Ancient Grains

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.

RECIPE: HOT CROSS BUNS WITH A TWIST

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.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • Butter

Method

  1. Add oil to a frying pan and heat. Once the pan is hot add the bacon and fry on both sides until crispy
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to the bacon and cook for a further minute
  3. 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

  1. Butter the toasted hot cross bun and place the bacon inside
  2. Finish with a drizzle of maple syrup for the perfect sweet and salty combination

Why the butter’s as important as the bread

NO WASTE

We work closely with our friends at Quicke’s to ensure nothing from the Clothbound Cheddar that we buy goes to waste; from the whey strained from the curds at the beginning of the process, to the crumbly bits that don’t make it into a slice.

We first met Quicke’s on our quest to find the perfect cheddar for our Ham and Cheese Sandwich. We still love the richness of Quicke’s Clothbound Cheddar, and to us it’s the perfect pairing with roasted ham, mustard butter and French Dark Sourdough, which is why it’s been pride of place in our bakeries ever since.

 

QUICKE’S WHEY BUTTER

We’re proud to butter our toast with Quicke’s Whey Butter. It’s made with whey cream, a bi-product from the Cheddar cheese-making process that would otherwise go to waste. Quicke’s add milk from their grass-fed herd to the whey cream and follow a rare heritage recipe to make the butter.

Whey butter is recognised by the slow foods movement as one of the great ‘forgotten foods’ and we love its rich and nutty flavour. Come in to try some on toast or a freshly baked Cheese and Chive Scone.

 

CHEDDAR SOURDOUGH STICK

We started selling this bread in our shops this year – it’s made with Quicke’s Clothbound Cheddar and we love it on its own and we also make a lunch or tea sandwich with smoked Merano Speck.

We buy the whole wheel of cheese from Quicke’s for our Ham and Cheese sandwich, but to get a clean slice, the ‘core’ of the cheese is removed for easier cutting.

To put the core to good use, we’ve developed the Cheddar Stick, which is made using the offcuts of the Clothbound Cheddar. We mix the offcuts into a sourdough base, with thyme, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.

As the amount of offcuts fluctuates depending on how many Ham and Cheese sandwiches we make, so does the number of Cheddar Sticks that we bake.

We are excited by both the opportunity and challenge of working with Quicke’s beautiful dairy – watch this space as we keep developing more recipes.

 

Click here to read our Baker’s Dozen with Mary Quicke, whose family have run the Devonshire farm for 14 generations.

 

Christmas at GAIL’s

Christmas is a million moments.

The first card you receive through the post and the last one you pop through your neighbour’s letterbox. A hold-your-breath Nativity play (nervous shepherd, second row on the right) and a hug and well-deserved star-shaped biscuit afterwards. It’s opening tomorrow’s window on the Advent calendar today because you can’t wait.

The aroma of wood smoke and of buns warming in the oven for breakfast – redolent of orange and vanilla or chocolate and almond – that wakes even a hibernating teenager. A sip of champagne and a nibble to share with friends you haven’t seen in too long.

The crunch and the spirit while shopping lifts you up and wears you down. The wrapped packages that say ‘thank you’ to teachers and friends at work with every bite. Enjoying sweet before savoury and feasting throughout the day, as Christmas Eve turns into Christmas and you tuck the last present under the tree with a yawn.

Reviewing a to-do list that keeps getting longer over a tray of bread and cheese. And it’s remembering that the list doesn’t really matter, because Christmas arrives anyway, just like it does every year. Savouring the indulgence and the ride of festive traditions. Merry Christmas!


ORDER NOW

Sprinkled with Demerara sugar
 

Christmas Buns Made with frangipane, chocolate crumbs, cinnamon, candied orange zest and vanilla. Iced with orange crème fraîche. Baked throughout the day.

Christmas Sandwich

Smoked turkey, Mayfield Swiss cheese, chipotle aioli and bacon jam on Malted Wholegrain Sourdough.

Iced Bauble Biscuits

Lightly spiced speculoos biscuits shaped into a festive bauble and iced with royal icing.

Speculoos Cookies

Lightly spiced speculoos cookies. 

Sour Cherry & Chocolate Drop Cookies

Rich chocolate cookies with almonds and sour cherries.

