Setting up a micro bakery means building up a community

Virtuous Bread helps people make and find and learn about good bread and in so doing to forge the link between bread and virtue.  The 3 years of operation have seen countless posts about bread, flour, milling and baking; bread baking recipes,  videos, and books; thoughtful speeches, challenges, and rants at events around the world; and hundreds of wonderful students on bread courses.  In addition, we have given 130 people the basic skills to set up a micro bakery, an course that came about when my friend Pete Owen-Jones told me that it was not enough to teach people how to bake:  I had to teach people how to teach people how to bake – and Bread Angels was born.

how to set up a micro bakery
Pete and Nick at the Bread Angels reunion

There are 150 Bread Angels in all parts of the UK as well as in Ireland, Belgium, South Africa, Mexico, and Canada.  I get enquiries every day from Australia to Nigeria to the USA and I only wish I could fly everywhere and begin Bread Angels in other countries.  I am looking at online/digital delivery options but cannot get my head around what that would look like (any ideas, just contact me) or whether it would work.  Funding would certainly help defray the cost of travel or the cost of doing the filming and editing that are necessary to make great remote experiences and funding is a scarce commodity these days.

how to set up a community bakery
Liz and Nina at the Bread Angels reunion

I am not complaining I just wish we could do more because The Bread Angels we have helped to take their first steps have walked, run, and flown with enthusiasm, professionalism, generosity, and kindness.  Some have quit their day jobs and are baking full time.  Others have set up food businesses or have concentrated on teaching.  Still others bake and sell their good bread a couple of times a week and/or teach a few times a month – making their new skills fit into their schedules whether they have other jobs or other commitments or other interests.  And this is the point of Bread Angels:  be free.  Develop your skills and interests as a baker, learn the basics about running a business and take that business where you want it to go.  Work when and how you want, and you will find you build and strengthen communities that you never knew existed and that were there all the time just outside your door and, at the push of a button, in the virtual world.

Courses for setting up a home baking business
Marta at the Bread Angels reunion

At the end of July this year 25 Bread Angels and some special guests met at Gaye Whitwam’s house to share bread, food, drink, good cheer, stories, ideas, and advice.  Chris Young from The Real Bread Campaign spoke about what the campaign was up to, how we can support them and how they can support us.  David Morton, with a long career in luxury hotels behind him talked about how our individuality and authenticity were our key strengths, and using those to bake our bread and serve our clients was the key to success.

Courses to set up a micro bakery
Venetta, Ursi, and Anissa at the Bread Angels reunion

Two things stood out:

First, the quality of the bread Bread Angels are baking is as good as any bread you will find in any fantastic bakery, baked by any celebrity baker, anywhere in the country.

Learn to bake artisan bread
Tacey is delighted we are still eating the gorgeous selection of bread

Second, the Bread Angels are people you want to take on a tiger hunt with you!  They are resourceful, generous team players with strength of character, commitment to purpose, and great senses of humour.  And they can bake (although I don’t know if they can shoot).

Courses for baking bread
A selection of Bread Angels and our special guests

Ever dreamed of setting up a micro bakery so that you can work at home or in the community?  Get your feet wet by taking the micro bakery course and become a Bread Angel.  Come and hear the Bread Angels speak at the London Cake and Bake show in Classroom 2 at 2 pm on 13 September or at the Real Bread Festival at Spittalfields on Saturday 2 November at 11.  Contact us.  We would love to hear from you.

Bake bread, do good, earn a living.  It’s a great job.

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