingham, and pick up some tasty treats and hot food, as well as your groceries shop. Stirchley Market was the first to include Birmingham streetfood stalwarts Meatshack and Pop Up Dosa, as they both made their market debuts here, and there continues to be a wide range of hot food on offer, as well as entertainment and drinks from inside the club.  It’s also probably the only market to have it’s own song – written by Stirchley dweller Newton Chambers. 

Market Manager Chris Swann says; “Stirchley Community Market was born from a desire of residents to promote the best of the local area, in both the produce which it creates and the sense of community that it fosters. The positivity of all those involved from the outset meant that a group of well meaning people could create something that was greater than the sum of its parts, aided by the professional expertise of an excellent Town Centre Manager in Matthew Powell, and the generous spirit of both our volunteers and our hosts, Stirchley United Working Men’s Club, who have provided us with a space to thrive for the past three years.”

The market takes place on the 1st Tuesday of the month, 4–8pm at Stirchley United Working Men’s Club, B30 2PP. The next one is on Tuesday 6th August 2013, 4pm-8pm. 

The market is entirely run by volunteers, with the market committee made up of Chris Swann (Market Manager, also Stirchley Happenings), Tom Cahill-Jones (Stirchley Happenings), Nancy Langfeldt (Birmingham Bike Foundry), Rachel Carter (Cufuffle Chutneys) & Kerry Leslie (Created in Birmingham).

Loaf, Building Community Through Food

June 13th, 2013

As a social enterprise Loaf was set up with the purpose to promote good food and healthy living in communities and build community through food . This means putting our profits towards social projects, primarily in our local community.

This month we welcomed year 6 children and parents from our local Stirchley Community School on Pershore Road to Loaf Cookery School for their very own bread making workshop. The afternoon was a huge success and as teacher Karen Sweeney said “They had an amazing time! The children they were raving about it!”. With three year 6 workshops in total, and comments shared that it was one of the best workshops we’ve ever been to, we’ll take that as a thumbs up! In June we also hosted an enjoyable bread workshop with adults who are deaf and hard of hearing through the work of national charity deafPLUS.

For more Stirchley Community School workshop photos visit their school website – you may even spot a few familiar local faces.

Stirchley Community School Bread Workshop at Loaf

Year 6 pupils, parents & teachers from Stirchley Community School enjoy making bread at Loaf

Parents & children from Stirchley Community School at Loaf

Parents and children from Stirchley Community School at Loaf

We also offer occasional work placements to individuals with a passion to develop a professional career in baking, which this month included Megan Jones who is studying for a Diploma in Artisan Baking at the prestigious School of Artisan Food.

Megan Jones on student placement at Loaf from The School of Artisan Food

Megan Jones on student placement at Loaf from the prestigious School of Artisan Food

Loaf Goes Wild

June 13th, 2013

Since our high street opening in September 2012 Loaf has been involved in some inspiring and innovative food collaborations, from baking Art Bread with Eastside Projects, to Beer Bread with Stirchley Wines and Spirits and Brewdog Birmingham using a range of their selected bottled beers. Our most recent collaboration has taken Tom even further afield, to combine wild food with Real Bread.

Forest Baking

Over the years Tom has met many inspiring real food evangelists including Chris Bax, the founder of Taste The Wild. It is here in their 18 acre woodland in Yorkshire that Tom recently lead a hugely successful open air bread making course. Going back to nature, this course with a difference included cooking in a wood-fired oven without any electricity or running water, and with endless wild forest ingredients to choose from. Transforming Loaf’s usual bread making course to this rural location, the results were equally impressive. A unique and enjoyable collaboration to be remembered, and hopefully repeated.

Here are some forest bread baking pics, by Jane Baker:

Bread Making course at Taste the Wild in Yorkshire

Loaf bread making course in the 18 acre Yorkshire woodland home of Taste the Wild

Shaping the dough before proving. Copyright Jane Baker

Tom demonstrates how to shape the dough before proving

Chris Bax (centre) of Taste the Wild. Copyright Jane Baker

Chris Bax (centre), expert wild food forager and founder of Taste the Wild

Loaf course participants. Copyright Jane Baker

Loaf course participants get stuck in to making real bread under canvas at Taste the Wild

Fresh pine needles, one of the added foraged ingredients for making wild bread

Fresh pine needles, one of the added foraged ingredients for making wild bread

fougasse before baking. Copyright Jane Baker

A fougasse before going into the wood-fired oven

Earth oven bread baking. Copyright Jane Baker

Earth oven bread baking in the forest.

ACE Leadership Programme Visit to Loaf

June 6th, 2013

Arts Council England, with the Black Country Living Museum, is funding a 9 month programme to transform the futures of twelve museums. As part of their leadership training programme twelve successful museum applicants will visit Loaf to learn about the real life development of food social enterprises as part of a continuing grassroots food renaissance.

Alongside Tom, the programme is also working with, amongst others, famous sculptor Anthony Gormley, Andrew Lovett, Chief Executive Black Country Living Museum and Michael Day, CEO Historic Royal Palaces, so it looks like applicants will be in for a real treat.

Their deadline for senior museum professionals to apply is 14 June. For more information visit:

Loaf Cookery School

A Bread: Back to Basics course at Loaf Cookery School

Launching – The Loaf Loyalty Card

March 15th, 2013

Last week we sent whispers around that we would soon be launching a Loaf Loyalty Card. Well the card is now up and running and available in Stirchley Stores. Just pick one up or ask at the till.

The Loaf Loyalty Card is our way of saying thank you to all our regular bread customers and local supporters, without which we would not exist. So, thank you!

Loaf Loyalty Card