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Bandon, Cork, Ireland
Alan and Zoe Tennyson make bread from their home in Cross Mahon Bandon Co. Cork. They specialise in organic spelt and wheat breads sourcing local organic produce where possible. Our wholemeal spelt breads are made with Ballybrado flour, the only Irish producer of organic flours. We hope to add further organic breads as we continue to source producers.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Carrageen Moss Spelt Bread

My mother would sometimes say 'Yer man is too sweet to be wholesome.' and perhaps it is just my prejudices but this post sounds to wholesome to be sweet. However in recent weeks I have had my considerable prejudices challenged. This is thanks firstly to Richard Bertinet's wonderful Dough, a book outlining simple contemporary breads. I have one very minor criticism of Bertinet's book which I will just get off my chest quickly (in fact on reflection it is not even a criticism, more a observation). Bertinet's book doesn't explore the use of old doughs or sourdoughs. I am guessing that his subheading Simple Contemporary Breads suggests that he never intended to go into these areas. Fair enough! It is reasonable not to frighten off novices by explaining how we will ferment doughs for 48 hours.

Light and fluffy with a delicate flavour, that is how this particular bread turned out. We sold our first four loaves today at Bandon Farmers Market to a esoteric crowd.

The Carrageen Moss we used comes from Easkey in Co. Sligo. Zoe and I had the pleasure of living up there for a couple of months in 2007. While we were in Sligo we would spin out to Easkey regularly, to take in the scenery and marvel at the fossilised seaweed. Easkey castle provides a beautiful backdrop to the frequently choppy seas.

For this bread we are currently using the following proportions.

70% White spelt
30% Wholemeal spelt
60% Water
10% Spelt sourdough starter
1% Bakers yeast
2% Dried carrageen moss (dry weight)

For those of you not familiar with using percentages. Below is the receipt for a medium sized loaf in grams.

420g White spelt
180g Wholemeal spelt
360ml warm water
60ml spelt sourdough starter
6g bakers yeast
12g Dried carrageen moss (dry weight)

I have been intending for some time now to post a description of creating your own sourdough starters (it's not as painful as it sounds!)

Soak the seaweed for two hours in water. Take it out and chop it up. I prefer a rough chop, too fine and you lose the texture of the seaweed.

Weigh out your flours. Mix the yeast, warm water and sourdough together, making sure you don't have a clump of yeast at the bottom of your container (good decisions come from experience, experience comes from bad decisions).

Cover with a damp tea towel (or anything that stops the air creating a film on your dough) and leave aside for about an hour. The double in size rule is a reasonably useful rule of thumb.

Gently remove from the bowl and shape into your desired loaf. If you don't have a dough scraper, wet your hand and you will be able to handle the dough easier. Place on a greased tray or tin and set aside to prove for another 45 minute (covering with the same damp tea towel).

A useful tip for knowing if the dough is ready is push it with your finger, if it does not spring back then its ready for the oven.

Bake at 220 c for approximately 40 minutes. Another useful rule of thumb is if it sound hollow, it is likely to be done.

Perhaps it goes without saying that this kind of earthy bread goes particularly well with fish.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Caramelised Onions

If the simple things in life are the best then caramelised onions are firmly in that camp. I even feel they would convert my lachanophobia suffering brother Ian. Truth is stranger than fiction and the truth is that lachanophobia is an irrational fear of vegetables! Ian's condition is so severe that one Christmas he 'lost the head' with me for putting onions in the potato crochets,

“You ruined Christmas , you bollocks!”

to quote him exactly.

Not only can this recipe heal the sick is it also cheap as chips and provides a neat way to preserve a glut of onions.


1kg white onions

150g granulated sugar


The down size of this recipe is the chopping. But a good sharp knife, a large and stable chopping board and a little Alexey Stakhanov organisation can make the whole thing less of a ordeal. For this recipe we want our onions in slices rather that diced. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Eyc4AAF1zo so follow this guys instructions up until the point he goes to dice it, and slice it instead! If you want to cry less, don't chop into the root.

Tip the sliced onion into a large heavy sauce pan and toss the onions in your sugar. Now on a low heat gently simmer the onions for approximately 45 minutes. When they are done they will be a nice golden brown colour. That's it!

They never last long enough in our house to say firmly how long they will last. But given that they are a jammy consistency I am guessing they will have good properties of preservation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anton's and AlphaOmega get a mention in the New Bridgestone

I was delighted to see that my old boss Anton (Fr. Griffin Rd. Galway) got a spot in the New Bridgestone Irish Food Guide. I have Anton (and his sister Kate) to thank, for teaching me a huge amount, while I was there and giving me the basic skills to build on.

The Bridgestone said, 'Anton's is a job well done, a classy neighbourhood space packed with regulars, with everyone a happy customer.' p. 243

We got a brief mention too as part of the Bandon Farmers Market Review. Last spring / summer was our first time striking out on our own, so it was particularly heartening to get the positive feedback.

We are looking forward to getting back to the market for this years season in the coming weeks. Our calendar will be updated with dates shortly.

Well done guys!