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
THURSDAY 13TH FEBRUARY 2020, 4PM:
Crouch End, Pimlico, Brook Green, Swain’s Lane, Temple Fortune
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.
Where did the inspiration for the Waste-less Sourdough come from?
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
Ginger warms us up, no wonder its flavour evokes the winter season like nothing else. This recipe is for the perfect gingerbread-house building biscuit.
- 440g plain flour
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 125g butter, chilled & diced
- 220g light muscovado sugar
- 1 egg
- 75g golden syrup
- Sift together the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl
- Scatter over the cubes of cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture
- Once it resembles coarse breadcrumbs, stir in the muscovado sugar
- In a separate bowl beat the egg into the golden syrup with a fork, then add to the flour mixture and stir until well combined into a soft dough
- Form your dough into a rectangle, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight
- When you’re ready to bake preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Lightly dust the work top and rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough to a thin sheet (3-5mm thick).
- With your cutter, cut out as many shapes as possible with the dough, re-kneading and rolling as necessary
Top Tip – dip your cutter lightly in flour to create perfect shapes.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until just crisp. Smaller shapes will need less time. Once baked, let them cool before icing them and creating a magical gingerbread land.
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
Wednesday 18th December 2019, 4pm:
Temple Fortune, Blackheath, Seymour Place, Wokingham, Loughton, Balham, Queen’s Park, Islington
Thursday 19th December 2019, 4pm:
Crouch End, Pimlico, Brook Green, Earlsfield, Swain’s Lane, Temple Fortune