ABOUT MINI MISS BREAD
Mini Miss Bread came about as a result of Megan's disappointment with the bread available within Saffron Walden. Although 'fresh' bread was available at the supermarkets, at a bakery in the town centre and from a very attractive looking stall on the twice weekly market, Megan was always disappointed when she got it home and, despite appearances, it never had the flavour of bread she had experienced from bakeries elsewhere in the UK and abroad. Initially Megan explored ways to source and deliver quality bread to the residents of Saffron Walden but then soon decided that she'd go one step further and produce the bread herself.
Fast forward 6 months, hundreds of disastrous and not quite so shabby trial run loaves, a course at the incredible Sourdough School with Vanessa Kimbell and a lot of grit and determination, Mini Miss Bread was born. During these months Megan learnt about the incredible taste and health benefits of sourdough and found that in addition to its incredible flavour, it prevented her and other fellow sufferers the discomfort that shop bought bread and bread made with commercial yeast could cause. In fact sourdough now seems to be having a positively healthy impact on Megan's diet and has been found to be more digestible for some customers suffering from gluten intolerances, due to the long, slow and natural fermentation process.
As a result all bread now produced by Mini Miss Bread is made using a natural sourdough starter.
Megan says "The incredible thing about sourdough is that I am continuously learning and improving (and sometimes going backwards a few steps in my quest to experiment!) It is a living creature that is hugely affected by time, temperature, ingredients, handling, steam...and experience. I don't believe I'll ever stop learning and I am so happy that I've managed to turn my new found obsession into a 'job' where I can proudly offer the residents of Saffron Walden and beyond the delights of real sourdough bread."
And now a new chapter begins as Megan's husband, Jeff, has become a partner in the business and the first Mini Miss Bread shop has opened in central Saffron Walden.
HOW WE MAKE SOURDOUGH
Mini Miss Bread is made using a 'leaven' - a naturally fermenting mix of just flour and water that produces wild yeast and gasses, replacing any need for commercially produced yeast.
The 3 day process begins with the sourdough starter, or 'mother' being refreshed with flour and water. It is then left for up to 12 hours to ferment and become strong. Once it is at its peak it is used to make a 'leaven', this is the start of every loaf.
The leaven is then mixed with organic flour (milled locally at Priors Mill in Swaffham Prior and at Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire), water and salt, plus any other ingredients required for each of my loaves e.g. seeds, cheese etc.
Instead of kneading the dough we use time, temperature, stretching and folding of the dough to bring it to a 'sweet spot', at which point it is ready to be shaped.
It then has a final proving period in the fridge overnight; it is this long, final proof that gives each loaf it's distinctive flavour, together with making it far more easy to digest than fast, commercial bread.
The following morning they are scored to allow for maximum oven spring and baked in a very hot oven before being cooled ready for you to enjoy.