A resource and running commentary on stylish London

F is for food

For some, what comes to mind when hearing the “F” word is an expletive. The only thing I can think of when the letter “F” is mentioned is Food or Fashion.

Today’s post is about Food. Actually, it is about bread, the holiest of foods, in my opinion.

If you have sworn off carbs, and I am about to lose you, please, please humour me and read to the end of this post.

I have an internal homing device. Somehow, wherever I am in the world, I manage to walk down the right street, find the most unusual shop, or wind up tasting the best cup of coffee in the most unpretentious café or restaurant.

That is exactly what happened to me a few months ago.  A friend and I set out to explore Broadway Market (the subject of another post). Not entirely familiar with the borough of Hackney, I had a vague idea it was somewhere off Columbia Road (yet the subject of another post). Somehow, we wound up around the perimeter of London Fields. I parked the car and off we went…

The entrance to E5 Bakehouse, London Fields

The entrance to E5 Bakehouse, London Fields

I cannot remember if we ever made it to Broadway Market; what I can tell you is, we passed a very non-descript café under one of the arches of the London Fields overground rail station. The sign hanging from a post outside read E5 Bakehouse. My homing device urged me to go in…

A selection of the breads for sale at E5 Bakehouse

A selection of the breads for sale at E5 Bakehouse

 

 

 

I knew we hit the jackpot the moment my eyes glanced over at an enormous rack, overflowing with freshly baked breads. Which one was I to try? Hackney Wild, Raisin Walnut, Multi Grain, Ciabatta, Spelt, Bordinsky, Route 66 or, good old Baguette?

Two thirds of the interior space is devoted to the bakery and kitchen. You can watch the a team of young and energetic bakers measure out the flour, knead the dough and pop those beautiful soon to be loaves in stacked professional baking ovens.

Did I mention they are brainiacs as well?

Ben MacKinnon founded E5 in 2010, having given up a job at a multinational where he advised companies such as Network Rail.  The head baker, Eyal Schwartz has a PhD in neuroscience from Jerusalem University; before working here he was developing computational linguistics for Motorola. Fergus Jackson, was a creative director at an advertising agency. The pastry section is headed up by someone doing a PhD in philosophy, in addition to an American guy who has just finished a masters in theoretical psychoanalysis. You get the picture. This is no ordinary bakery…

“We’ve all studied the brain and philosophy and yet what really gets us excited is a good loaf of bread coming out of the oven,” say Eyal Schwartz.

Handwritten, daily menus appear on a slate board

Handwritten, daily menus appear on a slate board

The atmosphere is warm and friendly. It seems very much like a neighbourhood place. In addition to the selection of breads available for purchase, E5 Bakehouse is a great coffee shop which serves fresh lunch using local, seasonal, and entirely organic ingredients.  The menu changes daily, influenced by ingredients available at local markets. On Sundays pizzas are served with a variety of toppings.

Lunch is served between 12 and 3 p.m. Main courses are between £5 to £6.50; soups, sandwiches and smaller dishes are around £4.

If you are interested in learning how to make bread, E5 Bakehouse holds classes at the bakery on Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays, starting at 11:00am and finishing around 5.30pm.The class is led by one of E5 Bakehouse’s seasoned bakers. After an introductory session, it’s down to business, weighing out the ingredients, and plunging your hands into mixing bowls. Typically 4 breads are made over the course of the day; a pain de campagne, ciabatta, 66% rye, and bagels. All these breads use wild sourdough, and the class teaches how to sustain a sourdough mother, along with teaching the kneading and shaping styles used at E5.

The intention is to build confidence in all aspects of bread making with an emphasis on sourdough.

The class costs £95 for the day and includes a sourdough “mother”, bannetons, recipes, coffee and lunch. It is suitable for all abilities and class size is limited to 10. As of writing this post, classes were booked through the middle of July.

In the humble opinion of this blogger, the 8.1 mile drive (from my home) for a loaf of E5 bread is definitely worth it!

E5 Bakehouse
Arch 395
Mentmore Terrace
London E8 3PH
E5Bakehouse

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