Autumn Course Highlight

We’re getting ready for our Autumn season of courses!

Some of the courses we have during the upcoming months *only* run at this time of year. In particular: Pork Butchery and Charcuterie with our expert tutors Lap-fai Lee and Steve from Rossiter’s organic butchers in Bournville.

This day-long course will take you through options for creating amazing charcuterie, as well as fresh pork dishes, from almost every part of the pig. You’ll also be creating your own pork lunch for a feast in the middle of the day.

The next Pork Butchery and Charcuterie course is on Thursday 26th October in our dedicated cookery school on Stirchley High Street.

Take a look at our full courses calendar to discover what new skills you can learn in the upcoming cosy season:

Photo by Lap!


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.

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!

Thursday Night is Dosa Night (30th July 2015)

For a couple of years we have run a fantastic Dosa-making masterclass with Haseen George of Pop Up Dosa, but unbelievably we have never yet run a dosa pop-up at Loaf. That all changes this Thursday. Check out the flyer below and please share widely! p.s. We have a couple of spaces left on the next Dosa masterclass on the 4th August – book online here:

30th July dosa flyer


Sober Kebab Shop – 29th March, 6.30-8.30pm

After the great success of last months noodle shop take away (Get your noodle out) at the cookery school door, we’re doing it all over again, this time with kebabs. For one night only Loaf HQ will turn into a kebab house, check out the menu below. Chilli sauce??

Stirchley CANeat, oh boy can it eat.

We’ve had some great pop-up dining experiences at Loaf from the uber-rammed burger night just before opening in September, the Pizza night shortly after, the intimate pig-out in October, the amazing Popstrami Redux in December, and most recently Stirchley Brewhouse last Saturday. Some of these will no doubt make a return in 2013, along with some other exciting one-off’s but I wanted to draw your attention to a regular eating opportunity that will be happening here very soon:

Stirchley CANeat is a regular, intimate dining experience with a set menu advertised in advance. We’ve got a fantastic team of food enthusiasts together to put this on, spearheaded by Dom (our breadchef), Vic (his better half), and Lap (our fish Sensai). I don’t really need to say any more as it’s so good we’ve given it it’s own blog. Please check out, and if you’re on twitter follow updates and menu-releases at @can_eat. Go book a table, first date is 28th Feb.

Seven brand new courses: Kitchen Essentials

2013 should be a fab year for Loaf, and we’ve decided to kick it off with a great new series of short workshops called Kitchen Essentials. Taught by our talented baker and chef Dom Clarke, these workshops are aimed at improving your basic cooking skills and helping you to be confident and efficient around the kitchen. Priced at just £30 each (except for cooking meat which is £40) they’ll make a great Christmas gift for a loved one, we’ll even print you a voucher with a personal message on if you wish. You can find the full details of the workshops in the shop along with online booking, but see our brief outline of the courses below:



Kitchen Essentials One: Knife SkillsTuesday 22nd January 7-9pm
Don’t know your julienne from your chiffonade or your paring knife from your boning knife? This is the course for you!  From the basics of choosing the right knife for the right task, to keeping your knives in tip-top condition, and chopping our way to some delicious dishes along the way!

Kitchen Essentials Two: Stocks and SaucesTuesday 29th January, 7-9pm
There are as many sauces in the world as there are chefs, but this Stocks and Sauces workshop will give you an introduction to the building blocks of some of the classics. We’ll explore both Asian and Western sauces and share some delicious treats throughout the evening.

Kitchen Essentials Three: Eggs – Tuesday 12th February, 7-9pm
Eggs are one of natures most simple yet beautiful foods, incredibly versatile but surprisingly difficult to cook right. On this two-hour workshop we’ll whisk, scramble, omelette, poach two ways, turn into delicious sweet tarts and a classic egg-based sauce.

Kitchen Essentials Four: Cooking VegetablesTuesday 26th February, 7-9pm
Vegetables are the delicious encapsulation of sunshine. For too many years they have played second fiddle to meat, but no more!! On this fantastic Kitchen Essentials: Cooking Vegetables workshop you’ll learn how to bring out those fantastic flavours locked up inside veg, and put them out front on a pedestal, where they belong.

Kitchen Essentials Five: Flavour Geography – Tuesday 12th March, 7-9pm
Lamb and rosemary, tomato and basil, peas and ham, ginger and spring onion, duck and orange. There’s a reason why some flavour combinations have stood the test of time and are now considered classic. On this educational two hour workshop you’ll learn the origins of some favourite combinations, cook some fantastic dishes from around the world, and gain the confidence to improvise with flavours in your own kitchen.

Kitchen Essentials Six: Beans, Pulses & Grains – Tuesday 19th March, 7-9pm.
So versatile but so often overlooked, this Kitchen Essentials workshop will teach you how to make the best of beans, pulses and grains. Perfect for these austere times, beans and pulses are cheap, nutritious, and if you cook them well, absolutely delicious.

Kitchen Essentials Seven: Cooking Meat – Tuesday 26th March, 7-9pm
Meat is an increasingly precious foodstuff in todays world, it’s becoming even more important to eat less but better meat, and cook well with it, wasting as little as possible. But what to do with it? Roast, braise, griddle, fry, steam, barbecue, or grill? Low and slow or hot and fast? On the bone or off the bone? Our fantastic two-hour Kitchen Essentials: Cooking Meat workshop will answer all of these questions and more.

