bethesdabakers's picture

Five years ago I set up Bethesdabakers, a microbakery, in our little terraced house in North Wales turning out naturally leavened bread two days a week. For the first four years I was baking six regular doughs plus a special, a rye and a flatbread that changed every week. At it’s height I was knocking out up to 90 loaves of all sizes a day to individual and commercial customers. It was mad, knackering and very rewarding.

In February when I was 65 I said I was retiring to concentrate on writing and teaching. So I put my prices up, cut down my customers to one small restaurant and a few individuals who were willing to take one or two 800g loaves of my choice every week. It’s a lot easier this way but the numbers keep creeping up – people keep “discovering” me. Yesterday even the local supermarket directed a couple of young guys in search of decent bread up to me.

If you have any sort of fantasy of baking commercially a home microbakery is a great way to test out your ideas because you can start very small scale with your domestic equipment and see how it goes without any financial risk. What’s more I’ve been baking for twenty years but I would say that everything I have learnt has come in the years since I started baking for sale.

If you’re interested in this a approach I’ve just published “Microbakin’ – Baking Bread for Sale from Home”. Full details of this and my first book, “Bethesdabasics – Sourdough Made Simple” can be found here http://thepartisanbaker.com/shop/

5 Seed with Spelt

5 Seed with Spelt,a recipe from Bethesdabasics, has always been our best-seller. I’ve given the formula to a number of people setting up new bakeries and they have reported similar success with it. For a large loaf at the UK old legal weight of 800g:

Sesame Seed          20g
Poppy Seed             20g
Golden Linseed       20g
Sunflower Seed       20g
Pumpkin Seed         20g
Boiling Water           100g
Pour boiling water over the seed, stir and cool a few hours before mixing the dough


Strong Bread Flour                         335g   80%
Wholemeal Spelt Flour                   84g     20%
Starter (@ 100% hydration)           117g    28%
Water                                               197g    47%
Salt                                                   7g        1.6%
Soaker                                              200g   48%

Mix the dough. I use the short knead method – three bursts of ten kneads with a few minutes rest between them. Baking for sale I ferment overnight in the fridge. Otherwise I ferment at room temperature for four hours; if I’m feeling keen I might give it a couple of folds. Either way I shape and prove for about 3.5 hours. Slash and bake at 210C fan oven for 50 minutes.



271 users have voted.


Seaniz 2012 November 12

Looks wonderful! My kids keep on trying to get me to quite my job so I can bake for them full time. I think I might save it for my retirement. Thanks for the recipe.

bethesdabakers's picture
bethesdabakers 2012 November 12

Smart kids.

A lot of people are getting into microbakery by increasing production at weekends or negotiating a four day week with their employer, particularly as they get closer to retirement. Like I say, the beauty of it is you can push up your production for little outlay. Just plan you baking schedule to maximise the equipment you already have.

Best wishes



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