Monday, 22 March 2010

Long Crichel Bakery

I'm very hit and miss when it comes to making bread. It's something I feel I should be able to do, something I should be good at. Once in a while I will knock up a beautiful light loaf that fills the flat with that most comforting of aromas. The smell of freshly baked bread wafting into the hall outside for all my neighbours to smell too. These instances don't happen often though, and on many attempts it all goes terribly wrong. The beautiful smell is there but the dough has been underworked, over-kneeded, didn't rise, was too stodgy. Whenever anyone has eaten my bread and commented how good it might be, the truth is that it is most likely a fluke. I have only ever made a small hand full of edible bread, with the other loaves cast off in great chunks for the birds to struggle through on the lawn. Sourdough was one area I managed to do fairly well, but even then it never tasted quite as I'd hoped. Some people go crazy for bread, oggling dimly lit photos and writing passages on the methods that are more akin to a Mills & Boone novel than some food literature. Bread porn is something that spurs on great debates and many descriptive discussions. How some people can lust over such a humble food seems almost perverse and up until recently I had never quite had the adoration.

Long Crichel Bakery has changed my mind though. Feeling a little lost and like we were in the opening scene of a bad horror movie we rolled up to Long Crichel at around 11am with dark clouds and hammering rain overhead. From the outside, the renovated 18th century stable block looks like any other but on opening the door a familiar bakers smell drew us in like lambs to the slaughter. I like the cute little bakery, it's simple and to the point. Baskets of root veg, some farmhouse butter, cheeses and other select food products are on the few shelves whilst the counter is bustling with croissants, pain au chocolat, alsace tartes, simnel cakes and sausage rolls. The shelves of bread, the reason we made such a drive to come and try, were full of warm loaves all in varying shapes, sizes and colour. Set against the white washed stone walls I was beginning to understand what those bread pervs were on about now. The kind lady let me loose through the labrynthine rooms of the bakery to see the ovens and starters and trolleys full of sticky topped hot cross buns and take a few pictures. As I crossed the threshold behind the till and into the main area of the bakery I almost knocked over a whole tray of the aforementioned shiny hot cross buns. Luckily my wife has reactions like a superhero and, as per usual, saved me from terrible embarrassment.

Long Crichel Bakery is completely organic and biodynamic where available. They have perfected their craft out there in the sticks and it seems every loaf has a crunchy crust with a soft and moist inside. The bakery uses freshly milled flour from a nearby mill,  milk and butter from a Dorset dairy farm and all the bread is baked in wood fired ovens fed from a local, sustainable forest. After being shown around and taking hundreds of photos of hot cross buns I left with one for the drive home along with a five-seed sourdough loaf. The hot cross bun was still warm with the outside all sticky and crunchy with a soft fluffy inside which tasted a million miles away from any I have ever had before. The five-seed loaf has now become my best friend. I don't want it to end. It's fantastic and over the past few days we have just been eating it with nothing but butter or some cream cheese. As we near the end of the loaf and my eyes start to fill up, my wife tells me to pull myself together and stop being a dick.

Turns out the Green Deli in Ashley Cross sells Long Crichel Breads and has two deliveries a week which will save such a pilgrimage next time I fancy a decent loaf.

Below are the details of Long Crichel Bakery and The Green deli in Ashley Cross. I'd go for the five-seed sourdough myself.

Long Crichel Bakery
Long Crichel
Dorset BH21 5JU
01258 830852

The Green
24 Station Road
Ashley Cross
Dorset, BH14 8UB
01202 914656

1 comment:

  1. those hot cross buns look scrumptious!