– and your wish is our command. We delivery every morning to Waterford. New Ross and Kilkenny and on Saturdays to Carlow, Kildare, Naas and Athy. But sometimes we get enquiries from further afield and so we are now offering a wider service. On a Wednesday, we can deliver to within an hour of Speltbakers (R95 xv48). All you have to do is get us five orders ( preferably over €10 each) and we’ll drive your way next Wednesday. Check with your friends and neighbours. Delivery is free, you order on our shop and for orders over €100 total, we include our bread of the month (At the moment that is a fig and berberry sourdough!!) and a tray of pies as a gift.
Another kind of a wish we always encourage is old ( or new ) recipes that you may remember or want to try. Let us know and if we thing it might work, we’ll bake you some.
This week we dropped vegan scones to a beautiful farm near Enniscorthy.
We like treats as much as the next person and an unexpected gift can be the best. Especially these days, where we are all a bit fragile and concerned. Where life is not as sociable as we’d like and we have seen a lot more than we ever wanted of our own four walls.
Anyhow, this is just a small gesture on our part to make it easy to treat a friend. Every Tuesday, we run Treat a Friend on Instagram and Facebook. All you have to do is tag a friend, or mention a friend ( if you are as untechy as me). Comment on our post, mentioning a friend. We draw one winner of all the comments and the winner and the winner’s friend will both get a bag of bread and treats on Wednesday morning.
Easy and uncomplicated, these bags could be yours!!! We’ll deliver if you are on our breadround to Waterford or Kilkenny.
If you are further afield, we’ll find a way to meet you. Winners are announced on Tuesday evening by 9pm and breakfast could be sorted.
Another Friday and another idea how we might help win the battle against climate change and environmental damage
The current pandemic has had a significant impact on the use of single use plastics. What was frowned upon before Covid 19, is now deemed essential as regards packaging. We sleeve our bread with paper sleeves to be able to label the bread and were proud of our lack of packaging. Now, for most shops, we have to bag what we display and every loaf that we sell has it’s own plastic bag. We buy perforated plastic to enable the bread to breathe as it leaves the bakehouse still warm. This morning we made 100 Sourdough, 30 Soda, 20 yeast loaves , 30 baguettes, 60 Stromboli, 30 scones and 30 pies. You do the maths. We are only one tiny bakery. You do the maths for the country.
My question this Friday is: Do we really need it? There is no law, there is some guidance and while some shops display the bread behind their perspex screens other leave it out but most request plastic packaging. On the market, we have established distancing with an empty table between the customers and the bread remains unpackaged. We observe strict food hygene, which we would have done before the pandemic as well, handling the bread with tongs or cloves but displaying it openly. For the entire year, I only got two comments of people looking for all bread to be packaged. Both times I asked about the plastic situation and damage and they agreed that there was no winning….. but said they would just feel safer. A fair comment and a sad reflection of this strange time where fear rules .
Looking for facts, I went back to source and checked the website of the World Health Organisation. They say quite clearly: “There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through contact with food or food packaging. COVID-19 is generally thought to be spread from person to person. However, it’s always important to practice good hygiene when handling food to prevent any food-borne illnesses.” We have always known that and practise that. So, I would ask the question this week. Can we please remember the other world problems and not create this packaging mountain unnecessarily. There is no evidence that bread should be packaged while on display. It should be treated with respect, obviously only touching bread we intent do buy etc. But we did this before Covid and now, that everyone wears masks, arguable we are a lot safer around open food.
Let’s respect and beat Covid but get the fact, keep our fear in check and please let’s not forget: Single use plastic is still a problem and we are all the answer.
Friday for the future is an international climate strike movement which started 2018, a movement where young people try and propel us all to action to avoid the deadly climate crisis we are heading for. Now, I am neither young, nor am I going to strike on Fridays but I do very much believe that we need to do something, something to avoid the continuing climate crisis, something to battle the ever increasing use of plastic with all its associated problems for the environment and last but not least something to improve our own lifestyle and attitude to food and food production to mellow our own impact on this planet and improve our health and wellbeing.
As a bakery, we like to think, we do our bit for good food but, like everyone else, we need to constantly work on our process to make sure we do the best we can. So, every Friday, we are going to keep you updated with one way we try and improve our business and the bread we sell to you.
