They’re the Cornish bread bakers that feed thousands across the county all year long. From the first ‘bacon butty’ at dawn to fresh baguettes and sumptuous slices for soup dipping at lunch, for sixteen years Baker Tom has been feeding honest, authentically made loaves to the people of Cornwall. Here, we discover more about this iconic Cornish bread we’ve all come to know and love.
Entering their 16th year and it’s been an exciting road for the Baker Tom team. Like many businesses, 2020 has been met with some unexpected challenges for the bakery, but difficulties that the Baker Tom team have taken in their stride. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to keep people staying largely at home, the Baker Tom brand has adapted to its socially distancing audience, a testament to just how far this creative and innovative bunch have come from the brand’s small beginnings in the kitchen of its founder and chief bread baker, Tom Hazzledine.
Look back sixteen years ago and you’d have found Tom at college, indulging in his breadmaking passion during his spare time and delivering his delicious results by bike to his local farm shop,
“The demand for freshly made, local bread rapidly increased,” Tom explains, “I started with three loaves and my bike, and it went on from there.”
Today, Baker Tom’s boasts five shops, two cafes, a mobile van and an online shop catering to hungry bread-loving folk across Cornwall and Devon. At their bustling bakery and café in Pool, a hub for the day bakers where you can watch some of the Baker Tom magic take place, a mixture of early bird starters, business meetings and NHS lunch time rushes make up for a busy day of baking. As well as the in-house outlets, Baker Tom also supplies to dozens of restaurants and cafes across Cornwall. It’s an around the clock job and one that, despite its steady growth, hasn’t changed the fundamental aspect of Tom’s bread,
“My aim has always been to make good, wholesome, interesting bread that tastes great and is good for you, with no added nasties. Loaves that have been simply made, the way they have been for centuries. My ethos still remains the same, since the day I started…
“Keep things simple, so that the bread can be the rising star.”
From their decadent rosemary and sea salt focaccia (a Silver Taste of the West award winner in 2019) to their signature baguettes, Baker Tom does simplicity to perfection and keeps the art of natural, authentic bread making alive in Cornwall. Night bakers work hard kneading, shaping and proving the dough ready to be baked in the early hours of the morning, ensuring the bread is the freshest and tastiest it can be for the day. Organic sourdoughs join traditional tin loaves (their organic white tin loaf won the 2019 Gold Taste of the West award) and speciality bread, Tom is constantly on a quest to create delicious ranges to suit everyone’s tastes. Then, there’s the classic scones, pastries and cakes, not to mention the sumptuous brioche rolls that have become a swift favourite amongst the budding Baker Tom regulars,
“Cornwall is a small county and word of mouth is essential,” Tom says on the brands success. “In our two new projects we have tried to keep the same, personal Cornish approach you get when you visit one of our Baker Tom shops. Whether you are visiting Cornwall or a local, our customers want to feel like the bread they are buying is fresh and made by hand, which in our case it is.”
One of Tom’s latest projects is the Baker Tom Bread Box scheme recently launched on their website, in which customers in select postcodes across Cornwall can get a freshly baked box of bread delivered directly to their doors. The scheme has largely come about at a time when doorstep deliveries are preferred and is one of the ways Baker Tom is continuing to provide bread to their loyal customers amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
“The team here at Baker Tom’s have always been creative and innovative in their approach to new developments and challenges. We decided to launch a weekly pop up bread van, that stops in smaller town and villages around Cornwall, selling fresh bread, cake, pastries and vital essentials. The bread box scheme also means that customers who can’t get out to the van or one of our shops can still get fresh bread straight to their door.
“The positivity and support from regular and new customers has been a shining light in these uncertain times. It’s amazing to see so many people across the county supporting local, small businesses, this support is keeping some businesses alive at the moment. I can’t thank our new and exciting customers enough for their continued support.”
Bread boxes can be arranged as a single, weekly, fortnightly or monthly delivery and feature many Baker Tom favourites, daily essentials and delicious treats. Customers within the TR and PL25, PL26, PL27 and PL28 postcodes are eligible and there are also plenty of flour boxes and bread making kits for those who are eager to give bread making a go themselves.
Whilst Tom’s signature delivery bike may now merely act as a mascot for the Baker Tom brand, the down to earth and wholesome ethos behind every loaf made by this Cornish bakery is no different than it was sixteen years ago in Tom’s kitchen and the passion each baker has for the craft is a continuation of Tom’s perpetual drive to bring good quality, well-made bread to those who appreciate it,
“I’ve loved building an amazing team around me,” says Tom, “people who really believe in our ethos, product and brand. It’s been the most enjoyable side of the business as well as having a really engaging customer base.”
On the days Baker Tom spends just as ‘Tom’, he can typically be found back in the kitchen, happily baking with his three young children, a little less bread to be seen but ample amounts of fun, “Baking anything chocolatey and gooey, that makes a mess, is normally a winner.”
Finally, we had to ask the man himself what the perfect ‘Baker Tom’ lunch would be…
“A classic BLT. A freshly made organic white tin load, cut into thick slices, crispy bacon, lettuce and tomatoes.”
Discover more about Baker Tom Bread Boxes and the Mobile Pop-Up Van at www.bakertom.co.uk
You can also find Baker Tom stores at the following locations…
Baker Tom’s Shop & Café Falmouth
10b Church Street, Falmouth, TR11 3DR
Baker Tom’s Bakery Café Pool
14 Wilson Way, Pool, Redruth, TR15 3RT
Baker Tom’s Shop Penzance
63 Causeway Head, Penzance, TR18 2SR
Baker Tom’s Shop Wadebride
1 The Platt, Wadebridge, PL27 7AD
Baker Tom’s Shop St Austell
52 Aylmer Square, St Austell, PL25 5LJ