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LoveBread - a community bakery in Brighouse is spreading the word about real bread

PUBLISHED: 13:04 14 July 2015 | UPDATED: 13:45 24 October 2015

Pic Joan Russell
Baking and community event day at LoveBread Artisan Bakery in Brighouse.Baker Fran Lister.Sultana and honey rolls.

Pic Joan Russell Baking and community event day at LoveBread Artisan Bakery in Brighouse.Baker Fran Lister.Sultana and honey rolls.

Joan Russell Photography

Paul Mackenzie reports. Photographs by Joan Russell

Pic Joan Russell
Baking and community event day at LoveBread Artisan Bakery in Brighouse.Pic Joan Russell Baking and community event day at LoveBread Artisan Bakery in Brighouse.

A visit to a bakery in Slawick was a turning point for a primary school teacher from Brighouse. Staff there suggested Carole Roberts should bake her own and although she had never made a loaf before, she went home inspired and she now runs a community bakery in her home town.

She is out of bed at 5.30 each morning and the first loaves are in the ovens a short time later. The artisan bread Carole and a team of volunteers make is now available from their bakery and from shops, cafes and pubs in the town and nearby villages.

‘I was not a foodie person,’ Carole said. ‘I liked my food, but I wasn’t into cooking at all but bread has a bit of magic to it. It takes your mind off things, it takes you to a place where you’re not thinking about other things and makes you focus and it keeps your focus.

‘It never fails to be fantastic when it comes out of the oven. Every day I think it looks great when it comes out and I don’t think you ever lose that buzz.’

Carole left her primary school teaching job last September and is now the LoveBread bakery’s only full-time member of staff.

‘The idea came from the Handmade Bakery in Slawick. I was talking to someone there and asked where I could buy their bread, they said I should make my own. I’d never done that but I went home and made some and it was really lovely. There was no-one locally doing it. I was a primary school teacher until last September and thought it would be nice to teach people to do it.

‘I talked to a few people and they were interested and we have scaled up from there. We recruited lots of volunteers and it grew until it reached a point where it was easier to do it than not act.’

They made their first loaves in 2012, using the kitchens at Rastrick High School and they ran workshops where Carole shared the basics of baking. They opened their bakery in a converted electrical workshop a year later and LoveBread is now a Community Interest Company which provides the daily bread for people in Brighouse and across Calderdale.

‘We are not a big operation but that’s the point,’ Carole added. ‘We have set the business up so we are surrounded by fantastic people. Every day is a different experience and we just have a lovely time. This week I have taught 20 scouts and this morning I have been taking the bread to a new customer.’

Among the first to join Carole’s band of bakers was her old friend Fran Lister who fits in a day a week at the bakery alongside her work with the local council.

Fran said: ‘We took 50 loaves to the spring craft market in Brighouse in 2012 and we sold out really quickly and that made us realise it was a good idea. People wanted to get involved and we expanded gradually.

‘We were just going to have a bakery but people wanted to come and buy bread from us and we wanted to help teach other people to make real bread. We have been running courses for a couple of years and most are sold out. Quite often people come to a workshop then volunteer with us.

‘We moved in to an old electrical workshop and converted it into a bakery and we now have the unit next door where we have created a teaching kitchen where we hold bread-making classes for community groups. We are working on developing the kitchen and getting more use from it – we’d like to encourage other food producers to come in and demonstrate as well, showing how to make curries or other foods.

‘A second bakery would be ideal in the future and would mean we provide bread to a wider community but it is just a matter of growing it naturally and slowly.’

The bakery produces a range of loaves using organic Yorkshire flour and a popular selection of flavoured breads including chilli, cheese and onion, olive and sultana and honey.

Fran, whose mother and grandmothers taught baking, added: ‘Our bread has four ingredients – flour, water, salt and yeast – plus whatever flavour. In supermarket loaves you can find more than 30 ingredients, additives and preservatives which you just don’t need. People are sometimes amazed when they taste our bread and it tastes of bread. It’s a traditional product which has been made for centuries and I don’t know why it has been messed about with so much.’ w

For more information, or to volunteer or place an order, go to lovebread.org.uk

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