Compote is a French term referring to the cooking of fruit in sugar, which combines to make a fruity syrup. They’re a doddle to make and we think are the ultimate fresh pancake topping, along with a dollop of crème fraîche and drizzled with maple syrup. We like to use fruit that is a little on the tart side and to add the sugar to taste as you go along.
200g fresh blueberries
200g fresh blackcurrants
65g caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Stir all the ingredients together over a low heat in a medium pan until the berries burst and let out their juice, and until the sugar has completely dissolved
Increase the heat and bring to the boil for 2 – 3 minutes
Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 – 8 minutes until thick and syrupy
Top your pancakes with a big dollop of freshly made compote, crème fraîche and a drizzle of maple syrup
This Valentine’s Day we will be hosting gingerbread baking classes for little bakers.
We recommend the classes for children aged 10 and under. If your child would like to join, please get in touch with your local bakery. See below for class dates and participating bakeries. Please note that children cannot be left unattended.
TUESDAY 11TH FEBRUARY 2020, 4PM:
Farnham, Summertown, Barnes, Clapham Old Town, Battersea, Willesden Green
WEDNESDAY 12TH FEBRUARY 2020, 4PM:
Temple Fortune, Blackheath, Seymour Place, Wokingham, Loughton, Queen’s Park, Islington
We don’t believe in wasting bread, in wasting any food.
Bread is one of the most wasted items in our food chain. In fact, 44% of all bread in the UK is wasted. That’s the equivalent of 24 million slices every day. 16,666 slices a minute, 278 slices every second.
We’re determined to do everything we can to make good food go further. There’s no time to waste.
This month, we interviewed our baker, Roz Bado, to hear from her about the inspiration behind some of our most innovative bakes.
The idea came about when I was asked to help with a sustainable supperclub; I thought we might use some leftover bread… could we upcycle our bread somehow? At the time, I had just developed a bread using porridge – the Porridge Sourdough – at which point the idea came to me about making porridge from the leftover bread. The next day I tried it. I shared it with Roy (Levy) and Tom (Molnar) who liked it and encouraged me to carry on developing the loaf, so I did until we thought it was just right. The reaction our customers have had to the Waste-Less Sourdough has been brilliantly encouraging.
How long did it take to develop the loaf?
From the initial idea to getting the loaf on the shelf, it was just over a year. Every day the types of leftover bread are different, so you don’t know what the porridge is going to be made of, and therefore what the Waste-Less loaf is going to be made of. So, there was a lot of experimentation to get to the right amount of porridge to mix with a new dough – we wanted to put in as much as possible without making it difficult to work with.
Some of our bakers thought it was a strange idea to use porridge in a bread at first, but once they tried it and understood the reasons we were so passionate about it, they were on board. It was about changing perspectives. And, of course, making great tasting bread.
Can you describe the process of making the Waste-less Sourdough?
We take surplus bread and mill it to make crumbs. Then, we dry them in the oven and use the crumbs to make porridge, in just the same way that you’d make your breakfast porridge. We mix dough but keep it slightly more dry than we normally would normal, so it holds the porridge mixture best, staying moist. Then, we prove and shape the dough, as usual.
How did people react to the idea of a bread using leftover bread?
Once I had the recipe in a good place, I tested it on my family and they loved it. In general, there was a little confusion about how it was made at first, but once the idea was explained, it makes sense and people love and respect it. And, crucially, it tastes great! The fact that it’s only grown in popularity every month since we started baking it in our shops tells us that people are becoming more and more engaged with reducing food waste.
How important is reducing surplus food to you?
Reducing food waste is critically important to me. It’s crazy to think that we waste so much bread in the UK and yet there are people who are starving.
When I go to my local farm shop, I know exactly where everything has come from. It’s about traceability, which is also something that’s really important to us at GAIL’s. We know where everything we use comes from. For us, this is the right way of doing things.
Our Head Baker, Roy Levy, is always trying to find ways to help small businesses and producers, including using waste products like the whey and offcuts from Quicke’s cheese. Every time we develop something new, we always take into consideration where the ingredients come from and whether there are ways we can reduce food waste. We are always having discussions about what else we can possibly use in our kitchens. It’s about being observant, noticing when even the smallest thing may go into the bin, and thinking of innovative ways to make a change. It’s also about talking to our suppliers. We wouldn’t have known about the offcuts from Quicke’s unless our relationship with them was so good, and we had such open conversations. We’re constantly tweaking and seeing how we can make our recipes more sustainable.
Tell us about the other products in the Waste Not range.
We have so many recipes that use offcuts or wonky fruit or veg. In terms of bread, we love the Waste-less Roll, which is a baby version of the Waste-less Sourdough. We use it to make a delicious Mayfield Swiss cheese sandwich in the bakeries.
The Einkorn & Whey Sourdough is made with ancient grains and almost all the liquid in the mix is whey, a by-product from the cheesemaking process. This dough is really lively because the whey is fermented – it’s having a bit of a party in there! There are also lots of seeds in this loaf, which we soak before adding to the mix as it makes them more nutritious.
The Sourdough Croutons are made from leftover Blackheath Wild loaves. We cut them up and add garlic, rosemary and thyme, then use them with our soups. You can also buy bags of them to take home.
The Cheese Crackers are our buttermilk crackers sprinkled with the offcuts from Quicke’s cheddar. Simple but incredibly tasty.
Our Soho Bun, which is a favourite for a lot of our little customers, is also sustainable, as its made with croissant dough offcuts, turning into a brioche-like dough and then filled with lots of chocolate chips. Our filled croissants, with almond and chocolate, and ham and cheese, are also made with yesterday’s surplus croissants.
