Our first tour was a visit to the e5Bakehouse and proved to be a fantastic introduction to the world of craft food. The Bakehouse was started by Ben MacKinnon & is a great story of vision & inspiration - Ben's background is a degree in sustainability and a short lived career in renewable energy. After travelling to Spain and making his first loaf, Ben returned to the UK and enrolled in a 5 day specialist Sourdough course at the School of Artisan Food to learn the skills to start his own bakery.
From there he first borrowed (from a local pizza restaurant) and then, through a little trial & error, built his own wood-fired oven and started selling homemade bread door to door. Fast forward 4 years and the Bakehouse is now a thriving enterprise, running 24/7 spread over two railway arches, producing 1,000 loaves a day, as well as a delicious range of cakes & pastries, and employing 35 people.
We then hear more about the ingredients & most importantly the flour they use, all of which is organic. Ed explains how the Bakehouse is increasingly sourcing directly from UK farms who are growing diverse and ancient varieties of wheat. These are not only more flavoursome, but are of course more sustainable. Suppliers such as Cann Mill, Maple Farm and Gilchester’s Organics provide them with the first rate UK organic flour which continues to feed the ongoing evolution of the Bakehouse and fuel their mission to use exclusively UK wheat.
Finally we return to the second arch and take a seat as Ed introduces the loaves we have to taste. Starting with Hackney Wild we take a journey through 8 different types of bread, each making mental notes so we can go and buy one of our freshly baked favourites after the tour.
All in all it was a fantastic tour - a lot to take in, but truly inspiring both in the Bakehouse vision for a sustainable food chain, but also in the quality of the bread produced!
The Bakehouse in numbers:-
35 wholesale deliveries are made a day
20 miles are biked a day for deliveries
100 loaves can be baked at a time
1,000 loaves baked a day
12 different types of sourdough are on offer
200 years old is the age of the bakery’s starter, which is said to have come from Lapland
12 to 48 is the number of hours the leaven needs to be left before baking