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Spelt’s the loaf…

By Hussina Raja It’s week seven of the Just Bread project and the final week of our bread subscription. This morning we begin with a Spelt loaf for breakfast. This is one of my favourite loaves. It is dense, creamy in texture and delicious. Spelt is considered a healthier grain to wheat containing different gluten proteins. It is an ancient grain that is high in fibre and vitamin E, so it’s a desirable loaf for many. Carmen, our baker, had mixed a stiff porridge of spelt flour and cracked spelt at 8am this morning. This combination is what gives the loaf it’s rich consistency. She begins to explain how the Spelt dough…

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Flatbread fun :)

Written by Hussina Raja Photography by Jenny Matthews We’re already more than halfway through our Just Bread journey. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve experimented with different types of bread and celebrated Eid whilst making bread. This week we delve into learning a new recipe – flatbread!   Today it’s all hands on deck as soon as we arrive at the Roasthouse, a quick breakfast followed by Jean ushering us into positions for cutting and shaping the dough he mixed this morning. It’s week 3 of the Just Bread subscription and our subscribers are being treated to our moreish flatbread. A versatile bread that is popular in many countries and commonly…

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Coffee & Cakes

By Hussina Raja It is a beautiful, sunny day at the e5 Roasthouse. On a day like this, the Roasthouse is filling up with happy customers ready to bake in the sun with their iced lattes. Following a breakfast of Gilchester currant buns and sweet jams, we start the session with learning about customer service…

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First loaf from Just Bread

By Hussina Raja This week we bring Just Bread to you in pictures to illustrate the baking process from ancient grain to sourdough loaf. Week 2 with all its science can feel a little overwhelming, but once we get our heads around it things fall into place and make sense. It helps to have Diane’s…

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Just Bread…and a bit more

By Hussina Raja Just Bread is back with a new, excited and enthusiastic group of trainees. Our first session kicks off at the e5 Roasthouse. It’s sun, smiles and sourdough all round. In what is growing tradition, with each new group we welcome one another by introducing ourselves, where we are from and the types…

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As we break bread together

Written By Hussina Raja The space is buzzing, it’s 2pm and the working day is in full procession at the e5 Bakehouse. It’s week seven and event night! I’m a little nervous but that soon passes as the group, all smiles are excited to get cooking. Their enthusiasm is infectious, with Kate swooping in, the…

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An education on ancient grains

Written by Hussina Raja “The spelt grain is the oldest form of wheat originating from the Middle East region.” Uzoma states when I ask at the end of each session what we have learnt today. Week 6 and we’re discovering the secrets of the Spelt loaf. Although it’s not much of a secret, rather a…

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A taste of Just Bread

Written by Hussina Raja This week I’m sharing what a typical Just Bread day looks like for the trainees from start to finish. 7.30 – Kate mixes the multigrain dough for the session. 10.00 – We arrive for week 2 of the Just Bread subscription bake and our bread for the day is laid out…

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Ready, steady, Bake!

Written by Hussina Raja Our first big bake for the Just Bread subscribers begins. We start the morning with our ritual of breaking bread together, bellies filled we prepare ourselves for the bake ahead. First, we help Merry and Elsa (Just Bake alumni) with the final shaping and baking of the weekly flatbread order. Jean…

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A day trip to Paul Rhodes Bakery

Written by Hussina Raja It’s week three and we’re on our first Just Bread outing to Paul Rhodes Bakery across the river in Greenwich. Despite the biting cold, we all turn up to the e5 Bakehouse for yet another wonderful day. We huddle around the table clutching our cups of steaming hot tea and coffee…

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We bake and break bread

Written by Hussina Raja It is week two of our Just Bread journey and we have two new participants joining us from Egypt and Nigeria. Today’s session is all about baking our first loaves of bread. It gets very technical but everyone takes it in their stride and are eager to get the sourdough bread…

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Just Bread beginnings…

Written by Hussina Raja Just Bread is back… for the second time this year and we all arrive at the e5 Roasthouse in high spirits. We welcome our smiling participants who are eager to get stuck in. The group is made up of men and women from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Pakistan, and Sudan. The morning starts off with…

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Graduation day!

A celebration of Food. Well, what an amazing way to finish the course! I don’t think anyone has ever seen such an exotic and rich display of world food. To celebrate the end of the Just Bread course, we arranged for all the ladies to bring in a dish from their native countries. Everyone brought…

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This week – Cakes!

Week eight has definitely been a long expected week for the ladies. For the whole duration of the course so far they have asked when they will be baking cakes, and guess what? Yesterday was the day! We were instructed by the lovely Mariana on how to make three different types of pastries. The first…

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What a fun few weeks we’ve had!!

