We have put together two gift packages for the Christmas season.
Here is some more information to help you choose the perfect present for your favourite cook or baker.
The Cook’s Collation at £75
This selection of lasting, useful gifts contains a signed copy of DO Sourdough: Slow bread for busy lives, along with an original Bread Matters sourdough starter. This dried starter (taken from the Russian rye starter that Andrew brought back from Russia in 1990, will make it even easier for your favourite cook to add a little sourdough magic to his or her repertoire.
Of course, DO Sourdough also has full, myth-busting instructions for making your own sourdough starter, ( with no nonsense about throwing some away, daily ‘feeding’ etc). Everyone finds a plastic scraper or two indispensable for their breadmaking, so we’ve included those too.
We have included some high-quality organic textiles in the set. There is a linen tea towel, measuring approximately 60cm x 60cm. This lint-free linen is washable at high temperatures and does not stretch out of shape. Use it to dry china and glass to a shine, to wrap or cover food or to present your finest home-baking on.
Next out of the Cook’s Collation is a large square of fine organic muslin. We use these squares to cover sauerkraut or kimchi whilst it is fermenting, to strain jellies and to wrap food in. The fine muslin is particularly good for covering cheese in a larder (so much better than putting it in the fridge).
The set includes a small baking tin. The shape of this tin has helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people to make a really successful rye loaf since Andrew started using it, in baking and in teaching. The high sides and narrow breadth of the tin make it easy to get a tall, impressive loaf that does not sag across the top or the middle.
Then there are four crumpet rings. These are ideal for making the sourdough crumpet recipe from DO Sourdough. Poached eggs on crumpets are a favourite of ours; a great Boxing Day breakfast.
Last but not least comes possibly the sharpest and most useful knife you could give to a keen cook. The K1 is a carbon (not stainless) steel knife, which enables it to have an exceptionally finely-ground blade that will retain its sharpness, only ever needing a quick freshening of the cutting edge on a steel or a whetstone. The K1 will be packed inside its own box.
The Cook’s Collation will be packed in a box made from recycled cardboard, lined with green tissue paper and packed with ‘wood wool’.
These items bought individually cost £84.19.
NB if you would like the Cook’s Collation sent to a different address from your own, please make this clear on your order. We will make sure that the recipient gets the gift and you get the receipt.
The Baker’s Box at £80
This gift for the keen baker begins with a signed copy of Bread Matters, packed in its own box with an original sourdough starter (dried) tucked inside.
Next out of the box comes a couche cloth for proving bâtards or baguettes. This length of cloth is designed to support a soft dough during proof. The risen dough is removed from the cloth for baking on a tray or stone or directly on the oven bottom. (Traditional French artisan bakeries don't use tins or trays at all: all their dough is proved on couches and baked on the hearth of their wood-fired ovens.)
We chose this unbleached cotton carefully. Its texture is ideal – firm enough to support the dough, yet soft enough to form shapely 'gutters', and with an open weave that allows sufficient air flow to reduce condensation (and therefore sticking). It’s also organic and therefore free from residues of the many pesticides used in non-organic cotton production.
Most bakers will want to make some yeasted breads as well as sourdoughs, so there are four small packets of organic yeast in this box.
Another way for the baker to impress is to give the loaf a special finish by proving it in a specially-moulded proving basket. The basket in this set has a celtic knot motif indented into it. The pattern will stand slightly proud on the risen loaf. It can be made more prominent by carefully dusting the indentations with a contrasting colour of flour or seeds (e.g. poppy seeds) before placing the dough in the basket.
Whether using the couche cloth or the proving basket, the baker will want to ‘slash’ the dough for a professional finish, using the small paring knife from the Baker’s Box.
The perfect loaf deserves to be cut with a good knife. What better than this handcrafted Robert Herder bread knife? The knife has a scalloped, rather than a serated, edge. The shapely beechwood handle is secured with aluminium rivets to the blade’s long shaft. (A sure sign of a well-crafted knife is how far the metal blade extends into the handle.) The result is a sharp and light weight bread knife that is easy to use and comfortable to hold. Used with a sawing action and very little downward pressure, it will not drag and tear the bread and will always produce a clean cut with hardly any crumbs.
These items bought individually cost £89.35.
NB if you would like the Baker’s Box sent to a different address from your own, please make this clear on your order. We will make sure that the recipient gets the gift and you get the receipt.