Interview: Farnley Bakehouse

I met Steve at the Farnley Bakehouse to discuss his venture into real bread
Real bread has become a big buzzword in the food community, with many bakeries really going back to basics and scrutinising their whole baking process, from flour to loaf. 

Recently I was lucky enough to meet with Steve, a artisan baker who has decided to set up his own baking premises in Farnley - a small village near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Launched by Steve and his wife Simone, the Bakehouse sells many varieties of bread made from natural ingredients with no artificial additives or processing agents.

In addition to fine artisan bread, the bakery also has a range of hand-baked pastries and cake, as well as everyday items such as milk, locally sourced fruit and vegetables, eggs, cheeses and other dairy products and preserves. There is also a small cafe area, allowing customers to enjoy a treat alongside a tea or coffee!

The Bakehouse is the first of multiple ventures planned by the couple, all of which will champion artisan produce and sit under the umbrella brand of Farnley Market. The aim is to eventually include a Smokehouse and for customers to be able to purchase a larger variety of products made on site and create further jobs for local residents while supporting local food producers by selling their produce in his stores.

It was clearly obvious how passionate Steve is about his business and baking process. I also was extremely impressed with his focus on becoming a hub for the local community in this small village which recently lost its Post Office. At the time of my visit there was a wide range of customers, from teenagers enjoying a hot chocolate, to elderly residents picking up a loaf to take home. I really do think that the focus on community and quality/local produce makes this venture stand out from the average bakery.

The interviews are in three parts, the first focuses on the bread itself, the second on the business and the third is a small excerpt about the flour Steve uses at the bakery.

I found the whole interview extremely informative and hope that you do to! 

For more information on Steve's venture and how to get there, please visit the website

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter

I picked up a loaf to enjoy later on with a bowl of thick, hearty soup

Middle Eastern Bread with Za'atar Recipie

This is my version of Manakeesh, a popular Levantine food consisting of bread which is most commonly topped with Za'atar.

Yotam Ottolenghi describes za'atar as "A traditional spice blend from Palestine including dried thyme (za’atar) from the hills of Jenin in the north of the West Bank mixed with ground sesame seeds plus a touch of sumac, salt and vegetable oil. Perfect as a dip with Palestinian olive oil and freshly baked bread. This zesty seasoning is served at breakfast in many Middle Eastern countries – can be used with meat, fish, cheese, eggs or sprinkled on a pizza"

I first came across za'atar whilst in Israel and bought a jar back with me to experiment with back home. When mixed with olive oil, I would say that it is somewhat like pesto, with a wonderful savoury and salty taste.  It works perfectly as a topping on fleshly baked bread.

I managed to source it back in the UK in my local organic shop,

Aligator Wholefoods

.  I have also seen it in Fair Trade shops.

This recipe makes a small  round loaf, double all quantities for a larger one!


200g Strong Wholemeal Flour

A pinch of Salt

1tsp dried Coriander Leaf

1tsp dried Parsley

1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper

50ml warm Water (body temperature)

50ml warm Milk (again, body temperature)

1 sachet of Instant Yeast

1tsp Sugar or Honey

2tsp Za'atar

2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Prepare the yeast by placing the warm water and milk in a small jug, then add the sugar and sprinkle with the yeast. Leave this for 10 minutes, until the yeast is thick and frothy.

2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, herbs, salt and pepper.

3.. Slowly add the yeast mixture until a dough is formed (you may need to add a little extra warm water if the dough doesn't come together easily.) Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes.

 4. Shape the dough into a disk and place on a baking tray (I lined mine with foil.) Cover this with clingfilm and leave the dough in a warm place to rise for 1-1.5 hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 200C, Mix together the za'atar and Olive Oil in a small bowl and spread on top of the dough.

6. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and hollow when tapped underneath. Serve warm with lashings of butter!