Tucked away in Rutland, almost in the middle of nowhere, I came across a delightful bakery. Sometimes you smile because you are happy or when you meet someone you know. For me a smile spreads across my face when I see wonderful foods made by skilled people. Hambleton’s Bakery combined the two in a glorious, industrial, quirky, stone built bake house.
I had missed that fact that they had been on TV! It did not surprise me however as the bread range looked superb. Sour dough bread with crust formed over 24 hours and firmed through wood fired baking. Other specialist breads Sourdough Bloomer, Hambleton Local, Wholemeal organic and sweeter nutty Date and Walnut Bread make selecting a loaf somewhat difficult. I bought a Campagne Bloomer made from French Campagne flour and produced by the Poolish method that starts with a wet dough fermented to huge volume and knocked back with more flour and water before final proving. The bread had a long shelf life and lasted us nearly a week, making excellent toast on the final day.
Soft rolls, Manchet, made with an egg enriched dough and handmade muffins sat alongside the breads and next to a spectrum of tarts and cakes that make your mouthwater. I love Eccles Cakes and there they were too. I had to buy some, they were crisp and flaky, moist and fruity, simply sensory perfection.
Mince pies are of similar construction to an Eccles cake and Hambletons created hand formed mince pies that looked in similar proportion to the traditional Eccles but even more rounded, bursting with tasty fruit filling. I saw the secret weapon used to produce these ball shaped pies, a gleaming ice cream scoop! It formed the perfect ball of filling which was swiftly deposited on circles of puff pastry. The Bakery Chefs then hand formed the mince pie, deftly adding a pretty star shape to decorate them.
Tarts such as Lemon Tart, Treacle Tart and Fruit tarts added to the Bakery range.
Breadmaking using the Chorleywood process has enabled quickly produced bread. We teach the rapid fermentation method in schools to enable use to let the children make bread within a food technology lesson. Hambleton’s use slow fermentation methods up to 24 hours. Long dough development enables more bio-availability of minerals such as potassium, iron and zinc. The GI of the bread is also lower than factory produced breads.
I came across Hambleton’s Exton Bakery whilst visiting friends staying in Rutland. It made my day.