Dublin and Waterford both gain a new RBI member #realbreadireland

L’Ecrivain Restaurant

Thanks to Tom Doyle who is the head chef here for putting in the membership application.   I had the pleasure of meeting Derry Clarke, whose restaurant this is during Theatre of Food 2014 so great to see this come in.

They regularly bake real bread sourdoughs to serve with their dishes and join the growing number of Irish restaurants who either bake real bread themselves or buy in from one of our members.

Website: http://lecrivain.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lecrivaindublin & https://twitter.com/Doylechef

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lEcrivain.Restaurant

Olive Tree Tapas, Waterford

Further south this restaurant opened in Waterford in 2014 and their tapas theme is complimented by in-house real bread baking.

From Darren Collins, Head Chef : “We make sourdough numerous flavours. Yeast crackers Yeast loafs and Bruchetta.”

Apart from their bread “Curing meats, all own chutney ,pickles fermenting, smoking . Pastrys +bread all made in house. Anything we can make we will. Suppliers from organic farmers, local and then Redmonds and La Rousse.”

Website: http://olivetreewaterford.ie

Twitter: https://twitter.com/the_olive_tree & https://twitter.com/OliveTreeChef

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theolivetreetapas/



Our first member of 2016 – Ali Honour in Cork

Here in Real Bread Ireland HQ (its more of a concept than an actual place 🙂 we are working away to prepare for our quarterly members gathering next weekend which is being hosted by Robert and Bill Mosse in Kells Wholemeal.

This quarterly gatherings are important both for the cohesion of the network (digital can never take the place of meeting people!) and also for the discussions and planning for what individual members are doing within the network.

Interrupting all of that to welcome Ali. She set up her own place late last year in Cork and she is one of a growing number of proud cafe and restaurant owners who are baking real bread on premises to compliment their menu’s.

And you can buy her breads on premise too. She is at 14 Rory Gallagher pl,Paul St.

From Ali “I bake a slow prove yeast (Poolish) using flour, water, salt, yeast + time! We then make a variety of other breads such as brioche and then savoury breads too”

Her Facebook Page  https://www.facebook.com/Alis-Kitchen-907133342715559

Her Website  http://www.aliskitchencork.com

Her Twitter  https://twitter.com/aliskitchencork

Final update of 2015 – our 1st Year

A duo of people/businesses to add today before we launch into our programme of events and gatherings for 2016.

Regina Sexton, Food Historian, UCC

Regina grew up in a family of bakers and is one of a number of people who have worked to gather information on the history of bread baking in Ireland. Herself and her colleagues from UCC and UCD are holding a one day members only workshop  in March that will:

  • Introduce participants to the long history of cereals and bread in Ireland, based upon evidence from early and more recent historical texts and archaeological science
  • Use hands-on learning and using ancient techniques to enable participants to process cereals from sheaf to flour and produce bread products

Her profile is here and she is on Twitter here.

Screenshot 2015-12-31 08.36.13

Hendrik Lepel, Tracton Community Oven Project

Hendrik builds ovens, including a lot for bread and pizza (He built the oven used by Firehouse Bakery on Heir Island in Cork for example), and this is his intro:

“The aim of the Tracton Community Oven is to provide an educational and recreational space, by empowering people to learn how to bake real wholesome and nutrious bread. We offer breadmaking classes to community members and schools and have the goal to establish a RealBread Club to produce a not for profit bread to bring to the home tables of Tracton.”

His Website (Bacchus) and Facebook page.


New members – 3 in Ireland (incl 2 N.I.) and a Danish location too :-)

One of the fun things with a loose approach to the network is that it is a very broad church that accommodates professional bakers and others with a professional interest in Real Bread.

Geographically we cover the Island of Ireland and with this latest batch we now have 6 members in NI with one close by in Donegal too. But never have we stepped off the Island until a Monaghan man living in Denmark asked us too.

Fintan Keenan

I first came across Fintan in a Twitter conversation on traditional and organic grains being used in bread baking.

