Frequently Asked Questions
How long can I keep Long Crichel bread for?
All our bread keeps very well, if properly stored, it will keep for up to a week or in some cases longer (the Rye Sourdough keeps for two weeks if stored in the right conditions). Think of all the wonderful things you can use older bread for in the kitchen and as the mainstay of a meal. Toast after all is only really good made with older bread. Then you can make breadcrumbs, croutons, melba toast and eggy bread. There are bread soups and bread salads. And there is a vast range of recipes for delicious puddings made with bread.
The conception of fresh bread has been hugely distorted in recent years by the advertising media of the large industrial bakeries. This is because this rapidly and mass produced bread contains additives, and, in particular enzymes whose function is to keep the bread soft. This soft squiggy moistness has nothing to do with freshness. Our bread does not contain any additives and therefore it ages. After a few days the bread does become drier but its flavour does not deteriorate at all. The perception of bread being stale the moment it has dried out slightly, just doesn’t apply to our bread, or for that matter to any properly made bread.
How should I store my Long Crichel bread?
Bread storage: bins made from a semi porous material like wood or unglazed clay are best, metal and plastic prevent the bread from 'breathing' and encourage the growth of mould. Cotton bags or even paper bags are good provided they are stored in cool, but not too cold, place. Plastic or metal bins are unsympathetic to bread. Do not store bread in the refrigerator as this actually encourages the aging process. Our bread freezes well, but it is only worth doing if you want to store it for more than 5 days. Placing the bread in a moderate oven for a few minutes- until is heated through can always revive bread. The crust will regain its crispness and the crumb will become soft again. A word of warning, however, once you have heated it through, you need to eat your bread quickly. So just heat up as much as you think you want. If you have forgotten your bread and it has become really dry, give it a generous sprinkle with water before heating it.
Can I freeze bread?
Yes. It is best to freeze it when it is as fresh as possible. It keeps for months in a freezer.
I like bread with a crisp, crunchy crust, which bread should I chose and will the crust stay crunchy?
If you have them when they have just come out of the oven, or a few hours later our bread will be incredibly crisp and crunchy. The Long Crichel White, the Long fermentation White, the Campagne, the Auvergne, the Malted 5 Seed, the Olive and Rosemary, the Kamut, all have wonderful crusts. If the atmosphere is moist by the end of the day during which they were baked, they will start to lose their crispness. Popping them in a moderate oven at home for a few minutes can always salvage this. As a rule the Sourdough bread has a thicker crisp crust, which, as the bread ages, acts as a natural wrapping to keep the crumb moist inside for longer. The yeasted bread has a thinner crispier crust.
These days I can only manage soft bread, my teeth just cannot cope with crusts, which of your bread would suit me?
Most of our bread is crusty. The easiest solution is to just cut off the crusts! The softest bread inside is the Long Crichel White yeasted bread or the wholemeal yeasted bread whose crust is anyhow quite soft. The fruit bread has quite a soft crust. On the whole, the yeasted bread has a thinner crust than the Sourdough and it is easier to chew. The Rye Sourdough is an exception, it does not have a crunchy crust when very fresh but it does get a bit drier and harder as it ages.
What is Sourdough? Is it sour?!
Sourdough or leaven (levain in French) is a sort of runny dough, which contains a culture of natural or 'wild' yeast. Initially, a mixture of flour and water is made to which some organic, unwashed fruit can be added (in our case they were grapes grown at Long Crichel) and the mixture starts to ferment. This is due to the naturally occurring yeast, which is found on the grain, in the air, and on the fruit.Unlike the Californian sour dough breads our sour dough is not sour. It tastes more like many French sourdoughs; there is a hint of acidity.
Gluten? What is it?
Gluten is the protein element found in the grain of all the family of grasses: wheat including kamut and spelt (which are ancient forms of wheat), barley, oats and rye. It is the gluten in the flour which, when mixed with water gives the dough its elasticity.
Is any of our bread gluten free? What about bread that is low in gluten?
