Posts Tagged ‘Forge Bakehouse’

Bread Winner

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

On Saturday afternoon I took the train through the glorious hills of the Peak District to Sheffield to see Brother Ben. I don’t think I will tire of this train ride – an hour of rolling hills, small English towns, sheep (so many lambs at the moment) and beautiful trees. On Saturday the sun was sort of shining so the sky was blue with big puffy white clouds. Quite spectacular.

So pretty in the Peaks.

So pretty in the Peaks.

On the Sunday I helped the Forge Bakehouse team sell bread at the Sheffield Antiques fair. Ben and I set up the stall with the wonderful help of Martha’s mum and her bread mobile (or Range Rover) and then two hours later started packing up. The bread disappeared in a flash as people stood umming and ahhing about which bread to choose, eventually deciding to take multiple loaves after I suggested slicing them up and popping them in the freezer for future convenience.

Mmm... bread.

Mmm… bread.

It was a fun weekend involving plenty of food and Ben falling asleep on couches after having two very early morning starts. The only down point was that I somehow missed my train back to Manchester by 30 seconds, meaning I had to buy another very expensive ticket to get home. Not happy, but as I am currently reading my horoscope on a daily basis for my 108in108 challenge, I discovered that it wasn’t my fault – it was the stars. Or the moon or whatever. The energies. Apparently that weekend was a BAD weekend to travel for business and I would experience hold ups and inconveniences. So there we go. It wasn’t just because I lost track of time and left home too late. Damn you, moon!

Zaum Christmas Craftin’ Projects

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Over the past few weeks I worked on two projects that have now been given to their proposed recipients as Christmas presents so I am therefore allowed to write about them. The first was a lino-print commission that a friend of mine asked me to do for her husband. She supplied me with a photograph of the two of them and asked if I could turn it into a print. As not all photographs are transferable and faces are particularly troublesome to do without making someone look like an alien, I didn’t promise anything but gave it a shot. The results were particularly pleasing.

The final print

The final print

This was the largest print I have ever done and showed me that bigger is potentially better. Before this I had been working to A5 sizes but I am now seeing that I could get some fairly impressive images if I started doing much larger prints. It obviously takes longer and my knives are now very blunt, but you can get some interesting details when working at a bigger size. I am keen to do more commissioned jobs like this as it becomes a one off piece that has more sentimental and personal value than something that is mass produced.

I also spent most of my train trip to Sheffield and lots of evenings before Christmas making a cross-stitch version of the Forge Bakehouse logo. I have been meaning to create my own cross-stitch patterns and this seemed like an easy project to start with. While I did draw a basic outline on the material to start with, I completed it mostly by eye, working it out as I went along. I learnt a lot in the process, mostly that my cross stitching skills are a little lacking and that I should try to be a lot neater before entering any country fair competitions.

Vintage Forge

Vintage Forge

The logo was well received and will hopefully be hung with pride in the Forge Bakehouse toilet, along side the lino-printed toilet sign that I made for the shop as well.

Merry Not-So-White Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Merry Christmas friends! I hope you are all happy, healthy and having plenty of cake on this festive day. I am currently sitting in my brother’s lounge room in Sheffield, listening to a Hospital Records drum and bass podcast and waiting for my next meal. It isn’t far away – lunch should be in the next half an hour or so. Ben and I have bought a chicken for dinner along with some brussel sprouts and other vege and we’ll have chocolate puddings for dessert. Not bad for a Christmas for two!

I have spent the last few days working in my brother’s bakery and it is nice to sit down and do NOTHING. Ben and Martha have worked so hard over the past five weeks to get their bakery open, functioning and capable of delivering bread for the Christmas period. It was slightly insane over the last few days and I think my lungs are full of icing sugar from dusting 40 stollens three times. It has also been a delicious past few days with plenty of bakery treats being slightly too dark or misshapen and therefore available for bakery staff consumption. Mmm… weird shaped croissants taste just as good as perfectly shaped ones.

