Every microbaker has a different story and one might well be similar to your own.
In 2012 we collected together this list of a few we knew at that point.
NB This is an archive feature and we are no longer updating it. Some details may no longer be correct. Some are still in business and a few have even expanded to a full-scale bakery.
Allendale Bakery at Elpha Green
Allendale Bakery's bakers have 'retired' to their home bakery deep in rural Northumberland. After three years in a heritage site learning the baking trade in conjunction with an overwhelming café business, Allendale Bakery's bakers were delighted to sell the café part of the business earlier this year, and simultaneously to refurbish their approved catering kitchen at home into a fully fledged home bakery.
The Real Bread we bake now is truly artisan, in a wood-fired oven, using locally sourced, stone-ground Northumbrian flour (Gilchesters Organics). The oven, a Habo15 from Haussler in Germany, is the equivalent of a single, three tray deck, which means different dough logistics after our earlier experience on a three tray, three deck electric oven. Also, using locally sourced wood from sustainable forests, means a rather significant reduction in energy costs. We're now baking at about half of our peak weekly bake in the heritage site: four baking days and four dough set-up days (overnight prove in our retarder-prover), delivering some 200 loaves (800g equivalents) weekly to three local retailers.
We can expand our capacity a little, if we wish, but we also provide breadmaking courses and we do specific catering jobs locally on request (typically family parties, small weddings, funeral teas). We're not looking to dramatically increase our business (we say we're semi-retired!), but rather we are looking for a stimulating and productive lifestyle activity here at home, and we think we've found it. We do love baking wonderful Real Bread.
After a night baking with Tom Baker at Loaf in Birmingham over two years ago, Andy has been baking in his small kitchen in deepest mid-Wales. He bakes a range of white and rye sourdough and yeasted breads. Bread is on sale on most Friday afternoons from around 1pm at Great Oak Foods in Llanidloes.
Steve has been baking a range of Real Bread from his home in St. Levan, Cornwall for a couple of years, originally with one domestic oven in his kitchen. He now has two extra ovens in his conservatory, making three ovens. The summer is his busiest time, baking around 120 loaves a week to supply the local café across from his house with bread and a local deli in Penzance six days a week. His loaves start at around £1.80 for a small white.
Birch Cottage Bread
Bread Angels alumna Lucie Steel runs a microbakery from a converted shipping container in the garden of her west Berkshire home. The container is fully-equipped with a baker’s oven, stainless steel table, mixer, double sink and fridge. Lucie makes yeasted and sourdough Real Breads for local shops, community markets, café and catering company. She also runs Real Bread making classes.
The Bread Lady
Lesley and her sister bake Real Bread from Lesley’s home in Lanchester, County Durham. The dedicated sorority bake around 300 loaves a week, such as 100% rye sourdough, focaccia, wholemeal and up to ten flavoured breads, with prices ranging from £1.30 to £2.30.
The breads are all cooked in a domestic oven and a range oven. Most of the flour comes from Gilchesters Organics in Northumberland, which is stone ground from rare breed wheat. The two sisters supply a range of farmers’ markets and have a stall every Saturday at Durham Market. They also supply two farm shops, an organic grocery shop and The Hive, a community shop in Ushaw Moor. On top of that they also bake for local individuals and families.
County Durham is an area really lacking access to Real Bread and through the sisterly baking business they are providing access to Real Bread to the local communities in the area.
Crow's Rest Bakehouse
Alex bakes artisan loaves in Camberwell on Saturday mornings and Nick delivers them on his bike. Their balcony "plays resting grounds to local crows who like to perch there and look out as the day goes by."
Gaye's Real Bread
Gaye Whitwam bakes Real Bread every Thursday for her bread club and other people who order in advance to collect from her home in Wallington, Surrey. Sutton Community Farm customers have their bread delivered in the weekly veg box. Gaye bakes with organic flour from Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire, sea salt and a sourdough culture or by the sponge and dough method using baker's yeast.
HOPEbake is an occasional micro bakery run by Bill and Melanie Mawer in Ayot Green, Hertfordshire baking mostly sourdough loaves each week for the local community. The money raised goes to hopeIndia.org a charity providing hope and homes for poor children in India. 'HOPEbake may only last till Bill has to get a 'proper job' but for now he enjoys throwing flour round the kitchen once a week.'
A fanatical baker since July 2011, Jo bakes around 10-25 sourdough loaves to order every Saturday for collection from her home in Luton, Bedfordshire. Her focaccia and malted loaf is also on the menu at a local church café and she can be found at the farmer’s market in Hexton, on the third Friday of every month, from 1 until 4pm.
Leicester Born and Bread
Jessica Edmonds has been baking to order from a domestic kitchen in a small terraced house in Leicester since September 2011. The range available includes tin loaves, rolls, sourdough, and soda bread, plus a monthly special. She runs the bakery alongside her full time job, meeting 30-40 orders a month. She also provides bread classes for groups and individuals in their homes covering basic bread, an introduction to sourdough, and pizza making.