None of our bread is gluten-free. However rye flour is very low in gluten. Many people who previously thought they had intolerance to gluten find that they enjoy eating our bread, and not only the rye but the other sourdough bread and even the yeasted bread as well. We believe that this due to the high quality of our organic ingredients and to the process of long fermentation of the dough, which means that by the time our bread has been baked, the gluten has been transformed.
Is any of our bread suitable for coeliacs?
No. A true coeliac cannot tolerate gluten. All the flour we use contains gluten to a greater or lesser degree so our bread is not suitable for coeliacs.
Is any of your bread wheat-free?
The rye bread is our only totally wheat-free bread. It is made with 100% rye flour using a sourdough culture that is made with rye as well. The ingredients are just rye flour, salt and water.We also make bread from kamut and spelt flour but both of these contain a small amount of wheat, which comes from the wheat in the sour dough leaven.
What is Spelt?
Spelt is an ancient variety of wheat apparently used by the Romans. It has not been hybridised. It is a soft grain and lower in gluten than most varieties of modern wheat. The spelt we use is wholemeal flour and therefore high in vitamins, oils as well as fibre.
What is Kamut?
Kamut is a brand name for a type of flour produced only in the US from the 1950s until a couple of years ago. It is now grown in Europe as well. The story goes that the origins of "kamut" wheat are from Ancient Egypt and that an American airman rediscovered the grain in Portugal in the 1950s and on his return home he grew it and sold it as "kamut" flour! According to John Lister of Shipton Mill, "Kamut is a type of wheat whose correct name is "khorasan", (triticum turgidum ssp turanicum), which together with the Durum wheats are descendents of Emmer. Research reveals that far from originating in Egypt it appears that Khorason probably originated from a region in Northern Iran."We have stuck with the name Kamut, even though, strictly speaking, this is incorrect. Most people find it easier to digest than wheat and it is invaluable to those on a wheat free or low gluten diet.
What is Rye bread?
Our 100% Rye Sourdough is made simply from Rye flour, A Rye Sourdough culture and salt. Many of our customers really enjoy the flavour of our rye bread, it is dark and sticky and it keeps particularly well. Many people enjoy it even more when it is toasted. Rye belongs to the same family of grasses as wheat but the gluten content of the grain is much lower. Most people find it easier to digest than wheat and it is invaluable to those on a wheat free or low gluten diet.
Which bread is high in Fibre?
All of our wholemeal breads are particularly high in fibre: the wheat wholemeal Sourdough and the wheat Yeasted Wholemeal Sourdough, the Rye sourdough (100% Rye) and the Kamut Sourdough, the Malted 5 Seed Sourdough is also high in fibre it is made with partly wholemeal and partly from white flour and then there are lots of grains and seeds added to the dough. The Auvergne is like a brown bread because it is a mixture of 65% white wheat flour and 35% wholemeal Rye. The Raisin and Walnut Bread, which is made from the same dough, has increased fibre because of the addition of the nuts and fruit
What is the difference between white and wholemeal flour?
We use organic Canadian flour from Shipton Mills. It is strong flour, high in gluten which is roller milled. In the process all the husk (bran) and wheat germ is removed.
Wholemeal Stone Ground Flour
We use Shipton or Stoates wholemeal flour both are stone ground. As the name indicates wholemeal flour contains the Whole grain and therefore includes all the oils and vitamins contained in the wheat germ and bran.
We hear of American, Canadian and French wheat. Is there any English wheat?
Yes there is. However, the low gluten levels in English wheat make it unsuitable making the white loaves so popular in England. Therefore wheat for white flour has been imported from Canada for centuries. More recently our millers are using wheat from Russia. French wheat is softer than Canadian and Russian. It isn't widely available in the UK, perhaps this is habit on the part of millers and bakers, or simply the French use most of their domestic production!
Does your bread contain any fat, oil, or dairy products?
As a rule we do not add any fats or oils or dairy products to our bread. Some of the special bread contains butter and milk e.g. the Pain Marin and the Apple and Raisin Bread. We do not use palm oil in any form in any of our bread or cakes. We brush the tins with a very small amount of organic deodorised sunflower oil. Otherwise there is no oil added to any of our regular range of bread.