A food system strategy for Birmingham?

The draft Birmingham Food System Strategy document came to our attention today. While we haven’t had a chance to digest it (pun not intended) a cursory read shows it covers a lot of the issues Loaf is passionate about. It also features a number of organisations we’ve worked with over the years, which is reassuring.

It’s good to see something like this coming from Birmingham City Council, although that scale means it covers a lot and has some lofty ambitions. The document itself is very clearly presented, so please download it, have a read and if you have views and ideas, put them in the consultation.

We will be watching this with interest and cautious optimism!

Rachel’s Sarehole Mill adventure

As a bakery, Loaf is very lucky to be able to make connections with mills and farms across the country. As you’ve seen in previous newsletters, we are passionate about developing our knowledge of heritage grain and forming bonds with farmers and millers. But you don’t need to travel far to find a mill with some real heritage: Sarehole Mill.

As a person who didn’t grow up in South Birmingham, I was pretty ignorant of the lore around Sarehole Mill — from Matthew Boulton’s metal flattening to it later inspiring Tolkien’s world-building. And despite moving here many years ago I only got around to investigating the nice green areas I would keep hearing about very recently. 

It came about as my wife had recently set herself a goal on the My Virtual Mission app, walking the distance between Paris and Berlin before the end of 2021. Signing up for the Run of The Mill 5k seemed perfect, with the bonus of blowing out some cobwebs from a year spent mostly indoors.

The 5k itself costs £10 to enter. Sarehole Mill is encouraging sponsorship, but it’s not mandatory. You have to start or finish at the Mill, but otherwise you can plan your own route, running, walking or jogging — you just digitally record your distance to show when you collect your medal. 

This obviously opened a whole host of options and gave us lots of room to plan a walk that would explore some new areas. We decided to use the Birmingham Tolkien Trail as our template, taking in the Cole valley and Moseley Bog.

We are also avid Geocachers which, if you are unaware, is a digital treasure hunt that is great for families and walkers. There are boxes hidden in plain site of various sizes and difficulty ratings. When found, these containers hold logbooks which you sign with your name and hide again for someone else to find. 

We have played for many years and there are a few around Sarehole Mill and south Birmingham, which was a great addition to the walk. There are quite a few in Stirchley as well, and they are usually grouped into walks so you can plan to pick up a few en route. 

Afterwards we took a tour of Sarehole Mill itself, and although the water mill is closed for repairs, you can still walk around the mill pond and visit the cafe. The bake house was full of activity as they also sell pizza and there was bread to buy in the shop, which was so great we went back for seconds. 

Run of the Mill continues until the 19th September and, as we seem to still be having some warm weather, I really recommend taking the chance to visit. The Loaf team plans on visiting the mill as soon as we are able and look forward to developing a great relationship in the future.

Places available on our cookery courses this month

Hi everyone, here’s the availability on courses we’re running in June!

Everything else is sold out this month! But if you’d like to join our waiting list you can sign up here:

Subscribe to our courses waiting list

* indicates required

Email Format

Back to School with Loaf

If you’ve not been on a Loaf course but have always fancied it, why not use the changing seasons and new school term time as an excuse to learn a new skill.

We have spaces on several of our courses over the Autumn months including Seafood Masterclass, Handmade Pasta, Pork Butchery and Charcuterie, Sweet Breads and Vennoiserie and Flavour Geography: Thailand, and Chinese Bao and Dumplings (pictured above).

The courses are really enjoyable, informative and hands-on. You’ll be taught by our friendly and experienced in-house experts and passionate guest-tutors. On our courses we also share and enjoy the fruits of our labour and you will never go home hungry! 

We also sell vouchers for courses if you’d like to gift a visit to Loaf Cookery School to a loved one – is it too early to think about Christmas?!

To check the dates and courses available please visit the courses calendar here.

Easter opening times!

It’s almost Easter and we’re in the throes of Hot Cross bun season, it comes round quicker and quicker each year!

As you may already know, we’re offering our Earl Grey flavoured HCB’s right up until Easter, available everyday in our shop.

We’re ramping up the numbers as we get closer to the long weekend, so make sure to take advantage as there’re only 7 baking days til they’re gone! #RIPHCB

We will be taking pre-orders for Good Friday and Saturday (14th & 15th April), just pop into the shop and place and pre-pay for your order.

Please note that we will be closed after Easter for some general maintenance, dates and times are as follows:

Good Friday 14th April – 12-6.30pm (pre-order collection)

Saturday 15th April – 8.15am-1pm (last day for pre-order collection)

Easter Sunday 16th April – CLOSED

Easter Monday 17th April – CLOSED

Tuesday 18th – Friday 21st April – CLOSED

Saturday 22nd April – 8.15am-1pm – open as normal

Rye not?

