Real bread and real happy hens. On the outskirts of a small Scottish village sits a wee piece of land, once empty fields, then a stable for bulls and now a place for proper bread and free-range eggies.
The Woodlea bakery begins mixing flours, refreshing sourdough starters and massaging dough on a thursday, ready for baking on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The amount of bread, cakes, scones and eggs sold from the tiny bakery in this tiny village over the three days is phenomenal.
Behind it all are Jock & Fiona; the kind of people you really want living on this planet. I find living by example the biggest way to truly influence people. Seeing first hand how positively a community can be effected by something so simple as providing a place to get good quality bread has been pretty astounding. It helps that Jock and Fiona are generous beyond belief, have a wicked curiosity about the world and are incredible teachers. It’s easy to be drawn back to places built by people with solid down-to-earth values.
Everyone who comes in seems to have a favourite loaf (and will inevitably mention the weather at least once – this seems a traditional Scottish greeting, especially when it rains). I’ve become a big fan of the 100% rye sourdough – similar to a German pumpernickel and one hell of a hazard to mix and bake as it’s cement-like consistency renders it sloppy and uncooperative. But once it’s baked ( after 4 hours in the oven!) it’s an absolute winner and pairs especially well with avocado and tomato. It also lasts a long while, the ultimate camping food.
The crusty half-sourdough baguettes seem to walk themselves out of the door, there’s even been times that customers stand around waiting for the next lot to come out of the oven after gasping in horror the empty baguette basket.
Apart from bread, there’s shelves of loaf cakes, fresh scones and baskets of biscuits. While we’ve been here, Fiona has allowed me to undergo some scone experimentation. Nothing overly Frankensteiny so far but some great successes with a spelt, blueberry & chocolate number, an orange and date and most recently an apricot and white chocolate scone.
And then there’s the eggs from our free range friends over in the field.
Learning to fold dough, experiment in the kitchen and ponder the thoughts of the zombie-like chicken flock have been a big part of our lives in the last few weeks. The more we see and learn, the more interest and creativity it seems to spark, how are we gonna leave? And there’s a new shop front to help build!
For now it’s back to clouds of flour, trying to understand Jock’s thick-as-cement Scottish accent and eating lots and lots of bread.