In his own words: My name is Fintan Keenan, I’m not a professional but a excellent home baker and organic farmer growing and milling organic cereals in Denmark. I’m from Monaghan but have been living over here for 8 years where we trial heritage varieties and modern varieties of organic grains (wheat, spelt, rye and barley) for milling for flour in bread production. I work together with Per Grupe who is the leading researcher and developer of quality grains for bread production in Scandinavia. 

He is bringing a nice chunk of knowledge to the group of bakers and millers within Real Bread Ireland who are starting to explore and experiment with more traditional varieties of grains.

Fintan on Twitter https://twitter.com/FintanKeenan

Rosanne Cecil, Blackthorn Breads, Glenarm, Co. Antrim

Like this one – a mostly craft shop that also bakes real bread once a week.

From Rosanne “The breads that I bake as ‘Blackthorn Breads’ are made from organic flour, sea salt, fresh yeast and/or natural leaven and additional ingredients such as fresh herbs when in season, sesame, sunflower and poppy seeds.

I bake just once a week (Saturdays) for my craft shop ‘Blackthorn and Willow’ (in the seaside village of Glenarm in Co. Antrim). Every week I bake white loaves with olive oil and sesame seeds; mixed grain cobs; pain de campagne (hybrid loaves using both natural leaven and fresh yeast) and focaccia with fresh herbs and olives.

In addition, each week I bake a batch of speciality loaves such as rye with caraway seeds; sweet and spicy pumpkin, and pain deep.”

Website: Blackthorn and Willow

Facebook: Blackthorn and Willow

Joe Kelly, Belle Iske Cookery School, Fermanagh

This cookery school included real bread courses in its offerings.

From Joe “I teach bread making at the school and use sourdough starters in my home bread making and at the school. I have a rye starter and a white starter that I use.”

Their website: Belle Iske Cookery School

Gerard O’Hora , The Bread Island, Roscommon

Gerard bakes 19 different kinds of breads of which 10 are sourdoughs and in Jan 2016 he is kicking off basic bread baking courses.

From their website “Our aim is to provide additive/chemical free freshly made bread to our local community using only natural products.

The method of making sourdough bread is thousands of years old, mixing only Flour & Water together and leaving it to develop into its own natural Yeast (sourdough) will produce the best bread you have ever tasted. our fermentation time of at least 16 hours allows the full flavor of the bread to develop which you will not find in mass produced bread.”

Website: The Bread Island

Facebook: The Bread Island


The Real Bread Gathering with @breadmatters 2nd Dec, 2015 Dublin

When we kicked off Real Bread Ireland in January this year (2015) in Highbank Organic Orchards in Kilkenny we were 6 bakers and 2 supporters with a shared vision of how things could and would be better.

We are at 42 members now with a hell of a lot of support and good wishes from all across Ireland and that deserves a small celebration 🙂

So on Wednesday 2nd in Dublin we are having an open house in The Bernard Shaw on 11 Richmond Street South, Dublin sponsored by Bretzel Bakery who are also celebrating the 15 year of William Bretzel’s custodianship of the bakery.

There will be a supply of real breads from bakers around Ireland and a chance to listen to a chat on where Real Bread is at in Ireland and UK with a discussion being run by William from Bretzel:

Especially great to have Andrew Whitley with us. He founded Village Bakery in 1976 and the Real Bread Campaign 7 years ago. He has written a number of books on baking and for bakers alone is a true legend!

Details on the event on Facebook here.


(this post also appears in the Biabeag blog)

Latest members are in Waterford, Sligo and Kerry

Jeni Pim, Jens Kitchen

Jeni and her husband bake bread at home and supply direct to consumers. From Jeni:

From Sourdough to Brown Yeast Bread: you name it, we bake it.  Nigel trained with Richard Bertinet in Bath, a renowned real bread advocat, and I myself, Jen, trained with the Ballymaloe Cookery school, completing my 12 week course in January 2015. We specialise in individual orders, supplying families who want to feed their families REAL bread.

Her website is here

Dervla James, Pudding Row Cafe & Bakery, Sligo

Dervla is our 4th member in Sligo :-).