The product we use most in baking is unquestionably flour. We use about 500kg of spelt flour every week. Since we started, we have only used spelt flour ( hence the name). First, we used spelt imported from Germany, then spelt grown in France. Then, we found Oak Forest Mills, who grow and mill their spelt in Ireland and who operate organically. We use their magnificent flour to make our Irish sourdough and our Jalapeno sourdough. Since the start of this year, all our flour is now grown organically as we have moved to Echt Meel from Holland for the remainder of our breads. As we said last week in this column, spelt can be tricky to grow, to mill and to bake with but we like it and we hope you do too. And using organic products, products produced in line with nature and without causing damage has to be a very important step.
As every week, let us know what you think, what you’d like to know or where you think we could improve. As we all need to deal with covid and all its side effects on all of us, it is maybe more important than ever to remember the bigger picture.
This is a new section to our web site, a place where we share what is new for us and where you can check back on what I say to everyone who does or doesn’t what to hear it at the market.
The flour is back to a great standard
Today, it is the flour. Last year was not a great year for spelt and the harvest is now arriving in the mill over in Mechelen in Holland. When the grain is not super, the flour cannot be either and if there is a massive spelt shortage, the millers have to take what they get as do the bakers. So over the last while you might have noticed that our white loaf was not quite what it should have been and that we either had no croissants or were selling them cheap because we were just not happy with them. Basically the flour was poor and because we use only spelt we did not have the option of adding wheat, which is what many other bakers do to strengthen the spelt.
Spelt flour is a bit of a drama queen. Which is why wheat was invented and why the majority of all bakers and bakeries use wheat rather than spelt. But as Speltbakers, we have limited our choices with the name and what seemed a good idea 10 years ago is still a good idea today – or so we keep telling ourselves.
We were working hard to keep the quality up, using the ever reliable Oak Forest mill flour which we use for our Irish or Pilltown sourdough, to reinforce the poorer spelt. Thankfully, a new batch of flour arrived last week from Holland and we are back to full quality and loving it. So keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram and if there are any questions, check back to this section where we will keep everyone up to date. We always try our best, and we will always keep you informed. All feedback welcome.
For the week that’s in it, we have to choose the Barmbrack this week. It is a beautiful spiced brioche loaf with plenty of fruit and a flavour that lets us know Christmas is not too far away. A low fat brioche where most of the sweetness is supplied by an abundance of furit, it also contains a coin for luck. It is not a tea brack but a traditonal yeasted Barmbrack so it’s shelf life is about 2 days fresh and another 2 toasted. We only make them in October – so don’t miss out!!!
09-10-2020: This week’s bread of the week is the Brown baguette. Over overlooked, it is a beautifully light baguette or bread stick with the added benefits of plenty of seeds and wholemeal flour. All spelt obviously, this bread is also now made entirely with organic flour. Try and with pate, cheese or fish and you won’t be disappointed. Great for a picnic for those last sunny days.
I have spend the last 2 hours trying to change text on my website. My son built the web site and left me a detailed page as to how to edit. Now this was in the summer but I take a while to get around to things……
I actually managed to change text boxes, which is sadly very easy but then I wanted to add a link ( also quite easy) and I could do it because do I know what an URL is???? anyhow, I persevered and to my major delight actually managed to put the right link onto the word here on the homepage. Check out our stockists and market here, now brings you to the right page, where you can actually check out our stockists and markets. Oh, the delight of success! when you do not give up and refer back to same son but persevere. Delighted with myself and with the website that is now back up to date and , rather than advertising a baking course that was over two month ago, now announces the fact that halloween barmbracks will only be available for another few days.
I am so easily pleased and will now try and add a picture to this blog. Well, that really wasn’t hard. The cat enjoying the gazebo on a day off. Now all that remains is to figure out how this will look on the website and to write sensible blogs from now on.Upwards and onwards. Anyone any ideas how to access this on my phone……………. a problem definetly for another day. The kettle is on and Savour weekend has been spent very well making the new website my own.
Actually stuck with the plan and have been
“running” nearly every morning. Barring market days – which are a very credible
excuse – I have been out every day. I walk/run to “the tree”, a tree about one
mile away which has forever been the minimum measure of any outdoor activity in
this family. “I’ve been “to the tree” covers anything involving movement. So
“the tree” is the aim as I persevere to try and turn the walk into a run with
today possibly the first day where the run element was longer than the walk and
‘meet neighbours on the road and gossip’ element. Anyhow, we’re on track to
survive moving for 10km and new runners have added a huge element of bounce
that I thought was gone forever.
Also, the famous van has been bought and
has arrived. Actually it has not really been bought, it has been signed for and
will be mine in about 5 years time all going well. It is brilliant and thanks
for your advice, the five seater van it is and the most useful car I ever had
it is also going to be.
