Friday evening and a whole load of bread is taken out of the freezer to defrost. Saturday was the Bread in Common baking day at Newcastle under Lyme Museum and Art Gallery.
Saturday morning and the bread is spread out on the table in the Museum. This is a selection of Roman, Tudor, Georgian and war-time bread, typical of the bread that would have been baked in North Staffordshire during these periods.
Skilled bakers were on hand to show visitors how to bake a simple Staffordshire Oaty Cob. Lots of people came in to talk about bread and bake a cob in a wood fired oven for free.
Baking in this type of oven is a highly skilled job, requiring lots of experience. The final bake has a distinctly woody flavour which cannot be replicated in a modern electric or gas oven. Visitors and participants were thrilled to make their own bread and take it home.
Of course, lunch was also cooked in the oven. Fresh home made pizza with asparagus and olives was a treat that made the day for me.
I also baked a Georgian Currant loaf for the first time. This old recipe was recorded from the time of the first steel bread tins, before bread was commonly baked in tins. The shape reflects the non-standard shape of these early loaves, often made in adapted cake tins or locally made tins of a similar size.