The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

help with Bermaline

qahtan's picture

help with Bermaline


 Any one know any thing about Bermaline bread. I find it is really difficult to get enough dough to fill the pan so that it comes out flat  on the top and on the bottom, enough dough, not too soft, only a tiny hint of yeast,  and I am thinking not a bread or strong flour as you don't want much rise. I have tried baking it right way up also upside down with a weight on it to keep it flat.  What it really wants is a lid like the Pullman loaf, that would make much easier. I have also wondered if it is made like a Boston steamed loaf but that has no yeast but does  have molasses. No molasses in Bermaline    any ideas on how to get a decent looking loaf with out that junky part on the bottom, ,,,,,                    thanks, qahtan

davidg618's picture

Always curious, I couldn't help my self. Here's links to a few things I found on line. Bermaline Bread was baked at Bermaline Bakery in Glasgow, Scotland. It opened in 1910. Here's an invitation to the opening.

Bermaline Bread was a Malt Bread. I recall there is at least one thread on TFL in search of an authentic recipe for UK Malt bread.

And there is a bakery in Ireland that still bakes and sells Bermaline Bread. Perhaps you could contact them, and ask for the formula, and guidance?

I'm only guessing, but it looks to me that the loaves are scaled such that, with oven spring, they fill the pan covering them, i.e., the opening flush with your baking stone or oven deck. The hole in the bottom is obviously there to prevent pressure building up when the loaves spring.

If not, here's one recipe I found online that may be close.

Had fun researching this.

Good luck!

David G

ananda's picture

Hi qahtan,

I see you've had discussions on Dan Lepard's forum, and have been using the formula from Edmund Bennion.

I note somebody brought up the idea of using Hovis meal, as that is enriched with wheatgerm, and is a coarse grind.

I'm really interested in the notes about semolina.   Of course, semolina in the period when Bennion wrote his text book, was unlikely to have been the durum wheat derivative so familiar today.   Instead , it would have been seen as a by-product from milling wholemeal flour to white...the others being, bran and middlings.

Fortunately I have some of this traditional semolina in College, as I buy some organic wheatflours produced locally and milled on the same farm in Northumberland, UK.   I have the semolina too, which is a by-product produced when grain is turned to unbleached white flour.   However, whether we have any malt extract in stock is another matter.   As soon as I casn get some I'll have a play in College, and see what I can come up with.   I don't have Bermaline tins, as such, but I do have some nice oval-shaped tins with a hole in the bottom, so I can improvise reasonably well.

Link, for anyone interested:



qahtan's picture

 HI Thanks for your suggestions, though I tried them even to telephoning Griffins Bakery in Ireland,  It was as I expected not forthcoming with any help, but as I figured nothing ventured nothing gained.

 I will just jiggle some more with the recipe and the weight until I am sure I will get it......   I did find that toasted wheat germ helped with the flavour.

    Thanks again for your help.   qahtan

davidg618's picture

be way ahead of my superficial finds, but I love looking for antique bread histories and references.

Please, keep us informed. If Griffin's can do it, so can you.

David G.

golfinstar's picture

Hi Guys. I'm not a baker. Until now, have had no interest in "Bready Stuff"...... But I LOVED Bermaline! In the mid-Sixties, I had a Saturday job in Leeds Market at a stall/shop called Winston's Cakes and Biscuits. Winston's sold Bermaline and I used to buy a loaf and take it home every weekend. Why am I joining this forum?...... Because I was hoping to find a speciality baker who's resurrected the glorious Bermaline and who's now selling it somewhere/somehow so I can buy it!!

PLEASE give me good news!!!!

PaddyL's picture

The Ballymaloe cookery school in Cork might be able to help.  Tim Allen was very kind and wrote to me a couple of times about that so-called buttermilk plant.

RobynNZ's picture

Hi Qahtan

Seeing this on the KAF Baking Banter blog, I thought of you, working to get your Bermaline loaf level. I realize that you have tried using a weigh on top as they have done with this, but it was the level they had allowed the dough rise to in the tin which caught my interest.  Anyway I hope this will give you another hint. Level or not I must say your Bermaline looks delicious. Have you made some more?

Here's the link:

Regards, Robyn