Pondering a Locovore Bakehouse

“Do one thing well – it’s enough.”

We’ve been looking at incremental reductions  we could make to avoid waste of our bread  (see this blog pondering a zero waste bakehouse) and have now turned our attention to embedded distance (distance travelled) of our ingredients. 

We’re pondering a locovore bakehouse.

What’s a Locovore? A locavore  is a person interested in eating food that is locally produced.

What is local? One common – but not universal – definition of “local” food is food grown / produced within 100 miles its point of purchase / consumption.

Right now we have four ingredients in one of our sourdough loaves. Here’s where it is grown / produced:-

1) sea salt (in plastic tubs) from Hebridean salt, up in the Isle of Lewis (174miles)

2) Cullisse rapeseed oil (in plastic jugs)  from Easter Ross (100miles)

3) Water (in pipes!) from boreholes in the River Lochy in Fort William (6miles) 

4) Golspie Mill wholewheat flour (in paper sacks) from Sutherland (115miles)

At best Doughies at the minute is baking a 200 mile loaf; not closed loop, generating needless waste. But the elephant in the room is no 4; by far the main ingredient in bread – the flour. Unfortunately not a lot of wheat is turned into bread flour in Scotland – Andrew Whitley recently presented that of the 989,000 tonnes Scottish wheat crop of 2014, basically ~0 tonnes was actually used for bread (there are some great exceptions but they are few and far between).

The West Highlands is not exactly the grain bread basket of Scotland. But you can grow grain up here – just different types – what would the highlanders of old have had alongside their pottage? Probably a rye, oat or barley sourdough. Probably grown as a landrace (a mixture); the flour would have changed with the yearly seasons, and varied area to area.

Could we re-start small subsistence cropping of old highland grains such as bere barley, small oats and black rye, and then using that in our sour doughs, milled on a small scale in the bakehouse? Would you be interested in supporting a 100mile loaf? How about a 10 mile loaf? What would that taste like? How connected would you feel chewing on that? We’re striving for a return to the old way of doing things (for inspiration check out the start of a new peasant bakery in Wales called Torth y Tir).

To this end, Adam at Doughies is going back to school this summer – we’re joining the Nourish new farmer coaching programme (check it out here) and we’re going to see what can be done to grow and  mill some grain locally and get the 100mile loaf back in your bread bin.

“Do one thing well; it’s enough”

(PS keep an eye out for the upcoming Taste the Wild food festival – check out their facebook page here; we’ll be there with some sourdoughs to sell!)

4 thoughts on “Pondering a Locovore Bakehouse”

  1. Hi It all sounds good trying to cut out all the wasted food miles. It is nice to know if it’s local. I think now people aspire to that. Keep up the good work Love mum

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  2. Good for you, but the Highlands is a challenging area in which to achieve the 100 miles. Cut yourselves some slack!

    1. Ha – just saw this comment Peggy – your right the Highlands are challenging; I think the 100 mile loaf is possible though – it wouldn’t be your white sliced mind…I’m thinking a multi-grain (made from a soaker of west highland oats & barley) with a bit of east coast wheat holding it together – fermented slowly- a hearty peasant loaf 🙂

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