With a name guaranteed to invoke much hilarity among children, Dorset knobs are a local speciality. Read on if you are interested in finding out more about them:
- Originally Dorset knobs were made from leftover bread dough with added butter and sugar, hand-rolled and left to dry in the dying heat of the oven.
- These days they are still made from bread dough which contains extra sugar and butter. They are rolled and shaped by hand and baked three times. Once cooked, they are roughly the size of a golf ball, very crumbly and rather like a dry, hard breadstick. They keep crisp and tasty in a tin for months. Don’t be fooled by the picture, they are much crispier than a bread roll.
- It is thought their name comes from the hand-sewn Dorset knob buttons that were also made locally. They have also been compared, in size, to door knobs.
- In the past there were a number of producers of Dorset knobs. Today the only firm to produce them commercially is Moores Biscuits of Morcombelake, four miles west of Bridport. They have been making them for more than 130 years.
- The company makes roughly two million knobs a year but only during January and February. The 8 – 10 hour process means they are not economically viable to produce for longer. By the start of March the demand for sweet biscuits has increased again after the New Year lull and the company returns to its profitable and less labour-intensive biscuits.
- The knobs are now baked in Moores factory in Bridport. Moores still has a Craft Bakery Shop in Morcombelake. Visitors can buy biscuits and knobs there and also look around their art gallery of West Country paintings and bakery bygones.
- They can be eaten with cheese (traditionally Blue Vinny), dipped in tea or cider, or taken with honey and cream. This is known locally as thunder and lightning.
- Dorset knobs were a favourite food of local author Thomas Hardy. He liked them with stilton cheese.
- The Dorset Knob Throwing Festival has been held the first Sunday in May since 2008. As well as throwing them, other knob-related activities at the food festival included guess the weight of the knob, the knob and spoon race, knob darts and knob painting. Since 2017 it has been held in Kingston Maurward College, near Dorchester. Late 2019 organisers said the college had now ended the arrangement and the 2020 festival has been cancelled while they search for a new venue. They insist the festival will return in 2021.
- Dorset knobs are normally sold in a bag or tin in Dorset delicatessens, farm shops and independent food stores. I think our nearest stockist is Harbour News and Groves Nursery. They would make a nice little present to say thank you to someone who has been watering your garden / feeding your goldfish / looking after your hamster (etc) while you holiday in West Dorset. But be warned, supplies are limited. When they’re gone, they’re gone, until next year anyway.
If you fancy a holiday near the home of the Dorset knob we’d love to welcome you to West Bay Cottage! Please take a look inside the cottage or head to our Enquire and Book page for availability, the rates and how to book.