Local Artisan Bread & Patisserie

Monthly archive for July 2013

Stocking up for the summer? 7 ways to keep Rex baked items fresh

One of the questions we are often getting asked right now is How Long Does Rex Bread last??  The uncomfortable truth is that artisan bread is not designed to last for ages.   Today we’ve got used to liking Long-Lasting, even if the manufacturer achieves that artificially & we don’t know what the health consequences might be.   Instead the Rex Baker hand-picked the few highest quality ingredients to be brought together naturally & with love, organic where possible, and certainly no E-number preservatives added, so plenty gained.

So what are our 7 tips to help your Rex bakery choices stay naturally delicious?

  1. Group rex sourdough loavesSpeed: The Rex Baker only bakes your bread & patisserie early hours of Saturday morning so it is fully fresh & may even still be warm when you collect  – plan to eat it quickly!
  2. Variety: Bread should also stay this fresh for a day or so.  It’s still good to cut for sandwiches Day 2 but maybe expect it only for toast Day 3.  We think Rex sourdough makes amazing toast 🙂
  3. Recipe: Some Rex loaves have natural preservatives such as extra virgin olive oil, and honey, so that the bread will stay fresher for even longer – Multiseed, Celtic Brown, Raisin & Rosemary Sourdough, Potato & herb Foccacia to name but a few
  4. Temperature: When it’s so dry & hot, never leave your bread unwrapped in the open air or even in the fridge – it will just dry out even quicker if air temperature is much different from around 20 degrees centigrade.
  5. Rex bakery Raspberry Benedict BarStorage: To protect moisture inside the bread crumb, protect the cut side only with foil, or if you don’t mind a softer crust wrap the whole loaf in a plastic bag.  We also find our buns & bars could keep for ages in airtight tubs & tins (though they do always get gobbled up PDQ by the Rex Baker’s family…)
  6. Freeze: Quickly deep freeze wrapped bakery items such as sausage rolls, croissants and bread that you know you won’t eat rightaway.  Defrost for an hour or so covered with a clean tea towel & if you like, pop for a few minutes in a warm oven before serving.
  7. Sliced: Choose to have your bread sliced as that seems to prolong life – so we are introducing this option for all Saturday orders (which will come in a sealed plastic bag) to enable you to freeze & access sliced Rex bread throughout August.  Rex Bakery artisan bread sliced & bagged

Because Artisan bread is designed to be as naturally a delicious & healthy bake & eat as possible, what other natural storage tips do you have?  Please post us a comment with your advice!

 

Just giving

The Rex Baker believes that a real artisan baker will be right at the centre of its community. Indeed our neighbourhood support has been humbling, with so many lovely locals delighted by the Rex breads & buns and really generous with their comments & feedback.  Friends of Rex Bakery are making time to place  orders, visit the stall & Saturday Pick Up Points and are cheering us on in our plans.  This makes those hard days’ nights so worthwhile.

rex sourdough loaves

The Rex Baker is working on securing local shop premises, hoping to be a warm & welcoming baked-aroma presence that’s central to village life.

Community spirit means giving back as well.  Last month the Rex Baker wanted to help the local school PTA and the shop will support selected local causes once open.

Because all Rex bread is only sold  shortly after baking with nothing added so plenty gained, it’s delicious eaten fresh on the day. But any leftover loaves after sales are a chance for an artisan bakery to share its daily bread with needier parts of its community.   The Rex Baker has found out that Sikh gurdwaras will never turn away any hungry visitor whatever their denomination so we tried to make contact with our nearest one to offer up any Saturday loaves but haven’t heard back.  We also know there’s a Food Bank in the refuge along the valley, but that doesn’t seem to be open on a Saturday.  Does anybody have any ideas on where we can donate leftover bread & buns to benefit our community?

For the rest of us, real bread can’t be made to stay fresh for longer than is natural, but there are a few little  tips on how to naturally slow staling at home.

Rex croissants

There will be other ways to wave the local flag too – for example ingredients such as a Rex wild yeast made of local honey.  And we look forward to creating local jobs just as soon as we open that community shop – we can’t wait!

 

 

If you love what you do, it really matters

The Rex Baker has uncompromising artisan standards.   But we’ve had a few challenges in maintaining these – anyone notice paper bags, sausage rolls, rolling baguettesbaguettes for starters?  There’s a lot that’s new to us as we launch our artisan bakery and the Rex Baker is clear that the very best  ingredients, excellence in crafting the breads & buns and a delicious, wholesome end product are not to be messed with – even if we have hiccups along the way to get there.

 

So in the past weeks he has binned a tray of apple & cinnamon whirls because they didn’t look the part (Shame!  Could have tasted Yummmm!), replaced customers’ baguettes because he thought the rise was insufficient resulting in too skinny a baguette and has been intensely reviewing all aspects of the humble Sausage Roll.

CSG show sausage rollsThe Rex Baker won “Best Sausage Roll” in the fiercely-fought Chalfont St Giles annual show last year – and they really are special if we say so ourselves.  But when hand crafting to sell at scale, every element is under scrutiny to deliver perfection.

Starting with the sausagemeat – we’ve got to know the best butchers in the whole Chilterns area over the years & have been exhaustively (& exhaustingly) comparing their offering.   We know this is important for taste & texture, but also quality standards – when your son won’t eat dozens of different sausages because “they’re just not nice” & you hear multiple food scares about the identity & completeness & even health of the animal meat – the latest here – you want to be sure you found the best available.  We think we found & now use the best 2 or 3 in fact, but post a comment if you have another favourite you think we should try!  We add chopped onion, garlic, herbs & a “family secret” ingredient to our sausagemeat and voila!

our butterThe Rex Baker then of course makes his puff pastry by hand, using only highest quality French unsalted butter, as used by the best patisseries.  It has an outstanding flavour and low water content to create just the right balance between pastry flake & melt-in-the mouth richness.  At least 4 hours are allowed for the pastry to rest after each of 4 fold & turns to make 24+ layers of puff pastry, so this is not fast food!

Finally the Rex Baker rolls out to a generous same size & places the same quantity of sausagemeat on each pastry square before rolling & egg washing & baking.  Last week he thinks he just rolled too thick – this meant the sausage rolls should have still tasted delicious but too much pastry to meat makes for a really super-sized sausage roll and not enough pastry to go round all those other hungry shoppers.  So this week is about perfecting the roll thickness & ratio to meat.. we will get there!

 

best sausage rollIn the meantime, we love our yellow Rex triangle cards but the flimsy brown paper bags have to go.  We will double bag from now on & find a new supplier, fast!!  If you love what you do, it all matters.  Do tell us if there’s anything at all not up to high standard, we love & rely on your feedback so that you will love Rex Bakery too

xx