Local Artisan Bread & Patisserie

Autumnr 2014

5 incredibly edible Rex ways for you to survive colder days

Did the UK miss out Autumn altogether this year?!
This week we seem to have gone from warm sunshine & smoothies… straight to plummeting temperatures!

To mark this time of year, Rex has been ringing in the changes. We like to do LOTS of new things as you may have noticed including some seasonal fun:

1. Spooky specials

a. Following the popularity of Twice Baked Hazelnut Croissants, we introduced Twice Baked Pain au Chocolat Bats. To make these, we made bat-shaped Pain au Chocolat, baked them, soaked them in syrup, baked them again & topped with icing sugar. These went down a storm!

b. We launched White chocolate coated home-made raspberry marshmallow on gingerbread – pointy teacakes that we called “Witches’ Hats”. Yum! If you enjoyed these, you might love the Hot Chocolate specials we will shortly launch all to be served with home-made marshmallow pieces.

2. Spain-inspired breads
Some of youpan gallego, spanish bread, spain bread, sourdough may have noticed we love our¬†cross-cultural staff ūüôā Our new Spanish night baker, like all our staff, has brought some of his own country into the bakery. We love Spanish food generally and are interested to find out about some new-to-Britain flavour twists & styles of sourdough breads. For instance:
a. Enter Pan Gallego, which we bake on a Thursday & Saturday. This is a larger sized 600g thick crust sourdough with a little “button” on top that has be
come a firm favourite in the bakery since it was introduced. It’s a mainly white wheatflour bread with quite a lot of rye, with a high degree of water in the dough to give large ciabatta-style holes in the bread crumb. Like all our sourdoughs, it still takes 3 days to make but we divide & shape the loaves only in the last few hours, which is quite a different method to other Rex breads.

b. Or try Oat Groat, Sesame & Lemon with a touch of cinnamon which we 1st baked on Sunday – it even sounds Moorish as well as more-ish!
c. And we love the look & taste of new Crystal bread, truly a feat for the bakers. Handling the super hydrated dough is very tricky to do because of the virtually unheard of levels of water in the dough. The bakers stretch this dough into a thin long shape before letting the purposefully very large air bubbles form. See the lovely result being cut here


3. Soups
Now a proudly award winning baker, the Rex baker has long been a keen & expert cook. Having already salted beef, pulled pork, home-made pickles, mayonnaise & pesto for the Gourmet sandwich range.. it’s high time to move on to Rex-made stock-based Soup with the colder weather arriving this week.
Speciality soup served with Sourdough bread or Rex rolls already include Chicken & Chickpea; Minted garden Pea & Ham;

pea soupFennel, Rex-made harissa, Smoky bacon, tomato & chickpea; Cannelini bean & chorizo. Always a mixture of the exotic & the traditional, and all of them are planned to be delicious but it will be up to you. We will refine the soup menu depending on Rex customer feedback.

4. Savoury tarts & Pasties
Following on from our best selling Sausage Rolls, the Rex Baker has been version testing traditional local open pie recipes and our family’s firm favourite – Pasties with Rump Steak. Did you know that the vast majority of pies in Britain are eaten in the winter months, that they have had a resurgence since the last recession & are more popular than ever before, so that we will soon be consuming more than ¬£1 billion worth each year? The Rex range will be special because we hand-make every element from pastry to filling preparation and everything in between. So dear lovely Friends of Rex Bakery watch this space, they’re coming very soon ūüôā

5. Open all days!
With all this handmade baked food for you to try coming from our award winning bakery, it only seems right that we should open our cosy warm bakery/ coffee house to the community EVERY DAY. We opened Sunday in November for the 1st time which seemed to be very popular with Sunday shoppers, so we are planning 10.30 – 2.30 each Sunday from now on. And with more staff in place we now plan to open each & every Monday from next 10th November.
Hope to see you soon on one of these days very soon!

