Stoneham Bakehouse has continued to grow over the last few months, with more places to buy our bread, and a series of successful workshops for those who want to learn how to bake their own loaves. We have also been lucky over the last few months to receive funding for a number of projects, and some of these will be starting in the autumn. Read more about how you can get involved in this update.
As you know Stoneham Bakehouse has the wellbeing of the community as a central ethos, and that includes the bakers who produce our great community baked bread. With this in mind we will be taking our summer break at the start of August (1-14 August). The break will give the team time to recharge the batteries, and prepare for the hard work ahead of us.
Plot 22 is a fabulous community allotment on the Weald Allotment site north of Old Shoreham Road. We’ve recently run a couple of workshops there (funded by a Good Food Grant from the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership), baking in their wood fired oven. In September we will be running a couple more workshops focussing on the way baking and gardening can be beneficial to wellbeing. If you’re interested, please check out Plot 22’s website for details.
We’re in the process of drawing up a menu of workshops for the autumn months, and this will be published as soon as the last details are confirmed. Do let us know if there are workshops you’d be interested in seeing us offer.
Finally, as Stoneham Bakehouse gets bigger, with more of the community wanting to be involved (whether as bakers or bread buyers), and as our work in the community using breadmaking to support wellbeing is increasingly becoming recongnised by others, we’re looking to expand. Our current ‘itinerant bakers’ status, baking in my home, Pizzaface, and The Hive, has been a great way to get started, but as we look to the future we need our own space. Somewhere where we can bring a bread oven to the heart of our community.
We’ve been keeping our eyes open and ears to the ground, but so far we haven’t found the right thing. So, we’re looking for a helping hand from our community. Do you know of a space you can see us pop up in? Have you a link to someone who works in commercial property? We’d love to hear from you with your ideas.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been baking at Plot 22, the local community allotment. It’s great to combine two things which have been very important to me in the last couple of years. The allotment and breadmaking have been very influential in my managing of depression and anxiety. Both offer the chance to be mindful and appreciative of the smaller things. Both allow me to be creative. Both have enabled me to get outside and talk to people and feel part of a community.
The sessions this, and last week, were for volunteers at Plot 22. People who work so hard to keep this allotment looking brilliant; and like me enjoy the peace and tranquility of sowing, digging and weeding. Using their brick wood-fired oven, we baked some great olive oil based breads; enjoying them with delicious salads made from produce from Plot 22. Funded by a Brighton & Hove Food Partnership Good Food Grant, we will be working with Plot 22 again in September, offering more baking for wellbeing sessions for different community groups.
The internet and social media particularly is awash with special days and weeks with hashtags promoting them. Not a week goes by that there isn’t some kind of ‘week’ popping into my, and everyone else’s, newsstream. There are so many of these awareness days that they even have their own website to collate them all. Usually their existence washes over me, but this week is different. This week is both Real Bread Week and Mental Health Awareness Week. I don’t know who schedules these things, but for me it’s no coincidence the two awareness weeks that Stoneham Bakehouse is most aligned with are the same week.
It is through my own struggles with depression and anxiety that I found real bread, and it’s baking real bread that helps me to manage my mental health. From the dark moments when, quite frankly, I was not sure how I could carry on, to today when the black dog of depression is sighted less frequently, working with dough is therapy for me. Not to say it’s the only thing; I’d still be a wreck without the amazing support of my family and friends. The thing is, baking has led to meeting amazing people who really care. Really care about me, but also really care about the community, and about giving people the chance to enjoy real honest bread. Yes, the act of baking is a mindful one. You can be in the moment and take notice of the way the dough changes as you knead, take time as it rises and becomes a silken pillow ready for shaping. But here’s the difference with Stoneham Bakehouse, whilst that happens we are connecting with others, forming bonds, making something to collectively be proud of. It really does make a difference. It makes me happy.
Domino, one of our bakers, puts it like this:
Everything about Stoneham Bakehouse makes me feel better. The actual breadmaking – creating something delicious from a few ingredients, the process of mixing and kneading, the waiting. But also the companionship of other volunteers, meeting the public when we sell bread, doing something with the community. And I love feeding my kids something I have baked – both of them pounce on a Stoneham Bakehouse loaf the minute they see it.
