A little while ago when I was busy on Twitter, I stumbled across a lady who was tweeting about her business which makes organic bread in a straw-fuelled, wood-fired oven in my home county, Lincolnshire.
As a fellow yellowbelly with a passion for locally-sourced, organic products, I was really keen to find out more about this business and to share it with you. So, I got in touch with Sonya Hundal, the driving force behind Greenfield Bakers and asked her to tell me how and why she set up her business and also to share her passion for locally-sourced, sustainable food.
Here’s her story – oh and no, this isn’t a sponsored post – just the Queen of Easy Green™ sharing great stories and products with you.
People often admit somewhat guiltily to me that they own a breadmaker and use it to make their own bread. I always respond in the same way: I learnt to bake because we had a breadmaker; and we built a bakery because the breadmaker broke. That bakery is now my business, Greenfield Bakers. www.ruralfabulous.co.uk
Operating from a converted stable block at Greenfield House, Friskney on the coastal strip of Lincolnshire between Boston and Skegness, all of the stoneground organic flour used in the bread comes from The Maud Foster Windmill in Boston.
A wood-fired oven is the most fundamental way to bake bread: using fire to heat clay; making bread with just flour, yeast, salt and water; slow-fermentation and working with the changing seasons, it’s not the easiest option, but I decided to do it this way because of three things:
1. An amazing two-day baking course with Paul Merry and his wood-fired oven
2. The sustainability of using wood for fuel
3. And ultimately the uniqueness of bread texture and flavour from a clay oven
The bakery started with a small weekly bake of 20 loaves that I carried in a bag and persuaded friends to try and buy. Those early customers became regulars and I progressed to baking to order each week. For the first two years of attending local food events we had to squeeze ourselves into marquees or friend’s stands as we had no spare money for our own stall. Buying our own market gazebo and banner felt like a real landmark as did managing to make 100 loaves in one go.
The first breads were made with just two doughs. Now we use eight distinct doughs, four of which are made with our own sourdough culture. The bakery produces a range with an emphasis on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Herbs and fruit come straight from the garden and we use local honey, cheese, www.lincolnshirepoachercheese.com and Batemans beer.
Cheese & Pesto, Date & Honey and Sundried Tomato Ciabatta have been favourites with our customers from the start, but we’ve had success with novelties like Cheese & Courgette (yes, it was like working with alien slime) and Pear & Honey.
Our current seasonal specials are Apple & Oat made with sourdough and Chocolate & Raisin – can you imagine how lovely the bakery smells at the moment?
We still bake to order each week and a small selection of bread is available at our local Fine Food store, Johnsons of Boston. We also offer a small discount for local collection orders.
Plus we regularly attend Farmer’s Markets, including Sandringham Farmer’s Market, details of our other events can be found on our website and on Twitter @MortalGreenWhim
To see Sonya in action creating her fantastic breads, take a look at this short video
Finally, as part of Woodland Trust’s Jubilee Woods projects, we have received 400 saplings and have been asking our bakery visitors and customers to plant trees which will be coppiced for bakery fuel in the future. Anyone ordering bread and collecting from the bakery over winter can plant a tree from the remaining 300. We are photographing all planting activity for our website, so bring your best wellies.
After four years of baking and working with real fire I still love my oven; it’s the ultimate breadmaker.
Our plans for 2012? Bakery Experience days!
What locally-sourced food hero would you like to tell us about, is there a sustainable, organic or a fairtrade, small local food producer near you that we could to feature, if yes, then please do drop us a line?