Sunday opening, Rex Artisan Bakery, Rex bakery little chalfont

 

 

 

Calling YOU ‚Äď what does Little Chalfont want? Please support Rex…

Calling YOU ‚Äď what does Little Chalfont want?  Please support Rex…

world bread awards

 

From highs to lows… the rollercoaster that is Rex continues…

The highs: this week we attended the Winners‚Äô Dinner at the 2014 tiptree World Bread Awards in London ūüôā

From over 400 entries we were named a Runner Up 2014 (losing out in the ciabatta category to the overall best bread winner) and won no fewer than SEVEN medals for our breads & buns! We are so proud & humbled that this made us the most awarded community bakery in Britain!

We won: Gold for our Baguettes and Two sorts of Ciabatta , Silver for a Sourdough and our Focaccia & Bronze for our Chocolate Buns & the new Sticky Toffee Apple Bun.

bronze medal, world bread awardssilver medal, world bread awardsgold medal, world bread awardsrunner up world bread awardsThe Rex Baker couldn‚Äôt have been happier – in the view of the 40+ top judges we are making some of the nation’s¬†best bread.¬† That‚Äôs quite an accolade after just 6 months‚Äô trading and somewhat makes up for those many long hard nights‚Ķ.

Naturally the Rex Baker was surprised and personally overwhelmed by this.  We think it endorses our Rex values.  We commit that we:

  • use ONLY organic flour in our breads
  • hand-make ourselves early each morning in our on-site working bakery
  • craft SLOWLY to fully & properly ferment our breads for the best health
  • use only the highest quality possible ingredients such as Callebaut Belgian chocolate, pure unsalted¬†patisserie butter, Kalamata olives…
  • add absolutely no scary, unnatural ‚Äúimprovers‚ÄĚ or preservatives

But in the rollercoaster of Rex Bakery, here we go again.  Having faced some really difficult problems since we bought the shop, we are now facing the biggest challenge of the lot.

The lows: We just learnt that¬† Wenzel‚Äôs the Bakers are opening up in Little Chalfont next to the butcher’s!¬† Wenzel‚Äôs are a¬†Middlesex¬†version of Gregg‚Äôs, have a factory in Watford supplying¬†a chain of something like wenzels, wenzel's, bloomerwenzel's pastie, wenzels pastie, wenzel's pie filling, wenzels pie filling, mush30-40 shops and are aggressively expanding their brown and orange concept of value¬†bread, soft-filled pies and subs. ¬†Expect 4 rolls or a small white loaf for ¬£1, meal deals and so on, all with “real bread” claims.

Yes they are mass production cheaper food advocates.. and we are the opposite with our focus on high quality & food provenance.  But we are sure they will take some custom from us and more concerning for our little community, bring very few new customers to Little Chalfont.

We fear some local businesses may well go from slight profit to unsustainable loss on the back of this and in simple terms, as residents we could well see more businesses failing and that means more charity shops and empty units. This is sadly what you can see in Chesham and other nearby high streets.

The question for you the consumer & local resident, is what do you want your habitat to be?  Now is the time to decide.  Is it a few High Street chain shops with a factory approach to food surrounded by empty units and charity shops?  Or small independents, who put our hearts & souls into providing high quality, award winning food for you?

sticky toffee apple bun, tarte tatinOur plea to you is simple.  Please support us, we are local like you!

 

We will see, the experiment is about to begin…

Pseu-dough? How the new supermarket bakery is bad news for you

Pseu-dough?  How the new supermarket bakery is bad news for you

Who has checked out the new rustic approach to our in-store hypermarket bakeries, including a certain local one?

It seems Britain’s¬†biggest grocery retailers¬†are scrapping their “scratch bakeries” (which made up brought-in mixes in machines on the premises & baked them in-store), laying off heaps of in-store bakers in the process, and have moved to transporting¬†finished baked items and dough from a¬†factory, then to be baked off instore. Now the focus is on store appearance – on creating an “artisan” look & feel. ¬† This is all no doubt with the hope of increasing profits¬†as well as trying to up their foodie image & cash in on a premium trend. Here’s why we think this is all really bad news for you:

