I am absolutely delighted to announce winning the Innovation category at this year’s baking industry awards for my latest product development, Botanical Breads.
For the past 2 years I have been researching other ways of fermenting breads and developing a range of products using this fermentation process.
These Botanical Breads are made from just flour, salt and the fermented water of fruits, vegetables, plants or flowers. The fermented water not only rises the dough, but also imparts subtle flavours and aromas to the baked breads.
I’ve made such a variety of breads through fermentation including Magnolia petals, locally sourced watercress, carrot and coriander plus tomato and basil to name just a few. The baked breads are nutritious, digestible and truly unique when compared to most other breads.
I spent time researching how fermentation is used elsewhere in the food chain to see if anything could be transferable to baking. Fermentation for preserving foods has been practiced for thousands of years, but nowadays we buy much of our foods preserved for us. It’s the same with beers and wines where only a minority of people will make these drinks for themselves. Modern processing have simplified the processes and removed the necessity for craft skills, often to the detriment of product quality and lost health benefits and nutrients the active fermented foods and drinks possess if made using traditional methods. Going back in time is where the future of our products lie.
Another advantage of this method is the utilisation of ‘food waste.’ Old fruit and vegetables which are unnecessarily disposed of, even though they are still edible, are ideal for my Botanical Breads. Therefore, this method makes use of unwanted food and turns them into wholesome bread. For this reason, I have started making a weekly batch of Botanical Bread, leavened with root vegetables, to donate to the Rickmansworth Food Bank.
I have now worked in the baking industry for over 35 years and I’ve always strived to learn more and intrigued how things can be done differently.
To be recognised for innovation is very humbling for me as this is my absolute passion. I am very lucky to call my profession my work when really, it’s the most fascinating hobby I am lucky do every day.
The botanical breads are available each Friday and Saturday in-store.