This week is Real Bread Week and we were delighted to have the chance to chat to Ashley Welsh of artisan bakers Amos & Welsh, in between baking and farmer’s markets. Ashley & her boyfriend Jack Amos set up the business 2 years ago after a timely Christmas present of Shipton Mill flour inspired Jack to develop his baking skills. Their delicious bread is delivered to us at FINK twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays so do pop in to try.
- Please could you tell us a little bit about Amos & Welsh and how you started the company?
Jack & I met at York University and after travelling and baking our way around New Zealand we decided to return to York to set up a business together. Jack’s grandfather had been a baker so the inspiration was there but all of his skills and recipes are self-taught and unique.
The business is just the two of us: Jack does the baking and I do the selling, mainly at local markets. We have just converted our garage into a tiny micro bakery but are keen to keep the business small and direct so that we can listen to our customers and continue to make exactly what they want to eat!
- How many products do you make now and which one is your favourite?
We make 4 different types of bread including our popular sourdough, as well as traditional English muffins which are baked on a griddle then turned over to give the authentic markings. We bake a variety of pastries such as croissants and pain au raisins, using Wensleydale Creamery butter to give it a true Yorkshire taste. We also make our own pork pies and traditional cream buns.
I don’t really have a favourite as I love them all! We don’t produce anything that we don’t enjoy ourselves.
- Tell us about your delicious sourdough.
Our sourdough has been building in flavour for the past 2 and a half years since the business began. We don’t use any commercial yeast, it is just made from flour, salt and water with the wild yeast created within the original sourdough starter. The mother culture even goes on holiday with us so that it continues to thrive! We use mainly stoneground organic flours from speciality millers Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire, having found that British flours have a better flavour and are more digestible.
- Do you have any top tips for our customers on how to keep bread fresher for longer? (if there is any left!)
Freezing fresh bread works really well, but if you are storing it, make sure that it is in an airtight container. To freshen up bread that is a few days old, sprinkle water on then pop in the microwave for a soft crust or in the oven for a crunchy crust.
- Do you have a favourite recipe or topping for one of your bread varieties that you would like to share?
One of our favourite suppers is toasted sourdough topped with creamy garlic mushrooms made with crème fraiche and parsley, topped with a poached egg. We also make a huge amount of bread sauce which we eat with almost anything instead of potatoes. Traditionally bread sauce is made with white bread but one of our favourites is with our malted brown bread – delicious!
- What is your favourite part of Yorkshire?
I do love the city of York, it’s like a mini London. But you can’t beat the North York Moors. We do a lot of walking up there and recently took the steam train from Pickering to Whitby which was just brilliant.
For more information on Amos & Welsh please visit their website www.amosandwelsh.com.