Cumbrian Artisan baker Aidan Monks has collaborating with Lake District tea and coffee merchant John Farrer & Co, to craft a revolutionary bread made with naturally fermented Kombucha made with Farrer’s iconic Lakeland Special Tea and organic ancient grains.
FDMB North West understands that no other bakery in the UK is commercially producing a sourdough bread containing ancient grains and naturally fermented Kombucha.
Aidan can often be found researching, adapting and putting old methodology into practice, which he constantly seeks to improves by adding new thought processes and approaches into the mix.
As you might expect for Aidan provenance is everything, which is why he has spent a considerable amount of time testing and refining his Kombucha sourdough recipe, taking great care to source and use only the finest ingredients from across the north of England.
With this in mind he approached Farrer’s to see if they would agree to work with him to create a Kombucha using Lakeland Special Tea, a secret 200-year-old signature blend of Ceylon teas.
Unsurprisingly Dave Walsh, Farrer’s General Manager readily agreed, which enabled Aidan to carefully marry the Lakeland Special Kombucha with organic Emmer ancient grains grown exclusively for Lovingly Artisan by Gilchester Organic in Northumberland to create his latest bread.
Other cultures have been using Kombucha to make sourdough breads for a long time, which is no surprise seeing as it is a perfect readymade starter. As drink Kombucha has a long history, reputedly dating back thousands of years to the Qin Dynasty in China in 221 BC. Made from sweetened green or black tea and a specific culture known as a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts). The bacteria and yeasts in the fermentation process gives Kombucha a distinctive sour taste, and adds a host of beneficial vitamins and minerals, including C, B, B1, B6 and B12.
Not only that Emmer wheat flour has been in around for thousands of years too. In fact, it is one of the earliest grains ever cultivated, favoured by Neolithic people and then more recently Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, whose legionaries later introduced it to Britain. As a grain it has huge health benefits being high in fibre, which helps regulate intestinal transit and preserve the ability to absorb water. It’s also rich in vitamins, mineral salts and proteins, and has a very high nutritional value, which in turn is positive from a physiological and dietary point of view, especially if you have difficulty digesting bread.
So, all in all you can begin to see the benefits of combining these two main ingredients, the resulting bread provides a good cross section of vitamins, is high in dietary fibre and possesses excellent nutritional properties and is easier to digest because like all other fermentation processes the bacteria present eats the sugars and starch helping your system to absorb the goodness in the bread.
Aidan Monks, baker and owner at Lovingly Artisan, commented: ‘’Fermented food has soared in popularity in recent years, in part thanks to the ever-increasing interest and research into gut health people are beginning to realise the importance of eating foods that aid absorption and increase healthy probiotics in the gut. As bakers we want to be at the forefront of this resurgence in traditionally made breads, real breads made by artisan bakers, that are high in fibre, full of nutrients and are easily digested because they are naturally fermented and don’t contain the array of additives, manufactured yeasts and processed sugars that a factory produced standard sliced loaf contains.’’
Dave Walsh, Farrer’s General Manger, said: ‘’We were thrilled to be able to work with Aidan and Lovingly Artisan to create a Kombucha using our Lakeland Special Tea. The health benefits of, green, white and black teas are well known, but until now we hadn’t considered the possibility of using tea and ancient grains to create this amazing sourdough. You can see why Aidan is one of the UK’s leading artisan bakers and is fast becoming one of the UK’s foremost innovators when it comes to gut health.’’
PHOTO: Kombucha Sourdough made by Lovingly Artisan using Emmer Ancient Grains from Gilchester Organic and Kombucha made using Lakeland Special Tea from John Farrer & Co.