Can I go to bed now? :-)

Hello. The past few days here in Buckfastleigh have been somewhat challenging in more ways than one. The Beast from the East which made it a little chilly, and then Storm Emma which brought snow – and everything more or less ground to a standstill…

Then the town ran out of bread – or at least the co-op and local newsagents did.

I normally bake mostly sourdough breads for The Seed in Fore Street as well as a few local community shops and so on. On Friday I usually take about 35 loaves down to South Brent to Foggs Deli, however there was absolutely no chance of that happening due to the snow. Fortunately The Seed were only too happy to take them in addition to their own lot, given the worsening weather. By then the co-op and the newsagents had run out of bread too. I offered Pete at Huccaby’s news some regular loaves and he was happy to take some, so the ovens were back on and a batch of some 36 loaves was made for them.

Saturday came – and with it an eerie quietness over the town… Nothing was moving at all. My usual sourdoughs to the Seed plus extra that I’d normally deliver to Holne community shop as well as a few extra standard loaves… And yet another large batch to the newsagents – I think by this time word may have gotten out about them having fresh, warm bread in their shop.

Sunday – thaw, but the big delivery companies hadn’t “rebooted” themselves, so the shops were still bare, although the roads were now opening so some milk was available in the shops – and the ovens were on again to get another big batch of standard loaves up to Pete and Angela at Huccabys newsagents.

As someone running a home-based microbakery, which really started as a little hobby some 5 years ago, the past few days have been a mixture of challenge and a little excitement – I’m glad that I was able to help in a small way, and provide some of the townsfolks with bread – even if it did need to be sliced at home!

I’ve had some nice comments – many thanks to those who’ve taken the time to post to the local social media boards, facebook and so on, and said a cheery “hello” when passing in the street.

And maybe I should get more tins for the next time…


as I’m sure a few may have wondered why it was all different shapes…




The Festive Mincepie …

According to Wikipedia:

A mince pie is a small British fruit-based mincemeat sweet pie traditionally served during the Christmas season. Its ingredients are traceable to the 13th century, when returning European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits and spices.

According to this baker:

A mince pie is a small thermonuclear device with the capacity to burn, maim and destroy any baker worth their salt, and if, after that, they’re still alive their capacity to drive to insanity is not to be reckoned with!

The Moorbakes MincepieA Moorbakes Mincepie. Do not be fooled by its appearance! This is a weapon of mass baker destruction!

Let us now look at the hazards surrounding this small and innocent looking object of festive feasting…

Making the pastry

We all make our own pastry, right? So just how thin can you roll it out? What if it’s too thick? Do I blind bake, or fill it and bake it with the filling? Will I get a soggy bottom! Just that thought on its own should be enough to put you off for life – and if you thought Paddington has a hard stare, have you seen the combined might of both Mary and Paul? Even though they’re not next to you, you know that your customers will be inspecting and checking now… Enough to make the most seasoned baker think twice.

But lets assume this doesn’t put us off. What next?

The mincemeat filling

Buy it or make it. If making it, do you see if any of your carefully stored apples are still edible or go out and buy local apples (at this time of the year?) organic or not? And what about the suet. Do you cater for vegetarians or go traditional with beef suet? So you go vegetarian – does it contain palm oil from a carefully managed source, or are you killing baby orang-utans? Have you got the fruit to sauce ratio right? Enough sugar (fair-trade raw cane sugar, of-course!) Almost enough to make you give up and just buy the damned things!

OK. We’ve sourced the mincemeat…

Pastry top or not?

And if you do decide to add a cap to it, (would you ever sell them topless?) traditional pastry or something a bit more modern – marzipan or frangipain perhaps? Round, star shaped, or something else? Decorations? What a holly-leaf shaped piece of pastry with that? Just how much time do you have when hand-making 100’s of the things anyway?

Finishing it off…

If you’ve got this far, you’ve made your mince pies, you might even have sold a few or given them to friends, but do they look OK? Worry not – icing sugar to the rescue! A light dusting covers a multitude of sins – trust me on that one, and look at the photo above…


Beware! Mincepies have the thermal properties of a small nuclear reactor. Freshly baked out of the oven, they’ll reduce your mouth to a melted mess. Microwaved to warm up? Oh no – they have the capacity to absorb all the energy the microwave can throw at it, and then some. A mincepie will sit on your plate, innocently looking appealing until you put it in your mouth. At that point, you’ll realise that the filling is still at a temperature that would make any nuclear scientist proud.

Top baker tip: Keep a glass of cold water handy. Helps out put the ensuing mincepie induced mouth fire.

Safe and enjoyable mincepie eating to everyone, everywhere!

An Afternoon Tea Party

Asked if we could manage an afternoon tea part for 100 guests for a wedding… The answer was of-course yes!

So… 15 loaves, 8 big cakes, 100 mini cup-cakes and more plain, fruit and cheese scones you can carry a bride over, along with lashings of ginger beer, pretty crockery, and teapots and this was the result:


It’s time for chickens, eggs, nests and all things yummy.

Coming to you from Moorbakes this week are vanilla Easter nests. Enjoy!

Waiting for the others to hatch...

Old photos

Although Moorbakes have been very poor at taking photos there have been a couple of occasions when we have felt that a record of our creativity has been required. Below is the back date of our previous offerings….the future holds better images……