The Rex Baker has uncompromising artisan standards. But we’ve had a few challenges in maintaining these – anyone notice paper bags, sausage rolls, baguettes for starters? There’s a lot that’s new to us as we launch our artisan bakery and the Rex Baker is clear that the very best ingredients, excellence in crafting the breads & buns and a delicious, wholesome end product are not to be messed with – even if we have hiccups along the way to get there.
So in the past weeks he has binned a tray of apple & cinnamon whirls because they didn’t look the part (Shame! Could have tasted Yummmm!), replaced customers’ baguettes because he thought the rise was insufficient resulting in too skinny a baguette and has been intensely reviewing all aspects of the humble Sausage Roll.
The Rex Baker won “Best Sausage Roll” in the fiercely-fought Chalfont St Giles annual show last year – and they really are special if we say so ourselves. But when hand crafting to sell at scale, every element is under scrutiny to deliver perfection.
Starting with the sausagemeat – we’ve got to know the best butchers in the whole Chilterns area over the years & have been exhaustively (& exhaustingly) comparing their offering. We know this is important for taste & texture, but also quality standards – when your son won’t eat dozens of different sausages because “they’re just not nice” & you hear multiple food scares about the identity & completeness & even health of the animal meat – the latest here – you want to be sure you found the best available. We think we found & now use the best 2 or 3 in fact, but post a comment if you have another favourite you think we should try! We add chopped onion, garlic, herbs & a “family secret” ingredient to our sausagemeat and voila!
The Rex Baker then of course makes his puff pastry by hand, using only highest quality French unsalted butter, as used by the best patisseries. It has an outstanding flavour and low water content to create just the right balance between pastry flake & melt-in-the mouth richness. At least 4 hours are allowed for the pastry to rest after each of 4 fold & turns to make 24+ layers of puff pastry, so this is not fast food!
Finally the Rex Baker rolls out to a generous same size & places the same quantity of sausagemeat on each pastry square before rolling & egg washing & baking. Last week he thinks he just rolled too thick – this meant the sausage rolls should have still tasted delicious but too much pastry to meat makes for a really super-sized sausage roll and not enough pastry to go round all those other hungry shoppers. So this week is about perfecting the roll thickness & ratio to meat.. we will get there!
In the meantime, we love our yellow Rex triangle cards but the flimsy brown paper bags have to go. We will double bag from now on & find a new supplier, fast!! If you love what you do, it all matters. Do tell us if there’s anything at all not up to high standard, we love & rely on your feedback so that you will love Rex Bakery too