Now that we are more than half way into the course it’s great to see how much the ladies have learned, how much their confidence in the Bakehouse is growing and how such lovely friendships are developing. It’s truly becoming a group of very talented bakers. One of the highlights has been that the ladies…

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Bread subscription baking

Today was the second week of our bread subscription baking. For every course, customers can sign up to buy bread made by the refugees each Tuesday. The ladies seem to really love this incentive to bake for sale. The previous week, they baked 23 loaves very enthusiastically for the customers and they particularly enjoyed the busyness of the…

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Week 2 – a visit to Paul Rhodes bakery

After such a great first week, one could have imagined it would be hard to beat! But thanks to the generosity and dedication of Jean, we all had a really wonderful day out. The day started off with a beautiful breakfast laid out for us by the staff of the e5 bakehouse in London Fields.…

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Graduation Day Celebration

So at the end of December we celebrated the end of our latest course. Apologies for the delay in getting around to publishing this blog post but it’s been a busy time. We held our graduation day at the wonderful new E5 Roasthouse in Poplar. If you haven’t been there yet, please do make the…

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Sourdough Olive Oil Flat Bread Recipe

Recipe: Makes 10 flatbreads (90g each) 120g rye starter 240g milk 120g hot water 36g olive oil 300g white flour 300g strong flour 11g salt 9g sugar Heat your oven to maximum temperature. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Leave the dough for 30 minutes and then fold every 30 minutes for 2…

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Week 5 – Support our bread subscription

After five weeks of talking and training, we’re bringing the fruity loaves of our labours to your tables. This is the first week of the Just Bread subscription and your first chance to taste some of the beautiful bread we’ve been baking. We’re not only learning the intricacies of baking with sourdough, but also practising…

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Week 4 – Crossing the loaves

By now we’re learning that baking with sourdough is a responsive, reciprocal process. It’s about learning through touch, checking the bread with a light press of the fingers at every stage of the process, smelling the dough, tasting the mixture to see if it’s ready. This is not an academic exercise. Today we’re practicing spelt…

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Week 2 – Toolkits for learning

Through the shining glass windows of E5 Roasthouse in Poplar, two women are making flatbreads on a floured counter top. In a well-practised dance, the dough is cut into stretchy balls, weighed, laid out on trays and covered with plaid tea towels. Both women arrived here at E5’s new site through the Just Bread training…

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Week 1 – Starting with the starter

It’s 10.00am on a sunny October morning and the fruity scents of fermenting yeast, rising loaves rise up to greet us as we open the doors to E5 Bakehouse’s bakery under the arches of London Fields. Nine women have already begun to gather around the big wooden table, piled high with crusty loaves, butter, jam,…

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A huge thank you…

We are a little overwhelmed.  When we initially met with Jo at Creating for Good and talked about our bread baking project for women from a refugee background we never expected to get this level of support.  Not only have you helped us raise £1,300 since August but you have also enabled us to reach…

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Fruit Loaf – packed with sweet deliciousness.

This week, the last week of our subscription, we made a wonderful classic, the fruit loaf. Filled with prunes, raisins and apricots this sweet bread is a great way to start a wintry day. Led by the founder of e5, Ben, we produced over 60 loaves, enough for us to try as well as to send off with the bicycle courier to our subscribers scattered around East London.  As well as the bread, we worked together to make our own lunch consisting of a spicy carrot soup with a delicious harissa sauce to dollop on top. this was the first time we had cooked together to make our own lunch and…

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Surviving the chilly frost of winter with the warmth of bread

As the cold takes its grip and what feels like the heart of winter settles around us, there is no better place to be then inside a bakery, lovingly preparing bread. On Tuesday we re-visited the multi-grain bread and made approximately 70 loaves for our customers. While we waited for the bread to prove we experimented making butter for the first time. This was the first time many in the group had made butter, and it was a learning curve for all of us. Mariana, our teacher, explained how she uses yogurt to ferment the double cream a little to give the butter a slightly fermented taste. The double cream…

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Hackney Wild!

This week we revisited the Hackney Wild. This time however, instead of preparing loaves for ourselves, we baked over 55 loaves for our east London subscribers. We worked all morning to shape the large batches of dough that Mariana, our bread teacher, had begun working on earlier. We worked on perfecting the pre-shape, which, as the dough is still quite sticky at that point, is not the easiest time to handle the dough. But with much practice, the loaves began to look rounder and hold together tighter when we put them on the board to rest. Lots of the women have their own methods of working with bread dough and…

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Beginning the month with Bread and Jam

After a small break for Christmas, we are back at E5 Bakehouse as excited as ever to be learning more about the wonderful nature of sourdough and how best to use it to make brilliant, healthy bread. We have also begun our month-long subscription system whereby we have gathered 55 brilliant supporters who we bake…

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Combining Touch, Sight, Sound and Smell to create a wonderful loaf

Another day, another loaf……. We began bright and early this morning with breakfast, tea and coffee at E5 Bakehouse while slowly getting to grips with new names and faces. Eight women were present to begin a 10-week training in sourdough bread, with optional pickles, butter and jam making as the course progresses. Alongside the bread product, the women will have the option of completing their level 1 health and hygiene certificate which will allow them to work and volunteer in other commercial kitchens in the future. From all corners of London, in fact, all corners of the world, we began to get to know new people and come to terms…

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Coffee and pickles

Coffee training and fermentation techniques were the two activities for this week’s training.  Making 3 types of pickles with the head chef of e5 Bakehouse Marcella. The Japanese nuka bran pickles, sour beets and cucumber relish. Chop, chop, chop.  All the vegetables for the pickles.  Sanitizing the jars by putting them in high temperature and…

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Mixing things up..

To mix things up we baked some cakes in our 6th week of the course. We made 3 different kinds of cakes. At the beginning we had to prepare the class with all the ingredients we are going to use.We had a massive block of butter.                  …

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Handmade bread & butter

In week 4 of Just Bread course we started the day as usual with morning coffees and teas and some home baked cakes the ladies brought with them. This week we baked 42 Hackney Wild loaves for our subscribers. Making this big amount of bread made the ladies really excited and on their tip toes…

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