I was asked by a local chef about a Liverpool Loaf, something relevant to Liverpool. Now this is a hard thing to do, although in the past Liverpool would have been littered with bakeries all baking fresh real bread, the likelihood of them baking something distinct to Liverpool is quite low. Traditional British style baking? Certainly, but a loaf that is distinct to Liverpool? I’m not sure. Distinct dishes like Scouse spring to mind, but through some provisional research finding traditional Liverpool bread was hard.
This took me down a different path, rather than working on something traditoinal, some reinvention of an old recipe, I wanted to make something relavent to present day Liverpool. This made me think about what was on offer, in Liverpool, what ingredients could I use that came from Liverpool?
Firstly I settled on some local produce we stock in the bakery, post code honey, produced from bee hives dotted all over the city, it’s a great product, that comes entirley from within Liverpool. It changed with the seasons, and varies greatly depending on which post code the hives are located in.
Secondly, I chose a waste product of another local producer, spent grain from the brewing process. The nearby Baltic Fleet pub, brews its own real ales and regularly has spend grain available. This is the malt, after it is been heated in water to remove some of the sugars for the brewing process. As far as brewing goes, its a product that has served its purpose.
I’ve combined these ingredeients, 5% honey and 20% spent grain (by bakers percentage) into a sourdough. With a 3 hour bulk with one fold, followed by shaping and cold proving overnight.
This produces a loaf with sweetness from the honey accopanied by the maltyness from the grains. The honey also softens the crumb slightly, giving the bread many varying uses. Depending on what honey we use or which beer is being brewed at the Baltic Fleet, this bread changes throughout the year.
Is this a Liverpool loaf? I don’t t know, I don’t think there's any bread that could really represent our fair city, but it uses some great local produce and further extends the wast of another producer. I’m happy with it.
*Update: I realise that this post doesn't have any pics, because I've failed to take any of the final bread or process, I'll try and rectify this sometime soon.