We make and bake everything very early, every morning in our lovely little seaside village of Easkey, in West Sligo. We bake crunchy white yeasted loaves, seeded bagels, herby focaccia, brioche, sweet breads and more.

We add or replace breads given the season too. We use fresh yeast and plan to make sourdough breads and pizzas soon. We’re just opened 3 short months, our production is high as we use in house and sell from our big bread shelf too.

I have a BSc in baking and pastry art from the national baking school (formerly Kevin Street, DIT Dublin). 

We sell to our customers from a beautiful wooden bread shelf custom made by two wonderful local craftsmen. We use all organic herbs in our breads, you can smell and taste the difference.

We will begin baking classes in the next few weeks and hope to share our breadmaking skills to the Sligo (and wider) community. Bread and pastry are at the forefront of everything we do here. 

Dervla Website

Dervla Facebook

Orla Gowen, Bácús Bhréanainn, Cloghane

Orla runs Bácús which a scratch bakery on the Dingle Peninsula specialising in Irish and European artisan breads that are finished by hand and baked in our stone-floored deck ovens. We deliver to many of the finest restaurants and shops on the Dingle Peninsula and are stall holders at the Tralee and Dingle Farmers Markets.

I am predominately a scratch bread maker with a limited selection of confectionary. I am listed in McKenna’s Guide. I have recently attended the School of Artisan Food to do a sourdough baking course and I am gradually introducing sourdough bread to my range.

Orla’s Website

Welcome to the 3 of you 🙂


We are joined by (more) restaurants in Galway and a Pizza Maker in Wicklow

37 West, 56 Central, Galway

Our member Jeremy Zanni of Les Petites Douceurs has a close working relationship with Gill Carroll, owner of 37 West and 56 Central in Galway.

So its Baguettes from les Petit Douchers that will greet you on their menu. They have also hosted Jeremy for a number of special events including his demo and film for Real Bread Week.


David McFadden, Doughkitchen, Wicklow

How great is this, can only imagine how good his pizzas are 🙂

I produce a sourdough pizza base. It’s from a organic wholemeal starter. (Shiptonmill organic). I add this to my preferment that has been feed and risen for 12hrs. The preferment (once combined with the stater) then will rise for another 12hrs. This is then combined with my 00 flour to make pizza dough.

You can catch them weekly at the following market locations


His Facebook page is here https://www.facebook.com/doughkitchenireland

And his website is www.doughkitchen.ie

Welcome both!


Uprising Bread Conference, post by William Despard, Bretzel

Thanks to William, Bretzel for taking the time to record his notes from the Recent Uprising Bread Conference held in the UK.


A wonderful gathering of conversations all about real bread & baking for the soul.

Conference chaired by Kath Dalmeny and Key-note speaker Andrew Whitley. Andrew reminded us that it was 6 years since the last such gathering in Oxford.

In the last 7 years the Real Bread Campaign has faced down the industrial plant bread lobby, forced more honesty in advertising and labelling, and is witnessing the general de-commodifying of plant bread. We have seen the establishment of the School of Artisan Food and enjoyed a never ending supply of bread puns, led by Chris Young.
There was a real buzz in the main lecture theatre as 200+ real bread enthusiasts in the room paid respect to Andrew, who espoused the benefits of real fermented sourdough, as he robustly exposed the industrial plant “bakeries”….setting up the closing comments by Chris to please stop calling the plant stuff “bread” at all and with more education and passion from the room we can soon again call Real-Bread bread.
The body of the day was conversational sessions, facilitated by conversational leaders, who read as a who’s who of real bread bakers, bakeries and educationalists. There was three areas of focus
(1) Social enterprise baking 

(i) Bread in mind – baking for the benefit of people with mental health issues 

(ii) Community supported bakery & Jail bake – running a baking social enterprise for ex-offenders and those at risk of brushes with the law and 

(iii) Therapeutic and mindful baking & Baking social enterprise – can a bakery add a social “bottom line” alongside financial profit.
(2) Setting up your own real bakery enterprise 

(i) Marketing your micro bakery – the marketing mix, importance of names and visual indent, plus cheap & free proportional tools 

(ii) Serious Business – real practical advise on how to get from passionate home baker to micro bakery entrepreneur maestro 

(iii) Scaling up your bakery.
(3) Techie stuff, from fundamental & professional sourdough to heritage grains: 

(i) Sourdough 101 – What is sourdough and how to bake it 

(ii) Sourdough pro – moving to baking many, achieving consistency in production 

(iii) Ancient and Heritage grains – explained.
There was a scramble of places, with all conversations full, and I took the Techie route.

