Meg's Bakery

January 2022

Meg is reluctantly taking a break from baking to reassess how best to plan for the future of milling and baking at Roots. The story so far is here, the next chapter is being written.

January 2021

Following the principles of 'Real Bread’, the Roots Bakehouse is now well established. As always (!) there is a wonderful story behind real bread at Roots.

Real bread baking at Roots began in 2011. A chance conversation between Tony (a loyal customer of Roots organic chicken) and Will, led to a loaf and a journey that has, two kitchens and a lot of loaves later become the back bone of a weekly bake providing family loaves for over fifty families locally.

Initially Tony worked to develop long fermented, yeasted family loaves and a process that would be 'doable' by one person and small scale equipment. Many months in a frenzy of flour followed. 

Working with locally milled flour (Shipton Mill, Tetbury, Glos.), water, yeast, salt and lots of time, Tony continued to preach that long fermentation processes were the key to bread that is tasty, healthy and good to eat. We now believe that this naturally long process is the reason some customers are saying they are back eating bread having not touched it in years, believing they were intolerant to wheat. Intolerant to industrial processes and additives we think is more likely.

In 2013 we built a new bakehouse at Roots where customers could peep in and see their loaves being created. After a year’s apprenticeship, Meg took over the baking reins from her teacher and baking guru, he continued to visit and make the coffee! Their loaves were then the product of locally milled flour (Shipton Mill, Tetbury, Glos.), water, yeast, salt and lots of time! Long fermentation processes are the key to bread that is tasty, healthy and good to eat. The bakery 'menu' now included large and small family tins, some simple sourdough, focaccia and the famous Roots pizza.

In 2017, encouraged by a customer who had been visiting Nottingham regularly with a son newly attending University there, Meg met Kimberley Bell and the team at Small Food Bakery. This one meeting began a relationship that has brought possibilities of many kinds to a world that Meg had felt isolated in. Meg was introduced to the idea of growing organic wheat on their own farm, and not just any wheat, but Wakelyns population nicknamed 'YQ' developed by Prof. Martin Woolfe at Wakelyns Farm in Suffolk. The story of his lifetimes work, described to Meg by Kim in their first meeting sowed seed that grew, and grew. 

At the first UK Grain Lab meeting in 2017 a small group of bakers, millers, farmers and scientists formalised the conversation that they had been having. There were presentations, tastings, shared experiences explored and feasting. Each felt the weight of responsibility to bring around a bigger conversation about the what, how and why's around grain and sooooo much more.

In 2018 we joined UK Grain Lab again and in the autumn sowed our first grain crop. We grew, harvested, milled and baked our own organic wakelyns population 'YQ' wheat. We continue to learn more about baking with it.

In 2020 we built a mill at the farm to mill our own and other locally grown organic grain.

Meg has ALOT more to tell about this amazing story and how it has become a much bigger focus of our bakery's future, but as with so many things this year, COVID19 has brought a pause in possibility, and overtaking by 'need to feed' and she has worked tirelessly to produce, alone, three times the amount of weekly production of her simple family tins. 2021 will see a break in baking at the beginning of the year to set a new scene. If you have read this far ... make sure you follow 

#rootsfamilyfarmshop #smallfoodbakery #wakelyns  #uk_grain_lab on instagram

This is where news breaks ...!

More background reading ...