- Eight metres of raw, untreated flax linen.
- Five plastic mushroom crates
- One tall, larder fridge
- A 16kg sack of organic rye, wholegrain and strong white bread flour.
- One 50kg cement mixing tub.
I obtained the lot for the sum of £38.00. Ebay, and a healthy dose of entrepreneurial spirit. The mission was to bake and sell 16 sourdoughs. Our good friends at Sweet Thursday Restaurant had agreed to let us use the pizza oven for a trial run on a Saturday morning, provided we were out by 7am.
On the 16th April 2013 I woke up at 4.30am, got in my dad's car and drove 16 unbaked loaves to the restaurant. To my great relief they sprung up on the hot stone and crusted beautifully. I slung the loaves in a sack, got on my bike and dropped a few samples off in cafes round the area. I didn't have any idea what I was getting myself into. Today we've repeated this process 64 times - every Saturday for the past 15 months, barring one week when I had a funeral to attend. A 5:00am start every Saturday is no joke when you work regular hours from Monday to Friday, and enjoy a Friday night drink like everyone else does. We're now at capacity, selling 45 loaves a week. We've obtained £30,000 in startup funding, had £4,000 worth of kitchen equipment donated, had a 40 foot freight container donated to us to use full time as of September, delivered baking workshops to 35 young people, and begun consulting with 6 young offenders for the youth employment program we'll be rolling out in a few months. It's been a mind boggling year. As I write this 25 kg of dough is fermenting in two buckets beside me. We've had to start using ice cubes in the dough to bring down the temperature. Summer time last year we learnt the hard way. Nothing breaks a bakers heart like the sound of gas seeping from the loaves when they're turned out before hitting the oven. You end up with a flat, scraggly mess of a loaf; not the proud and fully-bloomed picture of humankind's most significant nutritional discovery.
The miracle of wheat fermentation is capturing the heart of bread-enthusiasts around the country. Over the next few years we'll be working to enlist the captivating properties of bread making to get lives back on track: 17-24yr olds who have lost faith in the system will, we hope, find meaning in life - find optimism - through working as employees in our bakery. Please follow and share our story. We look forward to keeping you updated!
Love and respect
The Dusty Knuckle.