One of the things I personally love about eating out (not that we get to do much of that at the moment!) is that moment when, you’re all seated, drinks in hand, perusing the menu… and out comes some delicious fresh bread and butter to keep hunger at bay while you plan what to eat.
When you dine with us here at The Homestead Kitchen, you will be pleased to know we take our bread course very seriously! After your welcome ‘snack’ (this is currently a Dale end cheddar cheese donut, with truffle puree) the bread is our next chance to showcase simple yet delicious local ingredients.
The first job of the day, every day, is to get the bread dough mixed. We use organic flour from The Yorkshire Millers, who are based just 18 miles away in Spaunton.
Hill Top Farm lies within the North York Moors National Park, just four miles north of the town of Kirkbymoorside. The farm has just 100 acres of land with ‘rights of common’ to keep sheep on adjacent moorland. Today it produces organic lamb and around 20 acres of cereals – milling-wheat and rye – which have been grown intermittently since 1975.
They began milling their own wheat in 2005, using an 80 year old wood-framed ‘feed’ mill, fitted with Derbyshire grit stones. They soon expanded their capacity with four newly conceived, yet essentially traditional Astrier mills, which allowed them to source grains from other organic farms in North and East Yorkshire. They currently mill and distribute 5 different organic flours.
The flour we have chosen for our bread is their Superior White: this is an 85% extraction, which means that the outer layers of bran – 14-15% of the whole – have been removed. Thanks to their special mills, this is the most nutritious form of ‘white’ flour obtainable.
The flour itself doesn’t have that bright white look of your classic white flour, and you can really taste the difference.
We were so pleased to be able to find a local supplier for our flours, it all helps in our bid to reduce food miles, reduce transport costs and emissions, and ultimately encourages our local farming community to thrive.
Another key ingredient in the recipe is olive oil from Two Fields, a social regenerative project based in Zakros, Crete. Whilst the oil isn’t actually in the dough mix, it’s poured into the baking tin and coats the bread in the most delicious, light, crispy crust. Whilst we appreciate this doesn’t quite tick the ‘local’ box, they are doing such fantastic work to support the land and farmers in Zakros, that we really wanted to support them.
The project is run by two brothers, Harry and Will. It all began with a love story for them, when Harry fell in love with Eleni (his now wife) and the brothers relocated to Zakros and became unlikely apprentices to master craftsmen.
They are using regenerative farming practices that rebuild the land and soil with every harvest.
Creating a food system that champions people, the planet and delicious olive oil. You can read more about their really interesting processes here.
Last but not least. Let’s talk butter. On the menu at the moment we have butter that is lightly flavoured with kippers from Staithes (a sweet little coastal village just half an hour up the road from us) topped with pickled cucumber and fennel from our garden. I love watching the slight cautiousness from guests when we describe this element, but once we go back to clear their plates the caution has been transformed to pleasure!
Tempted to try giving bread making a go? Here’s a list of stockists for the flour Bakers and Outlets | Yorkshire Organic Millers
Let us know what you think.