The Fabulous Baker Brothers have recently enjoyed a successful series on Channel 4 with brothers Tom and Henry Herbert, both 5th generation bakers, creating quick and simply home cooked bread, pies and other rustic dishes.
Tom is an Ambassador for the Real Bread Campaign and is encouraging people to ‘Bake Your Lawn’. He explains, “I am always looking for ways to promote real bread. Bake Your Lawn has been set up by Sustain, (who campaigned for Real Ale with huge success) and it’s all about improving our understanding of bread. If you visit www.sustainweb.org/realbread/bake_your_lawn, for just £2 you receive an envelope of wheat and some instructions to be able to sow a square metre of ground. That will then yield enough grain to harvest and make a loaf later in the year. It’s great for schools but also families and anyone who fancies having a go! It has a real element of community about it all.”
The spirited baker, who signs all his correspondence, ‘with peace and loaf,’ continues, “Bread has suffered in the last 40 years or so as we have accepted mass produced manufactured bread; all it has going for it is it’s cheapness. A cultural shift is required; there is a whole generation who has never tasted real bread. People are too quick to dismiss it as carb-laden but the taste of real bread just gets people once they try it. There is also something really grounding and rewarding about taking the time and effort to bake and share bread. Chapattis are really easy to start with (see the Fabulous Baker Boys cook book) and quicker than cooking rice to go with your curry.”
The brothers were brought up on a farm and both love the outdoors. Tom even admits to being ‘a bit green fingered.’ “My wife, Anna, and I used to get a veg box delivered for years and then thought we should have a go at growing our own so built some raised beds for veg. The chard has been prolific but I’ve had problems with my home-made tower composter. It’s a prototype and needs a bit more work.” He shares.
“Space is a bit of an issue for us at the moment. I’d like to keep chickens, although feathered things do freak me out a bit, and I’d like to keep pigs again one day. We are able to get great eggs, milk and other ingredients locally so we still cook far more than we grow, though I’m sure we’ll grow more as we go. Anna and I married when we were young and I used to love spending the evenings in the garden after a hard, hot day at the bakery. Anna would be cooking and the windows would be open whilst I did the watering or something. That was before we had children,” he laughs, “children change everything!”
“Henry has a nice garden. He doesn’t grow his own veg but he does cut the grass and does the strimming and all that. We both love being outdoors but I don’t think either of us have fully embraced gardening yet. We’d probably still rather go out in the woods, have a campfire and cook something.”
Find out more about the boys, buy baking kits and even get a bread box of homemade bread delivered at www.hobbshousebakery.co.uk