So, coincidence or not, I want to celebrate the fact that these two weeks are raising awareness of two such fundamental things in my, and others’, lives.
It’s Real Bread Week from today until the 22nd May. Organise by the Real Bread Campaign, the week celebrates and promotes real bread made from the simplest of ingredients (namely flour, salt, yeast and water).
During the week we’ll be baking with some of the children of Hove Junior School; using work with dough to support wellbeing. Stoneham Bakehouse will also have a stall at the Hove Farmers’ Market on Saturday 21st May. So grab yourself some Real Bread from your local community supported bakery.
Some of you may have seen this article featured in the local news the other day. As you know, the therapeutic benefits of baking, are core to the Bakehouse’s vision. We want people to enjoy great healthy bread; but also to enable the community to experience the calming effects of working with dough, or the benefits to self esteem of baking with others.
We’re pleased to announce that we’re going to be running some workshops with a focus on rye and olive oil based doughs. Feedback from our popular Everyday Bread workshop has suggested people want to learn about more specialist breads as well as the basics. So, as your community supported bakery, we have responded and will be running four workshops throughout June and July. Starting at midday and finishing before 3pm, the sessions will be suitable for newcomers to breadmaking, as well as those with a little experience.
Easy Rye Breads
In this rye based workshop, we’ll look at the differences between rye and wheat based doughs. We’ll make crispbreads and a yeasted loaf, as well as enjoying a smorgesbord style lunch.
Olive Oil Breads
Olive oil is a constituent of many Mediterannean breads, and during this workshop we’ll make grissini, fougasse, and some sweet rosemary enfused buns. We’ll also share a light lunch whilst the dough rises.
One of the reasons for Stoneham Bakehouse starting was to spread the word about how breadmaking can benefit our wellbeing; to give something to the community. Over the last year or so we’ve baked with lots of people; as volunteers, as workshop attendees, on funded projects, many people have been able to experience some ‘dough therapy’. As a Community Interest Company we want to give back to the community, to reinvest our profits in projects that benefit the wider area. The other day we were really pleased to be able to fund a session at Hangleton & West Blatchington Food Bank. We baked simple flatbreads which could be eaten as they are, or even turned into pizzas.
So, thank you. Thank you to all those who bought bread, came to a workshop, or just enthusiastically followed our journey so far. Without your support we wouldn’t be able to give back to the community like this, and I’m very proud of you all for helping create a project like this which can have such an impact. Thank you.
After our short, unscheduled, Easter break we’re back baking as normal next week. We’ll be baking to order on Friday 15th April and Saturday 16th April; and our bread will be available to buy or eat at Curiosity Kitchen & Deli, as well as The Hive.
With our new bike up and running it means we can not only deliver our breadmaking and wellbeing sessions at Hop 50+, but also get our breads to our wholesale partners quicker than before. If you know of any businesses which would enjoy our breads, please do recomend us.
We’ve got a couple of new dates for our popular Everyday Bread workshops. Held at The Hive on the corner of Stoneham Park, the workshops are an ideal introduction to baking your own bread at home. During the evening, we’ll prepare dough from scratch, making a couple of different breads, as well as enjoying a seasonal light meal together. Come as an individual and learn with other members of the community, or grab a few mates and make an evening of it together.
After the success of our Hot Cross Bun workshop, we’re also looking to put on some other specific breadmaking workshops. Maybe you want to learn to make bagels, or perhaps its rye bread you’d like to master. Let us know and we’ll try and get a workshop to match your wishes.
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, we’re unable to bake for the next couple of weeks. We apologise for any inconvenience this will cause you and assure you we’re making every effort to resolve the problem as soon as we can.
Despite not be able to bake our usual bread, we’re still able to lead our Bread Talk sessions at Hop 50+ next week. The Elephant Bike has now arrived (thanks everyone that voted for us at Brighton Soup), so Simon will be cycling down to Palmeira Square on Monday to work with a group, baking and chatting to support wellbeing.
Thank you for your support. We’ll be back baking as soon as we can.