Fifteen Stories: The bakery at Coombeshead Farm
Words and images by Beth Druce
IN LEWANNICK, NORTH CORNWALL, THERE IS A BAKERY THAT'S CHANGING OUR TASTE FOR BREAD.
Ben Glazer, the baker-in-residence at Coombeshead Farm, listens to jazz while he works. Thelonious Monk and The Cavanaugh Trio, Miles Davies and John and Alice Coltrane. He blasts out the tunes first thing in the morning while he is firing up the oven, ready for the rounds of dough that have been resting, sometimes for up to twenty-eight hours, to go in. “Last week was very Jazz heavy” Glazer tells me when I meet him on a midsummer morning when the bread making process is in full swing; “I really love and cherish that [break of dawn] time of day. Most bakers who I have met are wired slightly differently, we’re kind of a peculiar breed”.
Glazer was invited by Tom Adams (of London's Pitt Cue) to set up a bakery at his farmhouse restaurant and luxury bed & breakfast in Lewannick, Cornwall, which Adams launched in partnership with the chef April Bloomfield, in July last year. Fifteen Cornwall have been longtime supporters of Adams; he featured as a guest chef at the restaurant last year. The opening of Coombeshead bakery was subsequently welcomed, providing an opportunity for Fifteen Cornwall to serve their customers Glazer's bread.
Coombeshead is Foodie with a capital F. Almost everything served is cultivated on site and it is wondrously heavy on vegetables. Mangalitza pigs are reared, butter and yogurt are cultured, and there are conserves, Kombuchas and other fermented foods prepared by the chefs. So it stands to reason that the bakery is a serious bread-making operation, not some flight of fancy conceived on a whim.
Delivered daily to Fifteen Cornwall, the loaves at Coombeshead Farm are made with stoneground flour; stone-milling is the most basic way of extracting flour and is a method that dates back 5000 years to the discovery of the wheel. “Although the technology has advanced, the process is not dramatically different today" explains Glazer. "You literally just have two massive stones which have grooves in them and they crush the flour together and crush the grain together and then that flour will be sifted into different grains”. Glazer uses flour from Gilchester Organics, a mill situated on the site of a Roman fort in Northumberland that grows and mills heritage grains. “They work with farmers who are growing interesting stuff and trying to unlock those flavours that may have been lost as little as 50 or 60 to 100 years ago” Glazer tells me.
You can read the rest of Beth's article here.
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