After the bread round took the new van to
Limerick on Monday to take some measurements for a kitchen that will require a
trip to IKEA over Easter. Driving on the motorway takes on a new dimension in a
new car. No more listening to the engine making funny noises or the left front
wheel rattling or wondering if the boot unlocked itself again. Basically, you
have more time and leisure to look around and people/car watch which is a great
hobby of mine. I love to watch and guess who does what why and who with and I
would love to be able to write stories. I am a great fan of the late and
amazing Maeve Binchy who did just that with amazing skill. So anyway, traveling
on the M7, there was car stopped on the hard shoulder going the other way and a
couple in a big white wedding dress and tux where there with their photographer
posing for wedding pics. Now, apart from it being illegal, why would you do
that? Boring stretch of road, no county boundary – or was it the boundary
between Offally and Limerick? Was he the AA man and they met here when she had
a break down? Did they crash their cars here and are now married? Did she have
a break down and he stopped to help or did he have a flat and she stopped to
change the tyre – and two years later to the day , they come back on their
wedding day? See, the story is there to be written, I am just not good enough
to pick it up. So frustrating and so annoying that I don’t actually have the
nerve to stop and ask. Maeve Binchy apparently once fell off her chair in a
coffee shop because she was leaning into the conversation at the next table. I
have not quite done that yet but I would love to know the background to these
many snapshots of other people’s lives that we see around us every day. “Look up” is the name of a video widely shown
on Facebook to illustrate what you miss when you permanently look into your own
playdevice. It’s a great video, look it up and look around you and please , if
anyone should know that couple on the M7 heading Dublin way last Monday, why
the picture on the hard shoulder????? Maybe her parents house stood there
before the motorway got built….. maybe they met there 10 years ago demonstrating
against the new motorway…… please does anyone know??
Sitting in Jack Monday’s coffee house at Thomond
bridge in Limerick. After a great weekend in a building site in Limerick and in
the Burren in Clare, it’s time for some paperwork – Bank holiday or not. The
rest of the family is still asleep in the building site or walking the river so
I left cornflakes and orange juice amongst the mattresses and left to be
civilized on my own…..
Just to give you the running update, I
“ran” the three bridges in Limerick yesterday and today and even though I still
walked large parts, I ran more than half and when I ran I actually moved
forward rather than backwards and am profoundly grateful to have done the
miserable “first time running in two years” wobbles in the privacy of my own
back roads rather than on the ever so sophisticated river walk in Limerick
Much as I love living in the countryside
with the amazing fields of rapeseed all around us, I do love the city as well.
The building site is right in the city centre, across from John’s castle and is
suffering the first wave of gentrification which is lovely to see. After a long
day in IKEA thinking kitchen worktops and presses, we arrived on Saturday
evening with a trailer full of goodies, unloaded, spread the mattresses and
admired the building works in progress. Unpacking the amazing Caesar salad from
Glasrai and Goodies in Gowran ( the good traveler comes prepared!!), we sat
down for dinner – the good traveler also brought some Costellos from home and
planned the weekend. In the city, you don’t even have to figure out when mass
is on Easter night, you just leave the house when the bells are ringing. So
come quarter to nine, we were literally called out and joined St Munchins parish
for Easter night and as luck would have it, joined one of the best Easter night
ceremonies I have ever been at. A lovely choir, an honest and meaningful
ceremony that adapted the old and infused with new. Admittingly I was probably
not fully awake after the old testament readings in the dark but when the
Gloria was sung, when the lights sprang on and the bells rang, I jumped to
attention and did believe that he truly is risen and that we might still have a
chance in this church, which I stubbornly refuse to give up on.
Easter Sunday saw us in the Burren, which
was home for 5 wonderful years. Once a year at least I have to see Mullaghmore
and walk the Cregg road at the foot of the mountain. Once a year we try and get
everyone together in this place. It is a place where I come for the big
decisions in my life or if I need peace I cannot find anywhere else. If
landscape holds magic as the late John O Donohue so often said, it holds it
there and seeing the children that used to play there when they were children,
when I had to help them over the walls and butter their breads for the picnic –
seeing them nearly 15 years later still falling into the water, still messing,
still pushing each other, still not happy until everyone is wet has a certain
bit of magic as well – especially when they turn around to me to say “careful
Mama”, as time slowly turns the tables and I sincerely hope I have another 15
years until they actually have to help me over that wall.