Local Artisan Bread & Patisserie

Spring 2015

Elect & Vote for “Quality”!

Anybody that’s visited our shop &  spent any time talking to the Rex Baker, his wife, the staff – will hopefully pick up how very passionately we feel about Rex quality.  But what does that really mean for you? Well:

We are the modern version of a truly old fashioned baker, who cares deeply about we sell, taking time to make our food properly and only putting into it exactly what’s needed.  Our 4 PRINCIPLES

1/ ALWAYS FRESH:  We make & bake bread every single night of the week so that our customers receive the very best of our produce every single morning.
2/ HEALTH:  We follow only long fermentation methods of baking because we think that’s more digestible & healthy. And we only hand shape our breads.
3/ ORGANIC:  We use only organic flour, use the minimum number of ingredients necessary, which is often just flour, water, salt & a leaven. No preservatives , improvers or other chemicals to artificially extend the life or increase the size of our loaf.
4/ BEST INGREDIENTS:  We make everything we can for sale in our bakery, even down to the mayonnaise in our sandwiches. We search constantly for the most special ingredients, local or artisan where possible and let the availability of those ingredients shape our produce.

patisserie butter

Highest quality? best ingredients?  Why? The truth is that the Rex Baker has already had a ton of opportunities to replace the very expensive ingredients he chooses to use, with ingredients that aren’t so expensive.  We all know that there are cafes, chains & shops all over the UK and  even right in Little Chalfont that do use cheap ingredients and despite that, think the food they make is good enough for you.

But it just isn’t possible to make good food from inferior ingredients.  

That’s why the Rex baker is obsessed with buying the best he can find, and frequently is rather extravagant in what he chooses to use in Rex.  He loves to find the widest range of flours, ingredients, combinations.  Just now the Rex baker is researching:

  • rosewater from Iran
  • an English patisserie butter (80% water plus) source
  • new  flours – wheat, rye, spelt, kamut…  Hear him talking about our varieties of organic Shipton Mill & beyond flour range here:

We would rather charge more to cover costs & end up selling fewer of a particular line because some will surely balk at the price point – than sell anything less than the highest quality, just to hit a low target price.  To us, Value is an equation of price & quality – not just low priced.

It’s quite a simple guiding principle – create the very best food you can in health & taste & uniqueness – and only if it surpasses own your high expectations, will it sustain customer demand.  We always hoped that there would be enough people that felt like we did – that a good bakery can enhance your day & your diet.  Anything less for Rex friends would be an unacceptable compromise.

Before we even opened the Rex doors, we were warned that Little Chalfont would be a disaster location – locals weren’t discerning enough to care how their bread was made, what was in it, how it tasted.  Well… not only are we finding Little Chalfont is voting with its feet for highest quality……  but we are attracting customers from an unimaginably wide geographic area.  People travel to Rex from Bourne End, Bushey, Berkhamsted; from Harefield, Hazelmere, High Wycombe – very exciting to us!

That’s why we are submitting Rex products to the Great Taste Awards.  This means that THIS WEEK we are gearing up to make a special limited batch of Rex Stollen for judges’ tasting.   We really like this kind of expert judge assessment rather than popularity voting (although thank you all for your votes for us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) . So whilst thank goodness we’re squarely 6 months away from true Stollen Season – if you fancy a stollen – order yours here now!  1st come, 1st served until Stollens sell out

A limited batch of May Rex Stollens will be ready from Wednesday 13th May in the shop – and are reputed to last 40 days (though we still don’t know anybody that waited that long to finish one :))

You be the judge!  You can review our Stollen or any other product on the website at any time – and if you do so, you might even get to pick up a freebie in our Review pick of the month!

stollen, christmas cake, almond cake, fruit cake

Have a great week xx

Let’s get “Fresh”

Let’s get “Fresh”

Fresh is a much abused term in the British Food industry.  Its use is designed to make you feel you are getting something created very recently  – but have you ever stopped to think what some of soundbites truly mean?

 Freshly baked – Stays Fresh for longer – Fresh food – Fresh from the oven –
Fresh farm vegetables – taste so fresh- and we mean fresh – Fresh as a daisy

Somehow Fresh conjures up the concept of nature, green/ organic, health, cooked with attention,  just-made from raw… Unfortunately for innocent shoppers, the  fact is that food producers are allowed to use “Fresh” in a way that conceals their true process.  Can you believe that all of the below are “fresh”?

  • Highly processed ingredients mix with Preservatives which inhibit natural food degradation, even for months
  • Food items that are “gassed” at the start & then preserved in special chemical plastic film
  • Items made an age ago, transported in freezer lorries for sale or even baked off in-store. These are often made with flour with added “improvers” (look out for this euphemism)

You can conduct your own experiment at home – any bread that is still “fresh” after 3 days, is almost certainly unnaturally preserved. Any bread left in a bag which doesn’t mould after a week has preservatives.

The American FDA approves  “fresh” even for foods with waxes & coatings, post-harvest pesticides, mild chlorine or acid washed or if treated with a level of ionizing radiation.  That’s reassuring then…

This week an article was published about an unwrapped chocolate muffin bought in a coffee shop chain.  It was bought in January this year, sat open on a desk in an office atmosphere since then, and some 6+ weeks later was still suspiciously squishy, moist, unmouldy &  “fresh” when tried.  What on earth was in it to keep it like that?!  How long had it been sitting in the coffee shop for sale since it was “freshly made”?! Nature’s progress for a real food muffin should have been staling, followed by normal moulding.  It could take several days & even a week to naturally degrade – but degrade it should have done!

The irony is that these foods may have been charged at low price points –but given how cheap to produce & store, undoubtedly the products are over-priced for what they actually represent.
Anyone remotely concerned about health- good digestion – quality food couldn’t possibly want to consume such a product.

But we also promise “Always Fresh” in Rex!  How is our food provenance process any different from this?

pan gallego, spanish bread, spain bread, sourdoughOur philosophy is to promise that we are hand-making our products ourselves, from end to end on the premises, every single morning.   Our flour is only 100% organic with nothing unnatural in it to artificially speed up the development or the size or how long the breads last.

What does that practically mean for the Rex range?

All bread* , viennoiserie*, buns & scones are baked  the day they are put out to sale & if they don’t sell that day, we discard them.  Be reassured that everything we make freezes well in your home for future use, if properly wrapped & defrosted in plastic.  We won’t ever re-sell day old bread to you though – there will be a new bake that night instead!

*100% sourdough Rye wrapped in clingfilm betters over the hours so that may have been made 1-2 days before
2 x hazelnut croissant, twice baked* Twice-baked viennoiserie requires pre-made croissants & pains au chocolat – they are then transformed to a delicious confection using sugar syrup & new ingredients

We make all the ingredients for the daily sandwiches and toasties & soups ourselves every few days – we roast our own free range chicken & Mediterranean vegetables, we make our own pickle, hummus, mayonnaise, stock.  We even pull pork & salt beef ourselves!  You can trust us that we are meticulous with pre-washing all the salads & vegetables we buy in before use – we don’t want anything from hygiene risks through to additives interfering in Rex food.

Biscuit bars & cakes – we are selling more & more of these in Rex in 2015 and they could have a natural shelf life of many days & then even longer in your home.  To be honest, we are remaking all the time as they don’t last very long in Rex – and probably even less in your homes!

chocolate brownieSo you can be sure that Always Fresh really does mean what we all think Fresh should mean, in Rex.  We’ve thought long & hard about providing the very best quality & Real freshness on your doorstep – Oh, and about being seriously yummy 🙂

Have a great week!