Loaf’s tour diary

We took Loaf on the road last week, for the first time in quite a while.

Last Saturday we were at CoCoMad selling bread, pastries, cold drinks and, once the high street shop closed, anything left over in the bakery. It was great to get out and meet new people, and of course chat to some regulars in a more relaxed environment. We noticed a bit of an uptick in visitors to the shop during the week which might have come from CoCoMad, or it might just be Stirchley high street being unpredictable as usual. Who knows! But we had a good time, met lots of new people, sold more than enough to make it worth while and will definitely be back next year.

Then on Tuesday we had a bread stall at Six Weeks of Summer by the office blocks at 2 & 3 Snow Hill. That’s right – into the city centre! Our motivation was to promote the cookery school to people outside of Stirchley and it was an intriguing toe in the water. We’re keen to try this some more, particularly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when we have capacity to bake extra, so if you have a lead on an office lobby with plenty of foot traffic that would benefit from a pile of sourdough bread for sale, do let us know.

Finally, Wednesday saw Pete representing Loaf at the Co-op National Youth Summit, appearing on a couple of panels. The world of co-operative businesses and organisations is wide and varied so it’s good to bring a worker’s co-op perspective to the proceedings. He obviously didn’t make too many faux pas as we’ve been asked to talk about our new building at the main Co-op Congress which will be held in Birmingham next June. Exciting!

Ten years on the high street

On September 8th 2012, Tom Baker realised his dream of opening a community bakery on Stirchley High Street. Three years after starting Loaf in his kitchen, and with investment from customers who received their interest in bread, the doors of 1421 Pershore Road were opened to the public.

We’re marking this with a few special things over the month, starting with…

Free birthday cake!

Molly is making a special birthday cake that will be given away to the first 30 customers through the door on Thursday 8th.

Treasure hunt!

Rachel’s been hiding bread vouchers around Stirchley and releasing clues on our Instagram Stories. The hunt ends on Sunday and vouchers can be redeemed for a delicious loaf.

New totes and tees!

Molly’s been hard at work on new designs and the first batch will be on sale very soon. Look out for them at the…


We’re taking over the rear of Attic Brew this Sunday afternoon for a big shindig. Founders Tom and Jane Baker will be there along with other Loaf alumni, and you’re all welcome!

The fun starts at 3pm with kids welcome until 6pm. We’ll then carry on until closing. Attic is on Mary Vale Road by the canal bridge on the Stirchley side.

We’re putting together a slideshow of photos from the last decade and would love to include any you might have of bread and buns you bought, a course you went on, a pop-up takeaway — anything that brings a smile!

Loaf does Bio Arts!

When Laurie Ramsell asked us if we’d like to be involved in BAB LAB, his festival of artists working with biological materials, we immediately said yes. And so this Monday saw Loaf hosted a Yeast themed day of workshops and talks.

Laurie’s aim for the week is to encourage artists to consider working with biological materials and living things, and most of the participants were practicing artists, bringing a focussed but still playful inquisitiveness to the subject.

Martha introduces the yeast

We ran a short version of our bread course in the morning, giving a solid grounding in what yeast is and the ways we work with it to make bread, before letting them loose with some dough.

Over lunch we had a talk from Rosa Postlethwaite, a performance artist who has been using a sourdough starter in her work, focussing on it as a living creature and thinking about what it means to collaborate with it.

And then in the afternoon we had Günter Seyfried in our kitchen making “yeastograms” where shadows of UV light create images in yeast cultures. We went through the full process of making the agar to inoculate in Petri dishes and the next day had our living artworks. Here’s the Loaf logo:

Some photos from the day are on the BAB Lab Instagram. The festival continues at venues across Birmingham this week and we really hope it returns next year as it’s given us lots of ideas!

BAB Lab 2022 – bio art at Loaf

Laurie Ramsell is an artist who works with biological material. Until recently he was a Stirchley resident and became a good friend of Loaf. So when he approached us to be part of his new project we were intrigued and quickly agreed.

BAB Lab 2022 is a series of bio art workshops and talks taking place in Birmingham this August. They will focus on living materials: yeast, flora, clay, fungi, and the human body. The yeast workshop takes place at Loaf and will be our the first time teaching breadmaking as an artistic pursuit!

Laurie is also bringing in practitioners to talk about creative brewing and, most excitingly, using yeast to develop photographic images by selectively exposing them to UV light. You can see some examples of ‘yeastograms’ here.

We’ll have more to share about this nearer the time, but it’s dead exciting. Maybe we’ll be adding yeast art to our courses on offer in the future!

More about BAB Lab.