The roots of the word companion lie in bread. What better to build friendships than not just breaking, but baking Real Bread together?
- What is a bread club?
- Some reasons to start or join a bread club
- Finding members
- Where to meet
- Bread clubs we know
- Tell us about your bread club!
The way the Campaign sees it, clubs that help to bring people together around Real Bread can be divided into two broad categories.
- A subscription scheme for Real Bread lovers who pay the baker in advance for a given number of loaves over a set period of time. You can read more on our Community Supported Baking page.
- The second is a whole basket of ideas. People in your group might: meet up to bake loaves together; or perhaps each bake at home to a theme or particular recipe and then get together (either in person or online) to compare results.
It’s this second basket that we’ll rummage around in here.
A bread club helps you to share a passion for Real Bread with other people. Meeting fellow bakers to share your celebrations, as well as your soggy bottoms, offers a way of making new friends, strengthening relationships in your local community and the chance to share recipes and tips.
A bread club can be a fantastic way of helping people to overcome obstacles to accessing delicious, healthy and fresh food, either by cutting overheads to produce very affordable Real Bread or passing on the skills they need to bake it for themselves
If you run bread making lessons, setting up a club is a way that your students can meet up locally (or online virtually) to share their subsequent Real Bread adventures with each other and you.
Ways that you can put the feelers out to find potential club members include:
- word-of-mouth amongst friends and neighbours – the schoolgate grapevine, the Bull & Bush telegraph
- social media, such as Twitter or Facebook
- message or advert in a local online forum or newspaper
Of course there’s always the good old-fashioned postcard in the window/on the noticeboard of the local post office, pub, library, bakery or corner shop…if you’re lucky enough to live in a place that still has any of these.
If you’re baking together, you’ll need somewhere with enough oven space for you all to get a loaf in at more or less the same time. In which case, options that might work for you could include
- the kitchen of a local restaurant, café, pub or community hall when they’re not using it;
- a community kitchen;
- or you might even be able to persuade a local bakery to let you let you near their oven…
If you are simply getting together to meet and munch, then all you need is a space with enough chairs for the group and maybe a table or two. Maybe you could meet in club members’ homes.
If you’re ‘meeting’ online, then the ‘place’ will be a virtual one. This could be a forum, a Facebook page, a blog group or perhaps a string on Twitter using an agreed hashtag.
Perhaps the biggest virtual community of Real Bread bakers is ours! One benefit of joining the Real Bread Campaign is The Real Baker-e, our online forum in which supporters can ask for and share information and ideas.
You can also follow @RealBread on Twitter to chip in to the #realbread conversation there.
[Last updated January 2013]
Here are the bread clubs we know of so far.
Band of Bakers
Gemma and Naomi founded the Band of Bakers in May 2012. They host regular southeast London events in local delis, cafes and restaurants, themed around an ingredient, technique or season. Members simply register by email and bring something they have baked in that theme.
Linlithgow Bread Club
Inspired by the Real Bread Campaign, in September 2012 Transition Town Linlithgow started an informal bread club to meet a few times a year. Though they told us ‘it’s early days, just building members and baking from home, sharing skills initially,’ their aim is to give people confidence to bake their own and talk all things bread.
Trefriw Baking (aka Bethesdabakin’)
Since 2007 a varying group of bakers have gathered for an annual weekend of baking, with meetings so far in France, Wales and Yorkshire.** Participants share the cost of holding the event, which typically works out to under £60 each. Joe and Jay, the organisers of 2012's event,are currently looking for someone to organise the event in 2013 and you can email them at: bakingweekend [at] hotmail.co.uk
Food 4MaccDirect Bread Club
This club began in February 2012 as a group of friends meeting up in one of their homes to chat and make Real Bread together. In June 2012, the club moved to the new Food4MaccDirect co-operative hub, allowing ten ‘breadies’ to knead together at each session. Breadies make two loaves each: one to take home to bake for themselves with the other baked at the hub for sale to other co-operative members.
Bethlem Royal Hospital
As part of its occupational therapy programme, this south London hospital has its own baking club, which encourages healthy eating, cooking for pleasure and the development of independent living skills. Baking groups make a range of breads and sweet treats for themselves, and to share with their families.
Wexham Park Hospital
Ward 10 of this hospital offers therapeutic baking to help patients living with mental health issues improve their cooking skills, make something to share with their visitors and a social opportunity to mix with other patients.
Do you run a bread club or plan to start one? Please drop us a very short paragraph (like the ones above) and we'll add your details to this page. realbread [at] sustainweb.org
The following might help inform or inspire your bread club, though not are all purely (or even at all) about bread.
Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.
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