The best thing since sliced bread…
A baker has created Britain’s most expensive bread – a 2kg loaf which costs a staggering £21.
The Shepherd Loaf is hand-crafted from organic Somerset spelt flour, Cotswolds spring water, Cornish sea salt and raised by a secret 55-year-old sourdough recipe.
The loaves were created by Tom Herbert, 33, who sells over 100 every week by mail-order and at his four Hobbs House Bakery shops in the Cotswolds.
The 5th generation baker counts footballer Tony Adams, actress Liz Hurley, artist Damien Hirst and rocker Keith Allen amongst his customers.
Father-of-four Tom, who lives in Nailsworth, Glos., admitted the Shepherd Loaf may seem ”horrifically overpriced” but promised people will ”taste the difference”.
He said: ”It is a work of art. I used a special flour called spelt that was brought to Britain by the Romans, a natural yeast called sourdough and Cotswold spring water.
”It took me six months to get the recipe right using the most expensive ingredients I could find and you certainly won’t find this wrapped in plastic down at Tesco’s.
”It’s definitely Britain’s most expensive loaf and I know it may seem horrifically overpriced but when you taste it you really know the difference.
”I don’t understand why people will spend £20 on some quality cheese and then eat it from supermarket bread – that just doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Tom spent six months developing his recipe for the perfect loaf, which he completed in October last year.
Each Shepherd Loaf measures 10in by 10in and stands 4in tall and takes two days from start to finish after the dough is handmade out of the finest ingredients.
The sourdough, which allows the bread to rise, is made from a secret 55-year-old Herbert family recipe which was handed down to Tom from his father Trevor.
Tom’s team of bakers then carry out a complicated double rising process before baking the loaves. He won’t provide any more details to protect his secret recipe.
The Shepherd Loaf has even featured on BBC documentary ‘The Perfect Loaf’, which aired recently and attracted over one million viewers.
Tom added: ”People forget that 90 per cent of bread is mass-produced and shouldn’t technically be called bread at all.
”There is no fermentation, it’s not made from all natural ingredients and untouched by human friends during the whole process.
”So that’s why I created the Shepherd Loaf – it was meant to be the ultimate bread, something for special occasions but we have been selling over 100 every week.”
* The Shepherd Loaf can be mail-ordered online in a special presentation box from www.hobbshousebakery.co.uk