We started out with our Revolutionary Rye, way back when Tom first started Loaf back in 2009 and it has graced our shelves ever since!

Our recipe was based on Andrew Whitley’s Russian Rye, ours is 100% rye sourdough, topped with toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Why is it revolutionary? (Everybody wants to know!) Mainly because back when Tom started, no one was making a rye sourdough up here in the Midlands at least! Not only that, but he figured given its Russian roots, he’d pay tribute to their revolutionary history…

If you didn’t already know, Rye is a type of grain, low in gluten, high in fibre, protein and most importantly flavour.

Over the years, we’ve played around with rye specials such as the Borodinsky and Volkornbrot, but this year we’ve decided to feature them more frequently, because rye is great, and ‘rye’ not right?

Our Borodinsky is made with a rye starter and flour, malt extract, molasses and caraway seeds for a surprisingly refreshing flavour despite its density! Find it in the shop on TUESDAYS

Our Volkornbrot, is made with a rye starter and flour, chock-full of sunflower seeds, and kibbled rye for lots of texture! Find it in the shop on THURSDAYS

Will you be trying it? Let us know! Tweet or Tag us – we’d love to see how you’re enjoying it!

Don’t forget!

Hi guys!

Don’t forget our opening times for Xmas and New Year!

We’re open from 8.15am – 1pm Friday 23rd (tomorrow), and the same again Saturday 24th.

We’re no longer taking stollen, mince pie or macaron pre-orders as they are already made to order! We will have a selection available to buy on a first come first served basis in our shop both Friday and Saturday.

We sold out within a few hours today so expect a queue and come as early as you can to avoid missing out; we’re working through the night tonight and Friday to make as much as we can (we’ve even roped in Tom off his paternity leave to lend us a hand!) so we hope to disappoint as few people as we possibly can!

You can still purchase books and cookery school vouchers in the shop too!

We’ll be closed from Christmas day until Wednesday 4th January 2017, when we open from 12pm as normal.

Thank you for all your support this year, we can’t do this without you!

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you all! 

Love, Team Loaf x


New dates for courses 2017!

Illustration: www.walternewton.

 The announcement of our Cookery School courses 2017, has been somewhat long awaited by the eager and organised amongst us, so here it is just in time for Xmas!

NEW dates for January-March 2017 are now available for:

– Bread: Back to Basics
– Bread: Simply Sourdough
– Sweet breads and Viennoiserie
– Flavour Geography: South Indian Dosa
– Handmade Pasta
– Macarons

Plus many more!

We’ve worked hard to fit in as many courses as we can, so we hope you’ll find something to suit your needs!

pig butchery Dosa Workshoppasta bread back to basics Seafoodone_new2 sweet breads

If not, why not buy a gift voucher?

You can purchase Cookery School gift vouchers from £1-£150!

Further dates will be staggered throughout 2017.

*Foraging & Earth Oven Building will be available from March.

Lamb & Poultry will be available from February.*

Happy Booking!

*Closing for maintenance!*

We’ll be closed for maintenance from Tuesday 23rd – Tuesday 30th August; opening as normal on Wednesday 31st August.


We’ll be making some improvements throughout our building: in the shop, bakery, cookery school and back of house; very exciting stuff!

We know a lot of you will be alarmed that you won’t be able to get your usual orders (or salt beef – goodness!!); so make sure you stock up in the weeks before. Our bread and sweet stuff freeze brilliantly you know! Just perk them up in the oven once you’ve defrosted them.


Jump onto one of our bread or sourdough courses and make your own! Fresh bread just can’t be beaten can it!

Also, we’ve got the last few places on Lap’s phenomenal Bao course on the 31st; now you can recreate #baohouse at your house!




August in the Cookery School

With it being holiday and vacation season (for you guys and us!) we don’t have as full a course schedule as we normally do; though we have ensured that we’ve got the best coverage of our bread courses to suit most needs, so if you’ve got some time off and have always meant to book on to one – take advantage now!

We’ve got places available on all dates for August:

Bread: Back to Basics – Saturday 6th 9.30am-4pm

Simply Sourdough – Friday 12th 7.30-9.30pm – Saturday 13th 9.30am-1pm

Bread: Back to Basics – Thursday 18th 9.30am-4pm (weekday)

bread selection circle

And we’ve even snuck in a Bao and Chinese Dumpling course with Lap on Wednesday 31st 6.30-9.30pm – we’re always thinking of you!


Popsicle anyone?

Well the weather may be no good for proving sourdough, but it’s perfect for ice cream!

We’re chuffed to be stocking CREAMED POPS, a brand spanking new Birmingham based, small-batch artisan ice cream lolly brand! We rally behind our fellow Brummie food brands, so we just had to have them!

CPops x5 Jordan Ish

All natural ingredients, no artificial preservatives and fresh produce, combined to create a super delicious treat! Their ‘pops’ are fast frozen, meaning their ice cream stays silky smooth, creamy and icicle-free.


