My grandfather, David Herbert, grew up a baker’s son. He used to tell us that on cold winter nights he would sleep in the warm bakery on top of the dough trough. Baking needed to start before the cock crows, and this was before alarm clocks were around. The warmth from the heat of the wood oven made the dough inside the trough rise slowly, tipping him off when it was time to start baking. Back then yeast was expensive so, by using just a tiny bit, dough made in the evening would rise really slowly overnight, ready to make a perfect loaf by morning. We still make our Sherston, Tiger and Cottage loaves with the same long and slow method. The taste of the bread made with overnight dough is incomparable; it naturally keeps really well and it makes the best toast in the world. Ninety plus years on, it’s still our most popular bread. We might not sleep on the dough trough anymore, but we still pass on the tales, traditions, skills and recipes to the next generation. On a dark frosty morning, there’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be.
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