Tom and Dom from Loaf have been rightly annoyed with me for not having put the fabulous Loaf Community Bakery on the Birmingham Food Map yet. A source of great shame; when we conceived the map project my plan was to post one item per day until we were exhausted of all options. However, it was not to be, due to burn-out from non-blog projects.
Yet, I don’t feel that bad, as I figure if you already read this blog, and are therefore an afficionado of the Birmingham food scene, you must know of Loaf already, which serves as a kind of beacon for those interested in food in the City. But anyway, sorry to Tom and Dom and pleased I can correct this wrong now!
So what to say about Loaf Community Bakery – originally a ‘bread club’, a subscription-based bakery run from Tom’s house and domestic oven, he has since harnessed the support of his community to set up a fully-fledged bakery and cookery school in a shop front on Stirchley High Street. Tom has strong ideas about the power of projects such as his, not just to supply great food, but to help communities ‘save’ their local high streets from shuttering and the inexorable creep of the major supermarkets.
The way I look at it: these guys bake what is easily the best bread in Birmingham, bar absolutely no-one. Properly made, hand-shaped crusty sourdough, part-rye loaves like the ‘Maslin’ and dark, treacly all-rye tin varieties. Great big bloomin’ bloomers, multi-grain loaves and specialty breads like focaccias and brioche. You might also find a sticky bun or two if they haven’t sold out.
It’s not just bread, there is a (most) weekly Friday lunch club called Stirchley Brewhouse, with a rotating menu of sandwiches and hot food, usually one meat and one vegetarian option, with Sarah Frost’s amazing cakes to have afters.
There are occasional pop-ups, including the highly-rated CANeat event which a no-choice set menu of progressive and innovative food (5* review from Paul Fulford).
There is also the cookery school which hosts a variety of interesting events. I have been on the Simply sourdough course which I can highly recommend, there are other bread-making courses, foraging, clay oven building, fish and seafood (run by blog co-writer Lap), pickling and preserves, and many more!
The opening hours are informed by the baking schedule, so it is open 2pm-7pm Tuesday-Friday and then they do an overnight bake on Friday so open 8.15am-2pm on Saturday. But not Sunday or Monday.
Loaf Community Bakery and Cookery School, 1421 Pershore Road, Stirchley, Birmingham