Cinnamon Stars

Made only with nuts, cinnamon, sugar and eggs (no dairy, no flour), this southern German Christmas speciality is a new favourite of ours. We use a combination of almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts to make them a little bit more special and add brown sugar to the spice, so it captures all the festive flavours.

Amaretti Cookies

Made without wheat flour. A chewy almond macaroon-like cookie, traditionally from Lombardy, Italy.

Star Anise & Clementine Organic Jam

Festive citrusy jam, perfect with toasted French Dark Sourdough.

Fennel & Sultana Sourdough

Our festive loaf made with jammy sultanas and crushed toasted fennel seeds.
Bigger than our everyday loaves, it’s perfect for sharing and serving with cheese.

Stencilled French Dark Sourdough

White and wholemeal wheat flour, water and salt. The quintessential wholemeal sourdough and our signature loaf.

 

Moroccan Lamb Harira Soup Recipe

Moroccan Harira Soup – Serves 8 – 10 as a main

Traditionally eaten during Ramadan to break the fast, with a handful of medjool dates.

Ingredients

700g lamb mince
3 medium onions or 2 large, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
5 celery stalks, diced
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
400g chickpeas, tinned or jarred
330g red lentils
2 litres of lamb or chicken stock
1.2 litres of water
3 desiree potatoes, peeled and diced into large cubes
1 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander seed
½ tsp chilli flakes
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground milled pepper, to taste
2 lemons, juiced
Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

Method

1. Heat the olive oil in the pan, then add the garlic, celery and onion. Fry for 10 minutes until softened.

2. Add the minced lamb into the pan to lightly brown, breaking up into pieces as it fries. After ten minutes, add the spices and fry for another two minutes, until the spices become fragrant.

3. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and lentils while stirring, to ensure the spices are mixed through.

4. Cover with the stock and water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add in the diced potatoes and leave to simmer for another 20 minutes.

6. Check that the potatoes and lentils are tender, then remove the saucepan from the heat.

7. Stir through the lemon juice and add salt and freshly milled pepper to taste.

8. Sprinkle over the chopped herbs and serve with a thick slice of sourdough.

 

 

New Seasonal Salads

Working with nutritionist Sam Bloom, we’ve created four new salads for the colder months, focusing on the best of the season’s nourishing ingredients.

Miso Chicken and Forbidden Rice with Pickled Ginger
Inspired by flavours of Japan, the umami flavour from the soy and miso roasted chicken breast is balanced with a citrusy ponzu dressing. The flowering vegetables kohlrabi, radicchio, rocket and spinach were chosen for their slight bitterness, which activates stomach acid production and in turn aids digestion. The garlic and pickled ginger are antimicrobial which promote a healthy gut, and the chicken breast and edamame beans make this salad rich in protein.

Roasted Root Vegetables and Feta with Pomegranate Dressing and Almonds
A celebration of our favourite winter vegetables, we brighten the earthy roasted root vegetables with sharp pomegranate seeds and a creamy tahini and pomegranate molasses dressing. Phytonutrient-rich celeriac, cauliflower, parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes balance blood sugar levels and make for a satiating meal. Feta cheese is an excellent source of calcium, as is the tahini in the dressing, and the almonds are full of healthy fats and potassium.

Hot Smoked Salmon Fishcakes with Black Barley and Dill Yoghurt
Each element in this salad has been created to complement the rich hot smoked salmon fishcakes, from the piquant chopped cornichons and capers in the black barley, to the creamy dill yoghurt dressing. Protein-rich salmon is a good source of omega-3, which is essential for brain function. High-fibre black barley and kohlrabi help to balance blood sugar levels throughout the day, while the radish and leafy greens trigger the production of stomach acids to aid digestion.

Pumpkin and Wild Rice with Roasted Cabbage and Pecan Pesto
This comforting winter salad is sweet with pumpkin and nutty from roasted cabbage, wild rice, pecans and pumpkin seeds, making for a satiating meal. Pumpkin is high in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which contribute to healthy skin and our immune system, and the pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc and anti-oxidants. The cabbage is a good source of fibre and vitamins K, C and B6. Wild rice is higher in fibre and protein than white rice, helping us to feel fuller for longer.

NUTRITIONAL AND ALLERGEN INFORMATION

PRIVACY NOTICES

GENDER PAY REPORT

MODERN SLAVERY STATEMENT