This month we joined baking supremo Tom Hazzeldine (Baker Tom), one of the first bakers to bring speciality bread-making back to Cornwall. At the age of 29 he has made his name for baking fresh, breads, pastries and cakes using traditional baking methods and the finest organic and local ingredients. He now has four bakery shops in Truro, Wadebridge, Falmouth and Pool; the latter two also have cafes.
So tell us, how did it all begin?
I started the business seven years ago whilst on my gap year from university and started baking bread for a local farm shop as a favour. I made four loaves and cycled them in and they sold them pretty much instantly, and then from that point they were asking me to make larger amounts each time. I then got a little unit with just one table and one oven and then it just rapidly grew from there.
Why do you think ‘Baker Tom’s has taken off in such a big way?
I think it’s because the business started at a time when there wasn’t really a big baking craze and it was hard because you had to convince people to invest in fresh bread, knowing that they get the quality but that it would only be at its best for a couple of days. But now with programmes such as The Great British Bake Off people are discovering a new love for baking and appreciate fresh loaves.
What makes a successful bakery?
We just keep it simple, we don’t mess around with ingredients, so for example with a croissant we use 100% Cornish butter and good quality flour, and this just shines through if it’s baked well. It’s trying not to cut corners and complicate ingredients, just do it properly. We don’t use any additives or preservatives in our products, it’s good wholesome ingredients and you can taste the difference. We pride ourselves in the freshness of our products too, we don’t carry anything over to the next day, anything we don’t sell goes to the homeless. It’s all about value for money and good quality products.
What was your inspiration behind opening up the bakery/café?
Some people call me the accidental baker because I never intended to be a baker, it just kind of happened, from offering to make a couple of loaves for a friend to unknowingly setting up my future business.
Did you train to be a baker?
No, I’m self-taught and I’m still learning now. I read a lot of books and also learn off the five bakers we employ here. They are all highly skilled and so there is always a lot of feeding of ideas, and we learn a lot from eachother. I’m from the new school bakers as such and they are from the old school crowd so we merge the two.
How do you come up with new recipes?
The bakers have free reign on developing new recipes and I work quite heavily on the development side too. We then choose monthly specials from the recipes they come up with. Some of them are specials that we tried and tested last year that did really well so we bring them back in and others are new, so a good mixture. The problem is everyone is a creature of habit so trying to change something is quite hard, as customers come in expecting a particular product and if we don’t have it one day people can get quite upset. With our bread, we have our core range, which never changes and then we bring in new ones.
Most popular product?
The Parmesan and Red Onion is definitely one of our most popular loaves but we recently replaced the Garlic and Olive bread, with the Potato, Garlic and Rosemary. The standard white loaf is pretty much the favourite and also the Foccacia. Here in the café the meatballs are my personal favourite and also our pasties.
Who are your food heroes?
My food heroes would have to be Gary Rhodes, Rick Stein and Richard Bertinet for their innovation and love of fresh ingredients.
Earliest food memory?
When I was in school I remember one of the girls in my class was from India, and one day her mum came in and taught us how to make chapatti’s. When I went home that night my brother and me tried making them and got flour everywhere.
Plans for the future?
Well I’ve actually just added a fourth shop to the business; Baker Tom’s in Wadebridge is now open at 1 The Platt and will be selling artisan breads, cakes, pastries and coffees to take away. Also my Baking Courses are now well under way for the year and they are designed for those who want to try baking for the first time or who have an interest in perfecting a certain baking skill. In fact the recipe I have provided will be included in the My First Loaf course, which we still have space on, on the 14th Aug and 26th Oct.
Baker Tom’s White Loaf Recipe
This is where it all started for me, the classic country white loaf. Fresh out of the oven, the smell of your first loaf will hook you on baking forever. From here, you can start adding olives, fruit, nuts … the limit is endless. Chocolate and banana is one of my favourites!
480g White flour
300g warm water
20g rye or wholemeal flour
10g fresh yeast
10g butter or rape seed oil (optional)
Weigh all your ingredients into a large mixing bowl, without letting your yeast and salt touch.
Combine the ingredients together to form your dough, once mixed tip it onto your table and knead for 10-12 minutes until the dough feels smooth and looks shiny (this can also be done in a mixer).
Place your dough back into the bowl and cover with cling film and leave for 60 minutes.
Turn your dough onto a work surface and shape into your desired shape, preheat your oven to 250°C.
Leave your dough to rest again for 50 – 60 minutes until it’s just double in size.
Slash the tops of your dough with a very sharp knife, being careful not to drag the dough or deflate it. Place your dough into your oven for 10 minutes then turn down to 200°C for 30 minutes or until golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Baker Tom’s Bakery
Wilson Way, Pool, TR15 3RT
Tel: 01209 218989
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