Baking and brewing reunited!

The connection between baking and brewing has been restored at the Fermentarium. Our first brew made with organic pale malt, crystal malt and Sovereign hops is now fermenting happily. For centuries baking and brewing were carried on side by side so that yeast could be shared. After all they are similar techniques, fermenting dough creates alcohol which is lost during the baking process, while the mashing wort is a bit like a very runny dough. A result of the close proximity of baking and brewing was barm bread which was made by scrapping the yeast head off the fermenting beer, mixing it overnight with flour and then using that to leaven the bread. So some barm bread experiments on the horizon…

First wort downloading from the mash tun to the copper

First wort downloading from the mash tun to the copper

Bakers Arms cancelled but still a souper Wednesday!

Today we were meant to be celebrating the opening of the re-furbished public space at the Bakers Arms junction with our bread stall, but the event was cancelled last minute.  It’s raining so actually not complaining after the chill winds on Saturday’s Growing Communities Market. Still a busy day we’ve delivered a batch of loaves including 100% wholemeal spelt sourdough and Pain au levain to the Mill for the fundraiser with Walthamstow’s Food bank, Eat or Heat. Our bread is accompanying the pea, pak choi & pesto soup knocked up by Nat and the crew. If you are about the last Wednesday of April then come down and see what soup/bread combination awaits. Souper Wednesday

Today the chuffins, tomorrow the cake!

This weekend marked a year since we returned to do Growing Communities Farmers’ Market in Stoke Newington. Nearly every fortnight our sourdough stall has been selling out with the chuffins (sourdough chestnut muffins) usually first to go. To build on this success and take up a new challenge we are about to take a walk on the sweet side and add cake in the very near future. What is your favourite cake? Ever had sourdough cake? Come and let us know so we can create some super tasty stuff!

Chuffins and cocofins in big buffet mode

Chuffins and cocofins in big buffet mode

From Archway with love

The Fermentarium’s convection ovens are nestling in their new home! Our master builder, Edek, led the collection from the 15th floor of the Archway Tower. The twin ovens once separated weighed in at 156 kilos apiece but thankfully fitted into the lift with a few millimetres to spare. A big thanks to Essential Living for the generous donation of the ovens and thanks also to the contractors of Doveguard who helped us move the buggers. The ovens from the old DWP canteen are now being cleaned and then wired up by Suat and will be providing our bakers with the means to expand production. Better bread for all!

Archway from up on high

Archway from up on high

new ovens

The lower oven now in place


The sign is up! Baking every Tuesday and Friday, best to drop by for a loaf in the afternoon at the moment. We’re still awaiting our big oven. We’re still looking for a creative person for our cafe, if you know of someone who’s looking for a new opportunity then tell them to get in touch!2014-02-18 14.55.14

Real food lover wanted for creative cafe opportunity

FermentaiumThe Hornbeam Bakers Collective is looking for someone to help us run the cafe aspect of the Fermentarium, our newly-opened bakery which services the Blackhorse Workshop in Walthamstow. The work will involve creating an imaginative menu of mostly vegan and some vegetarian light meals, snacks and drinks which utilises our baked and other items and helping to run events and some external catering.


We are looking for someone who:

  • Has experience running a cafe or catering operation
  • Enjoys experimenting and developing new flavour combinations
  • Is happy sharing an underdeveloped kitchen space with a bunch of bakers
  • Shares our values of encouraging community baking and food

Please note, this is neither a paid role or a volunteer role but a business opportunity that would require you to be registered as self-employed. It is temporary to begin with but has the potential to grow and continue. To start from 1st March.

If you are interested please write to us at

Deadline for applications: Monday 24th February 2014, 12 noon.

To apply please answer the following questions:

  • What is your experience of running or working in a cafe or catering operation?
  • What attracts you to this opportunity?
  • What is your availability and flexibility in regards to time?
  • How do you think we could develop the cafe and make it a sustainable operation?

…First baked goods !

As you know at the very end of the year we made it to our Crowdfunder target ! It was wonderful to feel the community support (we had 110 backers which felt great) and we want to thank again everyone who was behind, with your help the works at the new space continued to develop

… Things tend to take more time than one thinks and that has definitely been the case with our new bakery. The commercial ovens have had several failed attempts to being delivered (we’re still waiting for them and looking forwards to having them installed!), we are still missing other key bits of equipment (like refrigeration and mixer, although the kitchen is SO cold that we might make heating a priority over refrigeration!), the cob oven refuses to dry in this super wet winter weather and most important our human resources are quite stretched and we are feeling tired… BUT we have started producing baked goods in the kitchen using the domestic oven and they have been wonderful! The Blackhorse Workshop had a preview party a couple of weeks ago and we catered for the event providing some beautiful dishes thanks to the good work of Gaba, Raju, Pam and Simon, most of the food was cooked in people’s kitchen’s in our Bakers’ Collective tradition but some delicious gluten free bites were produced by Raju at the new bakery and we were proud!

This last friday we hosted an event called Hidden Voices (here’s their blog and again the food was delicious and this time fully baked and prepared at the bakery; Raju’s skills as a chef were wonderfully displayed in a gluten free and vegan menu that was commended by everyone.

And today Simon spent the day baking at the venue, the first proper shift, congratulations and thanks Simon! …now we just need the proper equipment to arrive… Schumacker wrote a “study of economics as if people mattered” called “Small is beautiful”    … I think Slow can be beautiful too.

The Blackhorse Workshop opened its doors on saturday 1st February, come to check it out and pay us a visit; we will be increasing our baking activity as the month progresses, at the moment we are there Tuesdays and Fridays  selling bread, baked goods, tea and coffee and likely to be there many other times if you pop around, see you soon!