Baker of the Week - Your Davey Bread

Baker of the Week - Your Davey Bread

Your Davey Bread Wins Seeded Sourdough Category At Britain's Best Loaf 

The UK's best bakers love Matthews Cotswold Flour, and we have another award winning baker to spotlight this month - Dave de la Riviere from Your Davey Bread. We caught up with Dave to find out more about his recent success at Britain's Best Loaf, and to see what role Cotswold Flour played in his process... 

Q&A with Dave from Your Davey Bread

How long have you been baking and how did you get started?
"I'm relatively new to baking, I started in the pandemic (2020) when working from home and a neighbour offered me some sourdough starter. I baked a lot of frisbee loaves as I learnt from YouTube and books, and gradually progressed to edible loaves that I started giving away to neighbours. In January 2023 I opened Your Davey Bread, offering pre-order and pickup of sourdough loaves from our front porch in Swallowfield, Berkshire.

"This is still the core of the business, although we now do village markets, fetes and supply the local tea room in Riseley with tea cakes and cinnamon rolls. I attended a micro bakery course with Wayne Caddy in 2023 which really taught me how to produce consistent results and how to scale up from a few loaves to batches. I still work in IT, the bakery is a hobby gone rogue that now takes up my weekends."

How does it feel to have won Britain's Best Loaf?
"It's amazing, I'm so proud my Seeded Sourdough ('Uncle Tom Cobbler N'all') won its category against tough and established competition. The judges comments were so complimentary too. There is an element of disbelief as I'm a micro baker, one guy in his back room with a small mixer and a small oven.

"I'm thankful too, to the persistent people who convinced me to enter as well as the lovely set of customers we have that allow me to bake in sufficient quantities to learn the intricacies of sourdough baking."

What can you tell us about your award winning loaf?
"I like my loaves to have funny, pun based names, and ran a competition last autumn for customers to submit loaf ideas and names. Our neighbour and staunch supporter, Mel, came up with the idea of 'Uncle Tom Cobbler N'all' to be a loaf using cobbler/malted flour and the 'n'all' was to cover any ingredients I needed to use up.

"I experimented with adding various percentages of malted flour to my standard country loaf, until we hit the sweet spot of taste and texture. (This also took a few experiments with the hydration level of the dough). The dough is then covered in poppy seeds and semolina to give the crust some more crunch."

What do you like about the Cotswold Crunch, and why did you make it part of your Britain's Best Loaf winning recipe?
"Cotswold Crunch has a great aroma when baked and is easy to incorporate into a recipe. The malted wheat flakes give a little welcome bite and texture."

Do you use any other Cotswold Flour in your bakes?
"I have a 'Pretty Rye, for a white guy' loaf that is a white and Cotswold Dark Rye blend. I also use the Dark Rye in the Levain for my sourdough ciabatta crowns, which gives them some oomph.

"'Merry Berry' was a loaf we made at Christmas, that uses Cotswold Ancient Crunch flour along with toasted walnuts and cranberry. That produces a beautiful soft loaf that I'm looking to bring back in the summer with different inclusions."

How did you find out about Matthews Cotswold Flour?
"I was aware of Matthews Cotswold Flour through being stocked in Waitrose, and more recently through Elaine Boddy."

What are you planning to do next?
"I have been asked that a lot, and the honest answer is I don't know. I would like to expand to be able to offer my bread in more shops, cafes and restaurants. We are now selling out every weekend so perhaps its time for a second oven and some help. I have also been considering running beginner sourdough workshops."

Regenerative Flour
"I have been intrigued by Regen flour since I heard about it, and the message about soil health needs to be shouted from the rooftops. We have an opportunity to change the way we farm so that the soil heals, which we have to grasp. I'm not a scientist by any stretch, but the regen flours I have used so far are really high quality and consistent, so its a win/win from my perspective."

You can find out more about (and order from) Your Davey Bread here

Well done to Dave for his fantastic win, and to all of our other terrific customers who took part in Britain's Best Loaf 2024!

*Images provided by British Baker Magazine - Top: Left - Dave de la Riviere, Your Davey Bread, Right - Amy North, Editor at British Baker. Bread Image: Uncle Tom Cobbler N'all.  


Older Post