LOAF artisan bread
A home_based Community Supported Bakery, in Widnes, Cheshire. We make Real Bread entirely by hand using the best available natural ingredients and traditional long fermentation methods. We bake naturally yeasted (i.e. sourdough) and lightly yeasted breads to order every Friday. We also offer bread making classes to individuals or small groups in their own homes, making a range of basic yeasted breads and introductions to naturally yeasted bread making.
Loaf for Life Bakery
Peter runs a small home bakery in Cambridge baking a variety of sourdough Real Bread loaves for a local shop, The Urban Larder, and the wider community of Cambridge. Peter uses locally sourced organic flour from Foster’s Mill in Swaffham Prior and created all by hand. He also organises basic sourdough making workshops and is involved in setting up a community bakery, CamBake.
Dragan and Penny set up ‘the smallest bakery in the world’ at home in Oxfordshire. They have since moved the bakery to a (slightly) larger room at their new home in Devon, at which they also run workshops for people interesting in setting up something similar.
Outwell Artisan Bakery
Ian runs his microbakery to make Real Bread to order for friends, family and colleagues at NHS King’s Lynn. Self-taught he is gradually increasing his range as his skills increase. When he started baking for himself Ian didn't realise the demand for fresh home-baked bread. He now supplies 20-30 people with fresh bread and is often fully-subscribed days before his weekly baking session. Ian says 'our scheme means that bread is sold before it’s made, which is a great position to be in.'
The Pocket Bakery
Daily Telegraph writer Rose Prince's children Jack and Lara run this enterprise from their home in order to supplement their pocket money - hence the name.
Saxton's Home Bakery
Mick Saxton set up the bakery at his Sheffield home in May 2011 to produce Real Bread 'of character and taste' using stoneground organic wheat, spelt and rye flours, and his own natural leavens. Mick bakes to order every week on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings and the bread is ready to collect between 11.45am and 2.00pm. Mick also offers a limited delivery service. Mick produces at least three different breads each baking day, plus teacakes or buns. Though Mick asks that customers order by 4.00pm on the day before a bake day, please wanting bread on the day are invited to call to check to see if Mick has any extra loaves.
'I currently bake around 35 sourdough loaves to order on Thursday night for my Friday delivery, and again on Sunday night for Monday. Knead to know has actually made me go slower and think of different angles and I feel this book has a lot to offer to bakers at all levels. In the very near future I am opening a stall on my front drive to supply more of my neighbours which will operate on a Saturday.'
The Really Good Bread Co.
Claire Whittaker began selling Real Bread to friends at the beginning of 2012 and now bakes around 25-30 loaves per week at home in Ashtead, Surrey over two days for sale via subscription schemes. ‘I love cycling around the village with my 3 year old, delivering healthy, delicious bread and chatting to my customers.’
Jane Mason does most of her baking from home, and also runs a Bread Angels course to teach others how to run their own home-based Real Bread businesses.
and outside the UK...
The Weekend Bakery
This is a homebakery in Holland, run by Ed & Marieke Dorré. The couple describe themselves as 'enthusiastic artisan at home bakers', who bake bread, mostly on demand, for our friends, family, neighbours and colleagues, every week, but only during the weekends.
Here are some bakeries that by 2012 had outgrown domestic kitchens and moved to the high street or other commercial premises.
Ben Mackinnon's homebakery '...began when I returned from a few months travelling at the end of 2009. I booked myself a place on a baking course at the School of Artisan Food which was taught by Carl Shavitz.' The next step came when 'a local pizza place agreed I could use their wood fired oven to bake bread when not in use. This wasn't practical for the long term, so I began looking around for a space where I could build my own oven.' It moved to a shared railway arch in London Fields in 2010, before setting up a bakery cafe a few arches down in 2011.
The Handmade Bakery
This pioneering Community Supported Bakery in Yorkshire began life in the kitchen of Dan and Johanna McTiernan. In the space of under three years, it went via the pizza oven of a local Italian restaurant and the back room of a community-owned shop to its current home.
'We started out as a micro-bakery making artisan bread and cakes from our home each weekend for a small group of friends. After a year, demand had outgrown our kitchen so we made the exciting and life-changing decision to give up our day jobs and open our first shop.'
loaf social enterprise
Following a meeting with Dan and Johanna from The Handmade Bakery at the Rise of Real Bread conference in 2009, Tom Baker quit his job with the NHS to run this social enterprise from his home in Birmingham. As well as running bread making courses, he also operates a Community Supported Bakery from his kitchen and back garden wood-fired oven. Thanks in part to the Everards and Artisans scheme, Tom moved the bakery to Stirchley High Street in September 2012.