Suffolk chef Henrietta launches second cookery book

Young patissiere Henrietta Inman, at her Suffolk home and workplace.

Young patissiere Henrietta Inman, at her Suffolk home and workplace. - Credit: Archant

The Natural Baker celebrates ancient grains and flours and natural sweeteners.

Hot on the heels of her first cookery book, Clean Cakes – an ode to gluten and dairy-free treats – Suffolk pastry chef Henrietta Inman is set to launch her second tome, The Natural Baker.

While Clean Cakes was written in response to Henrietta’s clients, who wanted alternatives to refined sugars, flour and dairy, The Natural Baker (released on March 22) is the chef’s love letter to all the new, exciting, flavour-packed ingredients she discovered during the journey of her first book. And while not gluten or dairy-free this time, recipes stick closely to nature and what the bounty of the land can offer.

“I wanted to make really delicious things in the first book that happened to be free-from and quite nourishing as well and that was really great,” says Henrietta. “It led me to discover new ingredients like teff flour and buckwheat flour. They were free-from, but the main thing is they were so delicious. For me, baking is all about the flavours of the ingredients.”

The Natural Baker is laced with gorgeous lifestyle photography portraying the baker at work, and splits into chapters that span from breakfast, through crackers and breads, cakes and biscuits, lunches, dinners and desserts with an emphasis on wholegrains and natural sweeteners throughout, but using plain flour or golden caster sugar where they’re vital to the integrity of a recipe.

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“I’ll never abandon the proper sponge cake I learnt from my granny, with white sugar and white flour, but I think for so long you opened cookery books and they’ve been filled with refined ingredients. There are so many lovely alternatives out there and actually plain sugar and plain flour don’t have much flavour, but less processed flours and natural sweeteners add so much more flavour and texture.

“I’m going back to using more heritage grains. More British grains, because overall I prefer to use things grown in our country. I think using a bit of teff or brown rice flour as well is not a crime as long as I know where it’s come from and that the farmers are being supported. It makes cooking very interesting.”

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Intriguing combinations, making use of fresh fruit, herbs, honey and spices lead to a very interesting book indeed. A flick through reveals chestnut drop scones with lemon thyme baked peaches and ricotta, a cake made with orange, buckwheat and olive oil with a marmalade syrup, elderflower and rose cake, pistachio, cranberry and cardamom sable biscuits, roast garlic, shallot and gorgonzola pasties, and bread and butter pudding with sherry-soaked figs.

“I just think there’s space for everything, whether that be a vegan bake, or bread and butter pudding. For that recipe I used sourdough and lovely butter. It’s quite indulgent. We all look to eat a bit healthier in the week and more indulgent at the weekend I think. It’s about balance and this book has a bit of everything.”

Henrietta’s Suffolk spelt, quinoa and barley loaf

(makes 1)


75g quinoa, 500g wholegrain spelt flour (plus more to dust), 75g barley flakes, 3.5tsp sea salt flakes, 1/2tbsp dried yeast, 250g lukewarm water, 50g extra virgin cold-pressed rapeseed oil (plus more to handle the dough), 50g natural yoghurt, 1tsp honey


Place the quinoa in a pan with 200g water. Boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa cooked but still a little al dente. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl mix the spelt flour, cooled quinoa, barley flakes and salt. Make a well and add the yeast. Pour over the warm water to dissolve it. Add the oil, yoghurt and honey and mix to bring together. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. If it feels sticky add a little flour to your hands, the dough and surface while kneading. Leave in a cool-ish place in a bowl, cover with a teatowel and let it rise overnight or for eight hours. Line a baking sheet. Turn the dough onto a worksurface and punch out the air then knead for a minute. Shape into a round, place on the baking sheet and rise for one hour. Set the oven to 220C. Once the dough is risen cut three slits on top with a sharp knife.

Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the oven to 190C and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a golden-brown crust has formed and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

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