Food: UIster’s ‘krazi’ baker set to flex his flour power

Krazi Baker Mark Douglas
Krazi Baker Mark Douglas

Catch baker Mark Douglas at this weekend’s Garden Show Ireland at Antrim Castle Gardens

Mark Douglas is a bit of a character, he called his business The Krazi Baker and is so enthusiastic about his own brand of baking that you can’t help but smile when you meet him.

The Lisburn native has baking in his blood. He started as an apprentice at his uncle’s bakery when he was 16, although his current idea of street food came to him later on in life.

Whilst Mark was travelling throughout Europe on various city breaks he noticed a gap in the market back home in Northern Ireland for tasty street food,

“You’d see every product under the sun, but never bread baked on site.

‘‘I was wondering how to do this and when I went back to work, the answer was staring me in the face - hotplates and soda bread.”

He started up on his own and now takes his own brand of Street Food to events province-wide as well as giving lessons at his own baking school.

“I think what sets me apart from other bakers is what I do and the fact I had the idea and the want to bake on site as it takes skill, lots of energy and lots of planning.

‘‘I love the fact that you can take simple ingredients such as flour and buttermilk and make so many varieties of bread. You buy my goods straight from the griddle without additives or preservatives and you see it being made.”

The NI Year of Food & Drink 2016 has set up the perfect platform for artisan producers like Mark and he will be embracing the May theme of ‘Landscapes and Places’ over the coming weeks as he attends the much anticipated Allianz Garden Show Ireland at Antrim Castle Gardens, which runs until tomorrow.

“The 2015 Show was a great weekend for foodies, the food on offer was superb and the atmosphere was brilliant, it was a lively and fun and definitely one of the best events I went to last year.”

For more information about Mark visit his website www.krazibaker.co.uk and to book tickets for the Garden Show Ireland visit www.gardenshowireland.com

Cheese and Bacon Soda

Ingredients

100g Cheese

4 rashers bacon, chopped

500g Andrews Mill soda bread flour

320/340ml Butter milk

Dash of Broighter rapeseed oil

Instructions

Put the flour into a bowl with the rapeseed oil. Then add a handful each of smoked cured bacon. (I used Pheasant’s Hill Farm’s one) and some grated mature cheddar or cheese of your choice (Kearney Blue, Leggygowan or Dale Farm would all be good).

Add the buttermilk and then mix around gently with your hand until you have a pliable dough. It will be sticky by nature.

Turn out onto a floured surface. Divide into four. Knead each piece gently into a ball and pat gently.

Bake on a preheated griddle or heavy skillet. Turn sodas after 7/8 minutes on each side.

If you want to make a bannock or loaf, don’t divide up the dough. Just shape it and cut a cross across the dough to allow it to bloom.

Bake in a preheated oven at 220c for 25/30 mins.

Notes

The smell is awesome. The taste is even better, especially with some Abernethy butter!

TIP: Cut any stale bread into cubes and toast for croutons