Einkorn & Whey Sourdough
A modern interpretation of an ancient grain.
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.
Our crumbly Gruyère and chive scones are best eaten straight out of the oven with lashings of melted butter, perfect for a summer picnic.
- 360g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 170g butter, chilled and diced
- 250g Gruyère, grated
- small bunch of chives, finely snipped
- 4 eggs
- 150ml milk
- Preheat the oven to 180℃/gas mark 4 and line a baking sheet with baking paper
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and add in the diced, chilled butter
- With your fingertips rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs
- Use your hands to mix in the cheese and chives
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the milk and eggs all in one go, stirring gently with a wooden spoon as you go (the mixture should be sticky and lumpy)
- Use your hands to form the scones: wet your palms slightly and scoop the dough up in handfuls, dropping it into 12 mounds onto the baking sheet
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on the outside but still soft inside
- Serve when hot, with lashings of butter
Top Tip: if you don’t want to bake all 12 at once, wrap the others in cling film and freeze for up to a week. You can take them out as and when you want to bake them. This is our naughty way to have freshly baked scones everyday with almost no extra effort.
Bread currently has a very poor reputation – it is accused of causing weight gain, bloating, digestive issues and providing little nutritional benefit. This is due to supermarket loaves being made using the Chorleywood method, which aims to speed up the process leaving us with bread which often contains more than 15 ingredients.
However, we believe that bread should be made using just 4 ingredients, flour, water, salt and yeast. Combining these 4 simple ingredients and the slow fermentation technique used in making sourdough, means it can support digestion and is often well tolerated by those who ordinarily find bread a digestive irritant. Our bread also uses the whole grain; this increases the fibre and the nutrient load because the husk of the grain (the most fibrous part) is included in the bread.
Good quality bread, which uses the whole grain, contains carbs, protein and fat, coupled with a nutrient dense topping (such as eggs, salmon, avocado) will nourish the body, regulate blood sugar and minimize the need for snacking. We love that our bread is health food.
The recent World Health Organisation review calling on us to eat 30g of fibre a day is bringing it back en vogue, a trend we strongly support.
Since the 90’s we’ve been baking with whole grains and natural ingredients, many of which are fibre and nutrient rich and good for our gut, heart and health.
Here are some of our favourite high fibre foods if you want to hit your daily allowance with us
Toast. 2 slices, 100% Rye Sourdough with almond butter
39% of daily fibre fix
2 large Seeded Crackers and green tahini
An easy grab-and-go snack. One of the top 50 foods globally, according to the Great Taste Awards 2018
15% of daily fibre fix
Carrot and ginger soup with 1 slice of Heritage Grain sourdough
Our Heritage Grain sourdough is made with two ancient grains, einkorn and spelt, both often eaten as an alternative to wheat
22% of daily fibre fix
Chocolate and Tahini bite
This sweet vegan treat is made with sesame seeds, which are a good source of essential vitamins and minerals that are tied to improvements in our heart, skin and digestive health
5% of daily fibre fix
Beetroot, lentil and goat’s cheese salad
This salad offers a mix of plant based nutrients from lentils, rocket, hazelnuts and beetroot, meaning it’s great for the gut
6g of fibre
19% of daily fibre fix
We have many breads that are high in fibre. Discover them here
We’re always looking for ways to reduce our food waste and this year our bakers are giving a second life to day-old Hot Cross Buns. Introducing the Bacon Hot Cross Bun.
To make these maple bacon filled buns, follow the recipe below.
- 1 GAIL’s Hot Cross Bun (or find the recipe here to make them from scratch)
- 3 rashers of streaky bacon
- Maple syrup, we use Buckwud maple syrup
- Add oil to a frying pan and heat. Once the pan is hot add the bacon and fry on both sides until crispy
- Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to the bacon and cook for a further minute
- While the bacon is cooking, slice your hot cross bun in half and lightly toast it
Top tip – place the bun face down on top of the toaster, not inside, so it doesn’t get stuck
- Butter the toasted hot cross bun and place the bacon inside
- Finish with a drizzle of maple syrup for the perfect sweet and salty combination
There’s nothing better than a warm, lightly spiced Hot Cross Bun with butter, of course. So, to celebrate Easter we’re sharing our iconic Hot Cross Bun recipe. The below recipe will make 20 buns, so there will be plenty to go around.
For the Buns:
20 g fresh yeast
1 tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. caster sugar
400 g plain flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp. mixed spice
200 ml whole milk
70 g caster sugar
1 large egg
70 g soft unsalted butter
(cut the cold butter into 2cm cubes and leave at room temperature for an hour before using)
40 g sultanas
40 g dry currants
40 g dried unsweetened cranberries
70 g mixed peel
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
For the Cross Topping:
200 g plain flour
230 g icing sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. tbsp milk
For the Syrup:
300 g caster sugar
200 ml water
1 whole nutmeg
1 whole star anise
1 whole clove
1/2 vanilla pod split in half lengthwise
In a large mixing bowl melt the yeast with a tablespoon of whole milk and a teaspoon of caster sugar. Make sure the yeast has completely dissolved and leave for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, you should notice mini bubbles on top of your yeast liquid: that means your yeast is alive.
In a separate bowl, sieve the flour with the spices.
Add the spiced flour to the yeast mixture. Keep adding the rest of the milk, the sugar and egg.
Begin to bind the mixture together using your hands, for 4-5 minutes until it forms a rough dough, and then add the butter a chunk at a time whilst kneading the dough.
After adding all the butter slowly, it should take around 2-3 minutes you will have a nice sticky dough. Continue kneading for 5 minutes more until you get a smooth, shiny dough.
Add the salt and fruits and continue kneading for 3 minutes more.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for 1.5 hours, until it grows to almost double in size.
Pour your dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 20 pieces at 50g each. Roll the dough pieces into shape by rolling them on a surface against your palms to create smooth buns.
Arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with a baking paper (all the buns onto one tray) and make sure you keep an even gap between them all. Cover the tray with a clean tea towel and leave to rise at room temperature until almost double in size.
When the buns are ready (the sides of each bun should be touching and you almost shouldn’t be able see the tray) make an eggwash by whisking 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk and a teaspoon of milk. Brush the buns carefully with this eggwash and leave to dry out for 10 minutes. Brush again.
Pre heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
MAKING THE X TOPPING
Using a hand whisk, gently combine all the cross topping ingredients into a smooth paste.
Fill a plastic piping bag with the topping mixture and cut a small hole using scissors. Always cut a smaller hole than you think you might need as you can cut it again to make a bigger hole – but you can’t make a big hole smaller!
Pipe thin crosses on top of the buns on the tray and pop it into the hot oven.
Immediately, reduce the oven temp to 180°C/gas mark 4 until thoroughly baked and golden (around 20-22 minutes).
WHILE THE BUNS ARE COOKING, MAKE THE SYRUP:
Put all the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and over a low heat bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, increase the heat and simmer for couple of minutes until you have a syrupy consistency.
Remove from the heat and fish the spices out.
Once the buns are ready, take them out of the oven and carefully brush them with the hot syrup.
Leave to cool for 15 minutes before serving.