And have my dreams come true and is it snowing outside? No. But one of my favourite people, Stephen Fry, informed me last night on the Christmas special of QI that it only snowed in England on about 15 Christmas Days during the 20th century and therefore the likelihood that it would snow today is quite low… But it is raining so at least I know it is England.

I shall leave you with some glimpses of my Christmas. Thanks for reading – love to you all!

Poppyseed stollen

Poppyseed Stollen – so beautifully dusted and wrapped (I did that)

Forge Bakehouse

Christmas bread at Forge Bakehouse

christmas stollen

Mmm… marzipan stollen for Christmas morning tea

christmaswham

Waking up to Christmas with Wham!

bananachristmastree

Ben and my banana Christmas tree

Baking Up a Forge

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

I appear to have fallen into a deep, dark hole when it comes to my blog updates. Very bad. I have an excellent excuse though. Trust me.

Yesterday evening I returned home from Sheffield where I had spent the last five days helping my brother Ben and his business partner, Martha, set up, open and run their bakery. These two have been working hard building shelves, installing ovens, painting walls and buying flour and the opening day had finally arrived. Forge Bakehouse opened with a Friday night shindig where local passers-by and Twitter followers came for free tastings of the bread and baked goods. I was the proudest sister in the history of proud sisters – so many people came and everyone left with huge smiles and very extended bellies. The bread was amazing, the pastries were amazing, and the support from the local community proved that what Ben and Martha are trying to achieve is exactly what the folk of Sheffield want.

Forge Bakehouse

Inside Forge Bakehouse

Over the next few days I helped as checkout chick, customer service provider, chocolate brownie baker (I was officially titled Master of the Universe Brownie Baker), and general kitchen hand. I burnt myself on the oven, I sliced my finger open and my hands cracked and dried from washing my hands so much. I was part of the team!

Forge brownies

I made these!

Watching Ben and Martha work in the bakery was astonishing. Their ability to coordinate when to prep, prove and bake bread, make custards for tarts and whip egg-whites for meringues was just incredible. Considering they are still relative newbies in the bakery world, the fact that they could produce so much bread so successfully is huge credit to them. I kept wanting to give them both hugs for being baking-geniuses.

Working in the bakery was possibly the most fun I have had in yonks. YONKS, I say. It brought back memories of being eight years old and running a café (appropriately named Café Olay (which I didn’t realise until quite a bit later was, in fact, Café Au Lait. Clearly I had French in me from birth) in our computer/office/play room, serving invisible customers, cooking playdough food and thoroughly enjoying the moment when I got to use the till. I now have an intense desire to set up a real café, but I have lots of desires to do many things so I should probably sit on this one for a bit longer. But it was certainly inspiring to watch these two work so hard to get what they want.

I am looking forward to going back at Christmas to help out with the festive season rush. In the mean time I shall rest my cheek bones from excess smiling each time a customer walked in the door. It hurt.

Visiting the Family

Friday, October 19th, 2012

I have been ‘out of range’ for the past week and a half as I went to watch my big bro’ graduate from his baking school in England. Having completed three-and-a-half degrees, he finally went to one of his graduations, previously having chosen not to pay to wear an unflattering gown and stupid hat. I think he chose best graduation to attend because:

  1. It was short
  2. There was an AWESOME lunch afterwards in a normally inaccessible abbey
  3. I could attend.

Ben had been studying on the School of Artisan Food on the Welbeck Estate. I had been looking forward to his graduation as it meant we could have a lunch in the beautiful old stately home that normally is closed to public access.

Welbeck Estate

Welbeck Estate

The lunch was a delicious selection of local produce most of which was made on the estate and we ate in a gorgeous wood-panelled room that I would consider to have been a ‘reception hall’. Very fancy. At least it was fancy until we all attempted to eat slices of beef while standing up and holding a plate, a champagne glass and knives and forks. Not enough hands. Everyone had food around their mouth at some point.

Resulting from Ben’s studies is his new bakery venture with fellow student, Martha. Anyone in the area of Sheffield should make their way to Forge Bakehouse on Abbeydale Road. Due to open early November, you can follow their progress here.

Forge Bakehouse

Mmmm… real bread…