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A Magazine for Sheffield

Freshly Baked

To celebrate all that is baked, we spoke to Mark from Roses The Bakers and Alexa from Aesthete Coffee + Kitchen.

Treating yourself to quality baking, whether sweet or savoury, will brighten up any grey day. The tantalising aroma of freshly-baked bread alone can be enough to tempt you into a bakery.

For a taste of what you can get in Sheffield, take a look on Instagram. You can enjoy artisan gluten-free bakes from The Suited Baker, beautifully-crafted Danish rye bread from Gerry's in Walkley and classic Portuguese custard tarts from Forge Bakehouse.

To celebrate all that is baked, we spoke to Mark from Roses The Bakers and Alexa from Aesthete Coffee + Kitchen to hear more about their passion.

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Aesthete Coffee + Kitchen

What do you love about baking?

It's probably a cliche but it's true: baking is very therapeutic. The whole procedure is calming and takes my mind off the daily struggles - as long as it goes according to plan. When it doesn't, it's stressful!

Nevertheless, it always excites me. When I know I have a baking day, I cannot wait to get out of bed and start baking. Some mornings I find myself wide awake at 4am thinking of the ultimate cake combinations.

What are your favourites to bake?

At Christmas time, I was reminded by a family member about a bake I'd made a couple of years ago and was dumbfounded by the obvious question: Why did I ever stop making this epic bake?

The Nutella Baklava consists of layers of sticky, crispy but also buttery filo pastry, lashings of Nutella and finely-chopped roasted nuts, all baked in the oven and then soaked in a honey and cinnamon syrup. It's the traditional Greek dessert, modernised.

Layer cakes are my forte. I always strive to find the most unique combinations. I believe this is appreciated by my lovely customers, who try them and often order them as celebration cakes.

What are your top tips for home bakers?

Practice really does make perfect. As a self-taught baker, I look at past bakes and laugh at my lack of experience. Do not give up. That's the worst thing you could do.

Start off by finding a trustworthy recipe. If you are an amateur baker, or even an experienced one (it certainly has caught me off-guard plenty of times), please, for the love of the baking gods, avoid Pinterest at all costs! If you follow the instructions from a trusted cookbook or a passed-down family favourite recipe, there's no way it won't turn out delicious.

Where are your favourite places to go for sweet bakes?

As a baker, who bakes roughly seven days a week, when I do want to treat myself to a sweet delight that I haven't actually made myself, I tend to indulge in something completely different to my own bakes.

Chatsworth Farm Shop is excellent. They have a beautiful display of the freshest scones, cream horns, fruit tarts and cheesecakes. They're more traditional English delights that bring back childhood memories and they are the sort of bakes I don't typically create myself.

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Roses The Bakers

Tell us about what you do at Roses.

Roses was established in 1940 by Jim Rose. We're now into our third generation, with Jim's granddaughter Seuranie running the business. We have the same ethos we always have: use the best ingredients and craft skills to create a great product.

Our bakery was originally based at the top of Ecclesall Road. In 1998, we moved to a purpose-built premises at Atlas. We still have a shop at the same location on Ecclesall Road, as well as shops at Millhouses, Crosspool, Atlas and our most recent opening at Fulwood.

You can also find our products across Sheffield in places such as Smoke BBQ, Fat Hippo and Chatsworth House.

What can we expect to find you baking?

All our bread is baked fresh each morning. The bakers start at 2am! We have a wide range of bread, from small white loaves to sourdough, multiseed, rye bread and our infamous wheaten.

Each shop has their own ovens to bake savouries throughout the day. These include pork and apple rolls, sweet chilli rolls, spinach and garlic pasties and other familiar favourites.

Our confectionery is all made by hand by a skilled team of confectioners. Our bestsellers include chocolate sacha slice, chocolate brownie, mille feuille and, of course, gingerbread men.

All our shops make fresh hot and cold sandwiches to order, with our bestseller being hot roast pork.

What are your top baking tips?

Keep it simple! You only need four ingredients to make great bread: flour, water, salt and yeast. Accuracy and precision are important if you want to create a consistent product. It's not like cooking where you can throw a little of this, and a little of that into the recipe. Baking is like a science.

Where do you get inspiration for new bakes?

Being members of the International Richemont Club, we regularly visit fellow member's bakeries on the continent to pick up new ideas. Some staff have attended bakery courses at the prestigious Richemont Bakery School in Lucerne, Switzerland.

We have a 'Bread of the Month', which is currently chilli and cheese artisan. A recent favourite was German hausbrot, which contained San Francisco sourdough, soft grains and rye flour. We continually innovate and try new ideas, some of which take off, others that don't. You can never stand still!

Next article in issue 144

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