Loaf HQ progress part 4

Sorry it’s been a while since the last update and LOADS has happened. We’re very close to getting the shop keys now (this Thursday), and then it will be full speed ahead getting our equipment in and shelves and units up to start taking customers as soon as possible (give us a shout if you can help!!!). We’ve pencilled in an open day for the 8th september – stay peeled to the blog for updates. Also, we’re hoping they’ll be a sneak-preview pop-up a bit sooner than that too. Nod nod wink wink.

Well all the plastering’s finished, it’s been painted and most of the electrics and plumbing is complete. Flooring goes down this week and a bit of tidying up and touching up paintwork etc then it’s ours! I’ve taken loads of photos but here’s three views below. First up this is the rear corridor looking towards the cookery school dining room and cookery school at the front. This isn’t really a public area apart from if you’re looking for the loo, but it’s nice and bright and Jane has been busy potting up plants to green it up a bit!

Next this is the Stirchley Stores shop looking from the back wall towards the shop front. You can just see the bottom of some new light fittings. These will soon be adorned with gorgeous green enamel shades from our pal Harry Starling who also supplied the retro wires and ceiling roses etc.


Finally here’s the new shop front for Stirchley Stores and the bakery. Actually this was taken a few days ago and the glass is now complete and it’s been nicely varnished. Smart!

Loaf HQ progress part 3

The cookery school has now been plastered, but we’re waiting for the acoustic solution on the ceiling to be sorted so there’s no ceiling yet – should be starting to go up next week. Here’s 4 pics from the four corners of the main cookery school room, it’s quite hard to photograph.
















And here’s the original tiled floor from when this shop was a butchers (40+ years ago). I think it will scrub up nice:












They’ve also made the opening to the new accesible loo this week. Its the opening to the left of this pic, with the one straight on heading into the dining room and then the cookery school.














Loaf HQ Progress – Part 2

So it’s definitely still a building site, but I thought i’d share a couple more photos of the new shop. It’s really hard to photograph, I need a wide angle lens I think. Anyway, here’s a shot from the front of the Stirchley Stores shop with the hole through to the Loaf bakery at the back:

As you can see it’s going to be quite narrow at the front (the blue boarding on the left is due to the new stairs that service the upstairs flats), but opens up towards the back. Here’s a view from the bakery opening looking back towards the front:

The new shop front should be going on in about 3 weeks I think, towards the end of the build.

Here’s the bakery plastered (the hole being drilled is for the extraction above the oven):

And here’s the proof it’s all getting real:

Shaping a boule – video

Have been playing around with a posh camera (not mine) that does HD video, a lot of fun. I decided to shoot this short video with the camera mounted on a tripod whilst I shaped some boule (classic round shaped) sourdough loaves. I may have messed around with the speeding up and slowing down of the film a bit, hope it doesn’t make you too dizzy. instructions on screen during the video, but feel free to ask questions in the comments too. Enjoy!

p.s. Here’s what the finished loaves look like the next day:

Loaf HQ – coming soon in 2012

I just wanted to write a quick blog post before I finish for Christmas to let you know our plans for the New Year. If you follow us on Twitter you’ll know by now that we have signed a contract for a lease on a new premises on our local high street in Stirchley, south Birmingham. This is great news as we’ve been operating from Jane’s and my house for 2 years now, and we’re bursting at the seams!

The property (pictured right) has been recently purchased by Everards the brewer, with the purpose of Loaf being their tenant at the building. the new Loaf HQ will be the first premises established as part of Everards’s ‘Project Artisan’ – an innovative scheme to purchase and then lease out buildings suitable for artisan food and drink businesses that need to expand, initiated by Everards after the success of their project to convert pubs for micro-breweries (Project Willam). Everards investment in the property means that Loaf can take on a bigger and more suitable premises than we otherwise could have done and we are very grateful that they came along when they did. We’re currently waiting on planning permission for the conversion of the premises, and there will then be 2 months of building work to complete. This means we are hoping to be in the new place by late March or April.

What will the new place do?

Loaf has been running a community bakery and cookery school for two years now, and the new premises is primarily an expansion of those – there will be a 12-person cookery school on site (visible from the pavement!), as well as a bakery producing a range of real bread for Stirchley and the surrounding area. They’ll also be a retail space, which Loaf is giving to South Birmingham Food Co-operative to run as a joint space. They will be selling our bread in the shop, alongside store cupboard essentials, wholefoods, and eco cleaning products etc – all ethically sourced and fairly priced.

Bread Bonds

Everards are investing in the refurbishment of the property, which is an enormous help, and means we only need to buy the equipment we need and fit it into the property when we’re handed the keys. We need to raise around £25,000 to kit out the bakery and cookery school. In January we will be doing a ‘bread bond’ issue which we hope will raise the majority of that cash. We are looking for people interested in buying ‘loanstock’ – essentially a £1000 loan to Loaf for 3 years. During the 3 years, bread bond holders will get an interest rate on their loan, which instead of being paid in cash will be paid in the equivalent value in bread. At the end of three years, the bread bond holder get’s their £1000 back. If this is something that might interest you and you’d like to be included in the bond issue or would like more details please email me at – I won’t be answering emails until after the new year, but I’m guessing you’ll be pretty busy too, and i’ll be in touch asap after new year.

There’ll be plenty of updates next year as the project progresses, so keep your eyes peeled to the blog or twitter for all the latest. In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, Peace,