Our January meeting was held at St Catherine’s House, on the Tickhill Road Hospital site in Balby near Doncaster. This is a magnificent Victorian building with beautiful plaster ceilings and rooms that have recently been fully restored.
The building was once the Trust Headquarters for the Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, but was recently taken over by Flourish Enterprises, a not-for-profit Community interest company who, as well as providing domiciliary care, runs gardens, conferences and cafes on the St Catherine’s site.
Prior to our business meeting, we had a presentation from Emma Hall, from the Welbeck Bakehouse, which specialises in artisan breads and patisserie. All the breads are produced by the sourdough process, with no added improvers or preservatives. This means that the bread is totally natural and organic, and is Soil Association Approved. It also means that it takes seven days for a batch of bread to reach the oven. Emma explained that some bakers produce bread that is only part sourdough added to a normal bread mix in order to speed up the process.
Welbeck bread comprises flour, water, salt and natural yeasts, which is formed into a starter culture and held at 38°C. Every day, the culture is fed by adding more water and flour. Finally, it is shaped, proved and baked in a traditional brick oven.
To keep food miles down, the Bakehouse sources ingredients from other producers on the Welbeck Estate. Beer for the Christmas Puddings comes from the Estate brewery, and cheese comes from the Estate farm. The flour is from the local miller, and they use a combination of Wheat and Rye flours to get different textures.
Emma brought samples of sliced tin loaves, a four seed sourdough boule, ciabatta, croissants and pain au chocolat. Needless to say, these did not last long.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals are trialling the bread as part of their Gold Food for Life, and the initial response has been good.
Our February meeting was held in Derby, at the offices of Easiyo. Here, we had a presentation from Bryan Griffin, National Account Manager. Easiyo supplies bags of milk powder and culture that are added to water and left overnight in a heated container – provided by Easiyo – before portioning and storing under refrigeration. The resulting yoghurt product has a 14-day shelf life and is gluten free, Halal and vegetarian certified, and is also Soil Association approved. Three yogurt varieties are available – natural, low fat and greek style – and Easiyo also provides a wide range of fruit pulps and toppings, as well as portion pots. In addition, Easiyo produce a range of cheesecake and mousse mixes.
Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber Trust are currently trialling the products in their retail areas and report that it is proving very successful, particularly when combined with granola. The ambient storage of the powder base and ease of preparation, together with a long shelf life when made up, has dramatically improved stock control.
Many thanks to all at Easiyo for making us feel so welcome and providing refreshments.