(i) Sourdough 101 was led by: Hilary Cacchio, Vanessa Kimbell & Andrew Whitely

Hilary spoke confidently about how to smell sour dough and find those sweet aromas as befits a chef turned sour dough educational expert – expect a banana/caramel nose if refreshing correctly with “heritage flour”. 

 Vanessa was larger than life character who runs a sour dough school & resident baker for Bakery Bits; she noted “This bad smell complaint” often come from students who use industrial flour. 

 Andrew ensured that novices in the room understood sourdough & the benefits of fermentation, and banned the use of the word feeding. His mantra was “only refresh as required”. He has successfully kept a healthy sourdough in a fridge for five years, never feeding it once. 

 He brought us through acetic, lactic, fustic acids and another I didn’t catch, so there is more learning to be done, which is a good summary of the session – It inspired the whole room to learn more. 

 There was a great Q & A session which showed the wealth of info present in the room, for example a wonderful explanation that strong acid taste can and should be inversely proportional to the quantity of leaven used – You would need to have been there.

(ii) Sourdough pro led by: Fergus Jackson & Ben Mackinnon

There was such a good rapport between leaders and the room, one would not have known that Fergus and Ben have commercial bakeries of their own, Brick House and E5 Bakehouse respectively in the London market. 

 Long fermentation & use of fridges were discussed in detail, dough temperature control a must and the need for consistency essential. The pro’s advised that with good dough temp. control one has as much as a four hour window for use of a ripe (my term) leaven when using slow fermentation. 

 Judgement in these commercial situations is still down to the smell and taste of the sourdough, rather than measuring pH. The participation during the session was great and continued into the corridors after.
Lunch was a communal sharing affair which worked really well, no one went hungry. I was glad I had fresh bread from my visit to Bread Bread the previous evening. 

(iii) Ancient & Heritage Grains: Andrew Forbes & Andrew Whitely

Most of the wheat in the UK grows no more than 0.5m tall; grown for bulk (yield) rather than bread making quality. The commodity market fails the nutritional needs of the customer. Heritage wheat typically grows strong & tall – 1.5m. 

Andrew explained that this height naturally shades the soil and prevents unwanted weeds. “Dwarf” HYV (high yield varieties) wheat needs chemical fertilizer to prevent it from falling over and the soil needs weed killer. 
The information kept coming but I must end this blog report here before it becomes a novel. Their final session of Q&A with expert panel, would fill another page, and in summary both Andrew & Kath promised to not leave it six years until next meeting, and Chris urged all members to organise their own gatherings and he would publicise them.

Galway and Cork this week for our new members

The Natural Foods Bakery

This bakery has 3 locations in Cork and on their bread:

“All of our bread is real bread. We only use flour, water, fresh yeast (fed on malt extract), salt and sourdough. We make a variety of loaves and pittas: White, Granary, Spelt, Spelt + Rye Sourdough, Herb + Seed. We bake seven days a week. Our real bread can be bought in loaves, we use our bread to make all of our sandwiches in our cafes.”

Their Facebook Page


Aniar Restaurant, Galway

This is owned and run by Jp McMahon (who is the founder of Food On The Edge). They bake a variety of breads, including a number of real breads, to use on their menu. Sadly I cannot find a photo of one of their breads so JP is all we can show you for the moment!

Their real breads include

  • Traditional sourdough
  • Foccacia
  • Rye and buttermilk

Their Facebook Page

Their website

Their Twitter