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Bob's Bread, Norwich UK

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theoldmancunian's picture
theoldmancunian

Bob's Bread, Norwich UK

My wife has challenged me to bake a loaf like one that was widely sold in wholefood shops in Norwich UK  in the 80s (she's named one particular shop, Renaissance in St Benedict Street). It was (?colloquially?) known as Bob's Bread.

From what I can gather it was a dense wholewheat loaf, possibly malted, without much of a rise to it (hence the alternative name, 'Bob's Bricks').

It did exist, that much I know, and isn't just a false memory of her student days, as we have found a mention of it in a blog post by someone who was also at university at around that time. But we cannot track a baker or recipe for it.

If by any chance anyone out there has any knowledge of this bread and can share any thoughts about how to produce it, you'd make my wife a happy woman!

Yeti's picture
Yeti

I wasn't born until half way through the 80s so I can't really chime in with a recipe, but that's a bloody brilliant name for a loaf of bread! :D

Shmoush's picture
Shmoush

I too have recently started trying to source the recipe for Bob's Bread, which was my staple diet as a student in Norwich in the early 80s.  A friend of mine is also trying to find it, as her husband has recently taken up bread making.  The only clue we have is that Bob now lives in Brighton and doesn't bake bread any more!  Sorry, but would love to know if you find any more.

theoldmancunian's picture
theoldmancunian

Some luck in tracking down a recipe!

I've posted what I have and some photos here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/33052/bobs-bread-norwich-uk#comment-321747

Kazza's picture
Kazza

I was in Norwich in the late 80s & loved Bobs bread.  Would love 2 recreate something similar,  it was delicious.  Did u have any luck finding a recipe? 

theoldmancunian's picture
theoldmancunian

so far no joy in getting hold of a recipe but my wife has recently, I think, found a link to someone who may have worked with Bob. She's going to follow it up and if I can find anything out, I'll update this thread!

theoldmancunian's picture
theoldmancunian

I've had some luck in tracking down a recipe. 

Some possible recipes and some photos here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/33052/bobs-bread-norwich-uk#comment-321747

theoldmancunian's picture
theoldmancunian

I've had some luck in tracking down a recipe. 

Some possible recipes and some photos here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/33052/bobs-bread-norwich-uk#comment-321747

drogon's picture
drogon

sounds like a Rye bread to me .. The sort of breads a UK wholefoods shop in the 80's might well be making...

-Gordon

theoldmancunian's picture
theoldmancunian

At last a lead! My wife has tracked down someone who worked in the bakery back in the day, who has sent through this sketch of a recipe:

'First start off fresh yeast with a bit of malt syrup. Second, add water, veg oil, salt, wholemeal flour and sesame seeds, mix for a bit and leave to rise for thirty minutes. After this, divide up into loaf sized bits of dough, knead well and put into greased tins. Rise for at least half an hour and bake in a hot oven.'

I guess it's down to us to experiment until we get something that fits the bill .... all suggestions for workable recipes grateful received!I'm working on one at the moment using

  • 70% wholewheat
  • 30% strong white
  • 20% sourdough starter
  • 85% water
  • 10% toasted sesame seeds
  • 5% mix of malt extract and molasses
  • 2% salt
  • 0.6% red malt
  • 0.4% yeast

No idea what it's going to be like but we'll see. I suspect the flavour will be in the right zone, but it won't come near my wife's memories of a dense loaf .... I'll post the results.

 

theoldmancunian's picture
theoldmancunian

theoldmancunian's picture
theoldmancunian

Feedback on the sourdough loaf was very positive, but the consensus seems to be that the original was a yeasted loaf, so I've had a go at that too, using

  • 70% wholewheat
  • 30% strong white
  • 10% toasted sesame seeds
  • 80% water
  • 2% yeast
  • 2% salt
  • 7% mix of malt extract and molasses
  • 0.6% red malt

It seems to be quite successful, though I need to adjust the temperature; it was a bit crusty for my liking.