BEAUTIFUL BAKES FROM A BEAUTIFUL VILLAGE
Over the last 18 months I've been delivering baking workshops in the beautiful village of Firle. Since April 2020 freshly baked loaves and buns have been crafted with love and delivered on bicycles by me and my daughter Kitty every Saturday. I feel by stopping and chatting along the way I've developed a real connection with the community through the delivery of delicious freshly baked bread.
Since lock-down I've built up over 40 new customers in and around Firle and I have run monthly virtual baking sessions through Facebook Live.
Kitty Witch Bakehouse aims:
Community work: I will be providing free baking sessions to the children of Firle Primary School. Showing them the fun they can have when weighing, kneading and baking, whilst teaching them about the benefits of cooking food from scratch and of eating real bread.
I will also be offering low cost baking workshops to the older residents of Firle, bringing them together in the village hall to bake, chat and connect. Supporting people to feel more in touch with each other and increase their well being.
I plan to renovate the outhouse into a micro bakery. This means I'll be able to bake more bread, broadcast live baking sessions, run small baking workshops, store ingredients, and deliver freshly baked bread twice a week to the local school community and to the village of Firle in East Sussex.
I'll sell a range of beautiful breads and seasonal treats at local events, fetes and markets. My aim is to bake organic produce that is sustainable, delivered on a traditional baker’s bike, and made with love.
Throughout the year I will run bread making workshops in Firle for the general public.
I want to establish an authentic relationship with my customers. Having time to talk and connect in person is important. I feel this approach is something we've lost in today's modern life.
Where do my ingredients come from?
All my flour is bought from Shipton Mill which is a speciality miller of organic flour. Although this is not a local mill (based in Gloucestershire) it is one of very few millers in the country that offer the art of a traditional miller. I buy all my seeds and grains from Infinity foods which is a local supplier of organic ingredients and sugars and other baking goods come from either Henley Bridge in Lewes only 4 miles away or Infinity Foods. I also grind my own grain by using an electric milling stone which gives the spelt and rye loaves a distinctive depth of flavour.
"Paula's bread making workshops are well paced, fun and she is a fountain of knowledge"
"Getting your bread delivered is the highlight of my Saturday"
"Honestly the best bread ever! What a privilege"
"I don't eat bread all the time but when I do it has to be good. Your bread certainly comes under that category"
"I get so excited to receive my bread from Paula, we have a chat and put the world to rights and I get delicious bread too! Just perfect."
What will your money go towards?
Renovation of the outhouse:
The outhouse in my garden is currently being used as a wood-store. I will renovate it over the coming few months so I can have a space to bake and store before the weather changes. To do this the outhouse will need weather proofing and the roof will need to be insulated - I'm hoping to keep some of the exposed timber frames. Some of the brickwork will need boarding up and some will be exposed to keep the character of the building. Additional electrical sockets will be added and existing plumbing lines extended to support a Belfast sink and drainage area. Underfloor heating will be installed and additional storage areas will be created. Where possible materials will be sourced either second hand or in a sustainable way. I believe wooden worktops and shelving will give the micro bakery a natural feel. I'll try to do most of the work with help from friends and family.
I need to increase my current number of bread tins, bread shaping baskets, cooling racks, storage containers, proving containers and bins for flour. An A-Board for promoting the bakehouse would be very helpful and 10 Kitty Witch Bakehouse aprons for future baking workshops would give my business a professional look as well as tote bags which workshop participants can have to take their baked goods home with them.
Kitty and I are currently using our old bikes to cycle round the village but they are in need of some TLC and definitely some more storage capacity is required to deliver more bread!
What the future holds?
I am intending to use my experience of mentoring women in crisis to support them to start up small businesses of their own. To do this I will be looking at gaining new work through women's refuges and other community partners.
I want to work with other local sustainable cookery and baking businesses running bread making workshops and creating connection and diversity within my business. Especially those who are interested in bringing well being and the love of real food into the mix.
I'm hoping for a diverse, exciting and fun business, bringing people together through the joy of baking bread whilst continuing to grow an environmentally friendly business which is committed to working within my community.