Spurious claim #1:
“Award winning bakery”
Well yes, maybe that was true of an¬†original artisan bakery brand back in the day, ¬†but just buying¬†rights to use¬†a name doesn’t mean that then using¬†that name across stores in the South East¬†guarantees any¬†quality. ¬†Rex is a rare & grateful finalist in the World Bread Awardsworld bread awardsand¬†we’re¬†pretty sure that the new supermarket rye, “multigrain” and baguette samples we tried aren’t going to win real bread awards anytime soon. Word is, there’s¬†real quality issues right across the new baked range…

Spurious claim #2:
“artisan bakers ready to compete on the world’s stage”
Again, no doubt¬†true of original London independent¬†bakery¬†employees but just can’t be true of the new hypermarket staff, or indeed those in the central¬†factory operation. ¬†We have had job applications from real bakers who couldn’t stomach¬†the “fast food” machine efficiency mentality they were asked to work with to roll out this new range to our hypermarkets…

Spurious claim #3:
“Great value proper bread & cakes”
Hmm. ¬†We noted ¬£1.80 for a croissant, ¬£2.90 for a small tin loaf, ¬£3.50 for a plain¬†ciabatta, ¬£1.80 for a wizened-looking scone… wowzer. ¬†Even if you “buy” that¬†the bread & cakes are indeed “proper”, these are certainly eye-watering prices for out of London. ¬†We feel that¬†Rex is missing out on a price revolution!

Spurious claim #4:
“Fresh thinking”
In our local hypermarket, you¬†walk past the¬†open (too open? ¬†Hope nobody manhandled those¬†loaves¬†before you!) layout of some highly priced open-display new baked items… & find yourself¬†in front of¬†the¬†same old, same old. ¬†4 muffins for ¬£1.50, jumbo¬†packs of soft mix rolls, bargain bloomers etc etc. ¬†Difficult to spot the new thinking back here!¬†New Project¬†name, new decor but not a lot more??

Spurious claim #5:
“without love & affection, our dough would only contain flour, water, yeast & a pinch of salt” ¬†
Is this pseu-dough at its best?  Its not just about WHAT goes into real bread (though Rex is obsessive about the highest quality ingredients possible such as best organic flour across our bread range and top patisserie butter in our viennoiserie)

patisserie butterbut also HOW bread is made. ¬†The best in texture, taste & health comes from long slow traditional careful hand crafting techniques to ensure full fermentation before the bread hits your tummy. ¬† ¬† Beware¬†bloating from poorly fermented, rushed factory bread…

Spurious claim #6
“Good, better, bread”¬†
Well, strictly speaking there’s nothing being claimed here – just the intimation¬†of supremacy via a nice play on words. ¬†But at Rex we believe good always outs – good will prevail. ¬†Given how discerning our Friends are, let’s leave it to the purchasing public to decide if the new rustic looking super-premium priced approach to supermarket¬†bread & baked items is the best option to bread…. or not.

Instead..

We’ve blogged before about what it really takes to be an artisan – and we like the¬†definition¬†referring to¬†a high quality, hand making craftsman. ¬†But today we’ll finish with a really lovely mission statement by¬†an artisan – has¬†crossovers¬†with the Rex Baker¬†values. ¬†And such a far cry from the hypermarket factory “only in name” pseu-dough approach¬†emerging in our groceries¬†today¬†ūüôĀ

‚ÄúA kind of personal integrity that can be confused with eccentricity: ‚Äėhowever strange it may seem to you, this is the way I do things‚Äô.

Pride without arrogance: a sincere belief in the excellence of their work.

Humility and steadfastness: the ability to light the wood stove, milk the ewes, coax the bees out of their hives ‚Äď quietly, without pretence ‚Äď day after day, year after year.

The belief that their work is not a means to something else, but one of the ways to give meaning to their lives.

Genius: the brilliance that comes to those driven by their personal vision rather than by a desire for success, money or fame.

Generosity: they have no secrets. If you appreciate what they do, they‚Äôll tell you everything they know ‚Ķ and usually set a place for you at their table.‚ÄĚ

 Come & try the authentic #realbread approach to real artisan baking here at Rex next week instead xx rex bread display