There is a quiet beauty about winter; a stillness in the air, skies of pale blue, the gentle glint of the first frosts as we wake up and start our day. Christmas is fast approaching and we can feel a tingle of excitement as we roll out the pastry for our mince pies and knead the dough of our fruit-laden sourdough. Christmas at GAIL’s is all about the joy of seasonal flavours we taste but once a year, the ritual of gathering around the tree, the twinkle of tiny lights, and the alluring scents wafting from the kitchen.
It’s the heady scent of spices that lingers in the air at Christmastime – cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg – and we like to add a pinch of spice to all our sweet treats. Our award-winning mince pies are filled with brandy-soaked fruit and sprinkled with demerara sugar to give a pleasing crunch to the buttery, crumbly pastry. Or indulge in our much-loved Christmas Buns, made with frangipane, chocolate crumbs, cinnamon, vanilla and candied orange zest, then iced with orange crème fraîche. We’ve also added a festive design to our French Dark Sourdough, and created the ultimate Christmas sandwich. Plus, iced biscuits to hang on your tree, sweet almond brittle sables, and a special jam that’s the essence of Christmas. Pop in to your local bakery to see the bounty on offer, or pre-order online for festive gatherings.
Once your festive feasts are sorted, it’s time to think about gifts. For the people in your life that love nothing more than pottering in the kitchen and cooking up a storm for family and friends, look no further than our limited-edition Desmond & Dempsey aprons and tea towels. The hand-painted print was inspired by our bakers, bread, coffee and vintage linen. Designed with a focus on the details, both items are made from 100% cotton, and the apron has a long adjustable strap and tie, a deep front pocket, and a slot just the right size for your mixing spoon. The stylish print and soft cotton make these culinary essentials for every kitchen. Wrap them up with a copy of our first cookbook and place them under the tree.
However you celebrate this time of year, happy Christmas!
This Christmas 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 us. Please see below for class dates and participating bakeries. Please note that children cannot be left unattended.
Tuesday 17th December 2019, 4pm:
Farnham, Summertown, Camden, Barnes, Clapham Old Town, Abbeville, Battersea, Willesden Green
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.