We’re currently stocking: Cinnamon Toast, Raspberry Cheesecake, Salted Caramel, Carrot Halva, Pure Origin Chocolate and fast-favourite Vietnamese Coffee.

What flavour will you choose?!

The Birmingham Cook Book!

When we were asked if we wanted to contribute to The Birmingham Cook Book, we jumped at the chance!

Find us, along with many familiar faces on the Birmingham food scene inside!

For our contribution, we’ll give you the secret to making your own sourdough starter and how to make your own sourdough bread; plus our superstar Cookery School tutor Lap-Fai Lee, will share his knock-out recipe for Kung Pow Pastrami Bao (#TBT #BAOHOUSE)


We’ll be selling them in our shop (1421 Pershore Rd, Stirchley) from next weekend – These are limited edition, so be sure to pop in and get your copy – don’t miss out!!

(RRP £14.95)


July in the Cookery School!

We’re coming to the end of June, and our July courses are filling up fast!

What better way to spend an evening or day, than learning great new cooking skills, and more importantly EATING!



  • Kicking off the month with our Earth Oven Building course (now SOLD OUT! But join the mailing list if you want to attend the next one!)
  • We have got places on all our super popular Flavour Geography courses though: Dosa, Sichuan & Bao.
  • Not to mention specialist evening courses on Macarons and Fish with our resident Foodist, Lap-fai Lee!
  • Finishing it off with the final places on our stellar Bread and Sourdough courses – it’s not too late to learn!




We look forward to welcoming you to our school!



Brand new Viennoiserie and Sweet Breads course

take home breads small

On Saturday we held our first Sweet Breads and Viennoiserie course, which by all accounts was a roaring success. I was super nervous about the first one as it’s the first new bread course that I’ve introduced for a couple of years and I didn’t have any jokes lined up about laminating. I needn’t have worried as we had a great room-full of people who were chatty, interested, and by the end of the day, very talented! I just wanted to share a few pictures of the day and encourage you to book on our May dates which still have spaces (14th and 23rd May). The above picture was kindly sent in by Chris Wordsworth when he got home and spread out everything that he’d taken home from the course. The rest are some photos taken on my phone during the day! You can find out more about the course and book online here. TB.

New Loaf Bakery Shop Opens – Sat 26 April

Stirchley Just Got Tastier!

At Loaf  this week there has been a hive of activity.  We have done a complete refit of the shop and are introducing some new editions – including weekday takeaway lunches, and a small selection of cookery equipment, specialist cookery ingredients and local produce to buy. We’ll also be selling  our usual selection of speciality bread and cakes . Thanks to a fantastic team of staff and volunteers the new & improved Loaf Bakery Shop re-opens tomorrow – Saturday 26th April 2014. Particular thanks goes to Tom, Sarah, Nancy, Andy, Jordan, Mike, Alasdair, Russ, Walter and Jane for all your hard work. You’re amazing!

Below you’ll find out what’s new, discover our new opening hours and salivate at this week’s takeaway lunch menu – changing every week. We hope you like the look of the new shop too, with much of our furniture made from reclaimed palettes and recycled materials….

New Loaf Bakery Shop Refit  New Loaf Bakery Refit

New Loaf Bakery Refit Tom Making Tea for the Workers


New Loaf Bakery Shop Opens – Saturday 26 April 2014

So here’s what we’ve got on offer. Pop in to discover what’s new….

New Loaf Bakery Shop. Designer: Kerry Leslie


New Opening Hours

Tuesday – Friday: 12 – 6.30pm

Saturday: 8.15am – 1pm

Tuesdays – Fridays: Takeaway lunches, from 12noon


Weekday Takeaway Lunch Menu

Tuesday 29 April  to Friday 2 May 2014, from 12 noon

Tuesday – Daal with sourdough;  Baked ham & mature cheese croissant.

Wednesday – Herb & mushroom Frittata with green salad;  Baked ham & mature cheese croissant.

Thursday – Rosso Pomodoro Soup with sourdough;  Baked ham & mature cheese croissant.

Friday – Spinach, artichoke & chilli goats cheese pizza;  Spicy ‘Nduja sausage, mozzarella  & parmesan pizza.

We will also have brewed coffee and loose leaf teas to takeaway.

Brewed cofee and loose leaf tea to takeaway


Pick up a Loyalty Card

We like to reward our regular customers with the Loaf Loyalty Card, to enable you to collect “˜Loaf’ stamps and redeem a free loaf of bread!

You’ll get your last loaf in a baker’s dozen on us

when you buy 12 loaves, you’ll get the 13th free!*

Ask at the till. Subject to terms and conditions – details on the card*.

Loaf Loyalty Card

We look forward to seeing you soon!

The Loaf Team