We look at every stage of the baking process to see where we might be able to be more conscious. For us it’s about constantly adjusting, monitoring what we’re ordering to reduce surplus, catching what might be falling through the net.
What are your favourite ways to reduce bread waste at home?
– Cut a few slices when your loaf is fresh and freeze them if you think you won’t get through it all (we can slice it for you at the bakery).
– Make breadcrumbs and freeze them if you won’t use them straight away. Use these for stuffing, to sprinkle on gratins and pasta bakes, or to make treacle tart
– Cut into chunks and make croutons
– Rip up and make panzanella
– Dip in egg to make French toast or eggy bread
– Layer in a baking dish with custard and sultanas to make bread and butter pudding
– Make a brown bread ice cream
Celebrating the spirit of Sundays with Desmond & Dempsey.
Lionel Ritchie got it right. Sunday mornings are for taking things slowly, easing into the day with good coffee and your favourite breakfast – warm croissants with butter and jam, French toast drizzled with maple syrup, eggs on toasted English muffins – and sipping, strolling and reading your day away. And whether you want to lounge in your pyjamas all day, or dress up to see friends and family, a morning trip to your local bakery is a must. Scruffy or smart, anything goes on Sunday. No expectations, no judgements. Just breakfast.
To celebrate the spirit of Sundays, we’ve collaborated with pyjama masters Desmond & Dempsey to create a limited-edition apron and tea towel with an exclusive hand-painted print inspired by GAIL’s: baking, coffee, craft and our mutual love of mornings. For D&D founders Molly and Joel, it started with a fondness for our ham and cheese croissant – flaky and filled with rich béchamel sauce, honey-glazed ham and Gruyère cheese – and turned into a Sunday routine. Their morning isn’t complete without a trip to their local GAIL’s and so we’ve worked together to bring their pyjama prints to the kitchen and celebrate the slow morning rituals that make Sundays special.
Available to buy from our bakeries and online, the stylish print and soft cotton make these culinary essentials perfect for pottering in the kitchen, or cooking up a storm for friends and family. And to keep every day feeling like Sunday, the print will also be featured in all of our bakeries, and will even take over the facade of our Portobello Road bakery.
Fancy winning a year’s worth of D&D pyjamas and GAIL’s bread?
To celebrate our collaboration with Desmond & Dempsey we’re giving you the chance to win a year’s worth of your favourite GAIL’s bread and D&D PJs. Enter here, T&C apply.
With the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees… I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” – F Scott Fitzgerald
With the long, warmer days of summer, we crave food that is light and bright. Rich comfort foods and heartier meals are swapped for salads and seasonal vegetables, still accompanied by a generous slice of bread and butter, of course. Puddings come served with jewel-coloured berries, and refreshing iced tea or cold brew coffee elevate afternoon treats. With this in mind, our chefs and bakers have created a summer menu to take us from dawn to dusk.
Of course we’re partial to a slice of toast in the morning. We have quite a few loaves to choose from, after all. But on a hot day, a cooling yoghurt hits the spot. Try our Greek yoghurt topped with roastedpeaches and fresh raspberries, or mango, lychee and sorrel, or our vegan Coconut Yoghurt, Lemon Curd& Blueberries pot, made with a zingy lemon curd recipe that we haven’t stopped eating since we came up with it. We’ve added passionfruit to our Overnight Oats for a summer flavour. The oats are soaked in oat milk, mixed with coconut yoghurt and topped with perfectly-ripe strawberries, highest-quality pistachios from Iran, and vibrant passion fruit compote, for a breakfast that is somehow both creamy and fresh.
Hit the sweet spot after lunch with our Set Vanilla Yoghurt, Spelt Crumble& Strawberry Pudding. A sophisticated, cheesecake-like pudding that isn’t overly sweet, the soft, light texture of the vanilla contrasts with the crunch of the crumble and vibrancy of perfectly-ripe British strawberries. A riff on a classic, think souped-up strawberries and cream for a summer’s day.
Einkorn is the oldest wheat known to man. Grains of wild einkorn can be traced back tens of thousands of years, and it has been grown and harvested by farmers since around 6000 BC. Archaeologists recently discovered kernels of einkorn at an underwater archaeological site on the Isle of Wight, from a time when Britain was still connected by land to the rest of Europe. This ancient grain has continued to be cultivated in remote agricultural communities, where for thousands of years these precious grains have been preserved for their remarkable qualities: rich in fibre, protein, essential fatty acids, potassium and beta-carotene.
Making flour from this nutritious grain is a way to preserve and promote rare varieties of wheat and protect biodiversity. Just as important though, is the fact that it makes delicious bread. For our Einkorn & Whey loaf, we mix this special flour with traditional British wheat flour, a touch of dark rye and, of course, our 20-year-old sourdough. We then fold red quinoa, whole soya beans, chia and millet into the dough, and scatter seeds across the top to create a pleasing crunch to the crust when baked. The result is an earthy, nutty flavour with an unmistakeable sourdough tang.
Flavour and nutrition are key to everything we do, but we are always looking for creative ways to reduce food waste too. The Einkorn & Whey Sourdough is our latest epiphany: made using whey, a by-product from the cheesemaking process. For years we’ve been buttering our bread with Quicke’s Whey Butter, and we’re chuffed to have found another use for their whey, a waste product that many cheesemakers throw away. A kindred spirit, Quicke’s use traditional recipes, time-honoured techniques and heritage starters, yet are open to innovative ideas and ways to become more sustainable.
To us, our new Einkorn & Whey loaf is the perfect mix of tradition and innovation. Pick one up in your local bakery, or order online, and try it with lashings of butter, or a chunk of Quicke’s outstanding clothbound cheddar.