Our unique culture
Two indispensable factors allow us to make our classic artisan breads on a large scale. First is the use of our own levain in place of commercial yeast and the second is our huge stonebake oven, made with granite slabs.
Ancient Egyptians knew that stones on the floor of the oven, once brought up to temperature were ideal for rapidly penetrating the dough, forming a gorgeous crust and developing the flavour intensity.
The Country Style Test Bakery is home to a well-nurtured and highly treasured resource: the levain or ‘mother dough’ is the vital ingredient which enables us to give many of our breads an authentic old-fashioned taste.
Started many years ago by our highly experienced master baker; Alwyn Smith, the levain was originally started using simply the very best flour and water. Organic grapes were then used to introduce the highly specialised wild yeasts which make this a wonderful natural raising agent The levain ‘lives’ in a tank which is fed regularly and its temperature is carefully regulated.
Just a small amount of this ‘starter’ is enough to activate a vast quantity of dough into rising and can replace commercial yeast altogether.
True Artisan bread requires extremely careful handling
Our temperature and humidity controlled prooving room allows us to give each loaf the time and care more usually associated with home-baking.