We make a lot of bread.

Every day the kitchen turns out about a hundred items and of course, all the bread we serve is made by us. It couldn’t be any other way - bread underpins much of what we serve, especially sandwiches. It might seem obvious, but good bread is essential to a good sandwich, after all it’s 2/3 of the equation and different sandwiches need different bread to make them a success. Take the Cubano for instance, it’s a sandwich we’ve been doing for 4 or 5 years now but it was a few months in the preparing too. Trying out various combinations of the pork belly, gammon ham, Hafod cheddar, pickle and spicy mayo combination that make up its component parts. Alongside that was the important question of the bun for which we settled on the light, chewy ciabatta that we now make. 

Some of the bread has been with us a long time and the recipes don’t go stale. The focaccia and the granary for instance are basically the same recipes that Maryann’s late mother Jenny taught her at our first restaurant the Four Seasons in Nantgaredig. Nothing stands still though and it’s only recently that we acquired a stone shelved baking oven essential to making the sourdough that’s now a part of our everyday bread making ritual. We’re not precious about our recipes, so here’s how you can make the focaccia for yourself at home:

Focaccia

You’ll need...

  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 heaped tbsp dried yeast
  • 1/2 pint cold milk
  • 1/2 pint boiling water
  • 2lb strong white bread flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • Rosemary
  • Sea salt

Combine the milk, boiling water, sugar and then sprinkle in the yeast. Leave this until it bubbles. Add the flour, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the egg and the salt, then mix well. Leave in a warm place to prove until doubled in size (about an hour). Knock down and knead well into a ball and then roll out into a rectangle about an inch thick. Place this on a well oiled baking tray. Leave in a warm place again until risen double, with the surface slightly bubbly. Now sprinkle the rosemary and sea salt on top of the bread evenly and poke into the dough with your fingers so it resembles a buttoned mattress. Leave to rest for five minutes and then bake at 200C for 25 minutes. Remove and drizzle with olive oil whilst still warm on a rack.