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Real Bread

Chris Roberts

(5 min read)
Freshly baked croissants and coffee are waiting for us as we enter ‘Flour, Water, Salt’s’ HQ, the depot. We are joined by four other baking novices and sit around a table where Paul Robinshaw, owner of ‘Flour, Water, Salt’ ensures us that we will be taking home five brilliant loaves by the end of the day. 

Paul has an background in IT and opted for a career move into baking at the age of 40, he says “I guess you could call it my mid life crisis, maybe I should have bought a Ferrari instead?!” But Pauls decision turned out to be a wise move, backed up by years of crazy early starts, plenty of blood, sweat and tears, the bakery now has five world food awards and is selling out every bake. 

We start with a classic Sourdough mixture, just like the bakery name. Flour, Water Salt. We mix the ingredients after Paul has shown us the technique and are underway. Today we will make two Sourdough loaves, one date and Caraway, a raisin and walnut and finally a rosemary and sea salt focaccia. 

Paul carefully takes us through each process, each measure and bakers percentage of ingredients. Each kneed we get better, each mixture we grow in confidence as a group. We are all working towards that moment where the oven opens for the first time and there standing infront of us is our hard work, risen and standing proud. 

Before we know it, lunch is upon us, we break, eat, reflect and then get back to the bread. All the kneading done, we move onto the proving before the all important bake. Finally the dough is ready for the oven. We carefully place the bread in, five loaves, one after each other. Our work is done and it’s  up to the oven to finish our hard work.

As Paul retrieves our beginners loaves from the oven, a collective intake of breath and anticipation hits the group. We all catch an eye of our perfectly risen sourdough and and smiles appear on the faces of us all. Each loaf is completely different, some high, some wide, some random but the sense of satisfaction is the same throughout. We have all achieved today, knowing very little at the start and now full blown bakers. We leave with a sourdough starter levain, perfect for getting us on the road to home baking and hopefully the beginning of a real bread future. Thanks Paul.