New bakery, new varieties, new outlets

This year has been a bit of a whirlwind.

At the end of last year I moved (again) to something that will be the Tower of Bagel home for the next 18 months. Based in Attercliffe, and part of a sparkling little community of business – sewing , ice cream making, fashion photography and pottery –  in a CADS-managed building.

Too much butter?

Having got 5 on my inspection (hooray!) i could steam full ahead and celebrated by breaking out into cinnamon and raisin.

I have often been asked about this variety and it has been some time coming together.

This followed a trial into gluten free bagels. I had struggled for a year to get this right with the first efforts going in the bin before they got to the oven!

With the new varieties have come new customers – New Roots on Glossop Road take a Friday delivery and every day you can get a filled bagel at the Showroom Cinema Cafe


Breathing life into Youlgrave

But times are altered; trade’s unfeeling train
Usurp the land and dispossess the swain;
Along the lawn, where scattered hamlet’s rose,
Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose

From The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith

Goldsmith was writing after the enclosures, when landowners set about dispossessing rural communities of their livelihood,  setting in train a chain of events that has impoverished so much of rural England since.

Many villages around England and all over Europe, steeped in history and tradition, private family myths and public claims to fame, have suffered the same slow blight. Population drift to cities – caused by the sort of actions by landowners that Goldsmith is referring to – a lack of young people and a consequent lack of investment;  a cycle hard to be broken.

But Youlgrave has fought back and  is far from deserted. 

Not long ago, Youlgreave Village Shop was a butchers and in need of  serious repair. Now, it is a lively trading post in the heart of this beautiful White Peak village. Youlgreave itself has a number of businesses and a thriving village hall, which i know from Klezmer Weekends.

While, The Action with Communities in Rural England put a lot of emphasis on Village Halls and have done some great work with Village Hall Networks, a shop can act as a second hall – for meetings – there is a mum and baby group – chat and networking.

When meeting Lisa to discuss how we can work together to make our businesses more successful, it was with awe at her bravery but maybe a bit of a raised eyebrow at the amount of work and financial investment the new look shop represents. How much air has she in her lungs to resuscitate the shop? Well, it turns out she has loads!

She told me how they bought the shop in October 2016 and its tumbledown state, the work commenced on December 5th last year and they opened in June 2017. A tight timescale by any standards. And they now have a space that teams with wonderful local quality products on the shelves (a really god flour range from Caldwells Mill, by the way, for you bakers out there) , a welcome cafe for walkers and cyclists and locals, and , as Lisa points out, a place for sustaining community. And of course, let’s not forget, they also have bagels.

So, Sheffield and Chesterfield cyclists and walkers, make sure you stop by if you are having a day out in the White Peak.

Let a thousand bagel varieties bloom

The other day someone asked me what bagels varieties i made. I went through them but slowly as i knew i would probably forget one or two if i tried to go fast.

Not quick enough for my interlocutor who tried to remind me ‘poppy seed, sesame seed, plain…’ she insisted. But, i explained, only one of these is true: plain. The Tower of Bagel seeded plain has a mix of flax poppy and sesame seed.

Nasturtium bagel and baba ganoush and tomato with black pepper

‘Do you do rye’, she asked. ‘I like rye’ she said ‘with caraway’.

Well i have done but it is not a staple. Just as i have done a rainbow bagel.

What about a marbled bagel. Nope.

What about a sourdough bagel. Nope.

Wild garlic bagels from the Spring

What about a gluten free bagel. Not yet.

The possibilities are endless, which is one of things i really like.

And most especially I  like also doing seasonal varieties like wild garlic in the spring (see to the right)  and nasturtium (pictured above) in the summer.

The key thing whatever the variety, is that the bagels are boiled in a kettle, and the end product is a chewy bite, close texture.


Chilli and chocolate bagel – an experimental experience

chill-choc-and-tahiniNot something i thought i would enjoy but i thought i should experiment and I was surprised. A subtle sweetness which is followed by a mist of heat moving from the throat to the front of the mouth.

But what would you have this with?

So, of course i asked the world according to Google. There are lots of ideas. I love the patronising : Try spreading them with unsalted butter. 

Not sure why unsalted – i dont think i have trouble spreading butter of any kind, salted or otherwise.

I tried light tahini and was pleased with the result. I also tried some Longley Farm cream cheese (available from Zeds) and this was very easy to like, nor was it difficult to spread .

So, there it is the Aztec Fire Bagel one of a number of  variations available from tower of bagel!


Love Mondays

Since my last post:

…we have been Trump-ed, and alt-righted – all of whom ought to be behind bars with Jo Cox’s murderer – and further Brexited, proponents of whom probably do not deserve that same sweeping statement. (or maybe they do?).

sun dried tomato and rosemary with butternut squash and spinach
sun dried tomato and rosemary with butternut squash and spinach

I mention this because having a handle on the real world is more important than the next Bagel.

On the other hand , i can only control the next Bagel so what’s happening?

Well, delicious things like the offering from cafe#9 is what has been happening. They have been getting a delivery on Mondays of freshly baked bagels and doing wonderful things inside them, like this butternut squash and spinach filled bagel.

You can follow then on twitter also.

Next Monday they are getting another batch of sundried tomato and rosemary bagels. Check it out.

If you are a cafe and check out our wholesale services


Where do bagels come from – a New Year story

Some say that bagels come from a time after Austria was saved by the Polish king. Famed for his horsemanship, they were formed in the shape of a beugel which is the Austrian word for stirrup.

Others say that when there was a famine, shaping rolls with hole in made it feel as if there was the same amount as before. There were also easy to carry on the long journeys to find better food supply.short tower of bagel

But actually they do not come from either of these things. Rather than being created as a present for the rich, or under times of famine, the bagel was created to remember how people helped each other at the time of the floods on New Year [read more…]

Half way to one scholarship – thankyou

half wayA while ago I announced that i would be looking to raise the cost of one scholarship for a Palestinian Woman to got University within the first year.

So far, we are half way there. Thank you everyone who has helped.

Small things from you:

  • every time you say keep the change, the money goes in the pot
  • every time you buy a lovely card painted by local artist Maggie Norman, £1 goes in the pot
  • at least 20% of profit from the cafe – so keep coming by to get your Monday lunch!


Andy Murray’s EU breakfast

Andy Murraybulgarian flag has said he has two bagels and watermelon for breakfast. Why not come along on Monday and do just that?

Next Monday, try our vegan TRT for breakfast (smoked tofu, rocket and tomato, with a lace of chilli sauce) and start the day with the Bulgarian flag.

Top this with a blueberry and cream cheese on a cinammon and raisin bagel (for your Finnish flag) and then slide down some watermelon (for some light relief).

Then play tennis!