How it all began
Duncan was just a web developer that had a mid-life crisis a little earlier than most. Boredom from his freelance work had him get into cooking, growing, and foraging as well as skip-scavenging for reclaim materials to build various small-scale eco-projects. Bread baking started as just another hobby, but very quickly took over his life (and his kitchen).
It was a chance appearance on the hit BBC TV Show “It’s Not Easy Being Green” with the Strawbridge Family that gave him a taste for sustainability and the environment and oddly later led him to being offered a role as sustainability manager on an eco-tourism project out in Fiji. During his time out there Duncan honed his sustainability skills looking at everything from waste management to growing their own crops and even building a biogas digester to turn animal waste into gas they could cook with.
Upon his return from Fiji he had cemented the idea of setting up a business that would allow him to combine his two passions; sustainability and slow food and in particular bread. The Thoughtful Bread Company was born.
The Thoughtful Bread Company very quickly established it's reputation as one of the UK's leading "artisan" bakeries. The business has evolved throughout it's existence, but has now finally settled as a small (but perfectly formed) bakery, cafe and bakery school based in the heart of the World Heritage City of Bath.
Our approach to baking and cooking
Our approach to baking and cooking is surprisingly unoriginal.
Seasonality and provenance are key in sourcing our raw ingredients. Whether it's quality flour from our millers, or eggs laid by happy hens, right the way through to the abundant bounty that mother nature offers us through our foraging, and the exceptional produce our customers bring in from their gardens and allotments that we barter bread for in exchange of, we vary our offering throughout the year to stay in tune with the seasons.
We pickle, we ferment, and we do everything we can to squirrel away some of that produce for the more inclement months of the year.
In producing the range of pastries, cakes, desserts, bread and all the food that features in our breakfast, brunch and lunch menus, we make and bake absolutely everything, from scratch. We are proud supporters of the Real Bread Campaign and we categorically do not use any artificial additives, preservatives, colourants or other "processing aids", ever.
We believe in making real food and Real Bread. Food to put a smile on your face whilst impacting on the environment and animal welfare as little as possible. So, you can treat yourself, guilt-free.
Duncan will be the first to admit that this whole "running a bakery" lark is not as easy as it looks. When you are not spending your time grafting and trying to perfect your craft, you are doing a lot of head scratching and wondering where the profit is.
Thankfully we have been lucky enough to have some amazing people and companies believe in what we are doing and wanting to support our efforts. So, this is a huge, heartfelt thank you to you, our funders and backers! Click here to see the roll-call and find out more about how you might be able to get involved.
Funders and Supporters
Doing our bit for the environment
Sustainability is one of the founding pillars on which the business is built. Back when we were in a more rural setting, we used to grow our own produce, compost our organic waste, and even ran our delivery van on bio-diesel made using the waste cooking oil collected from the restaurants and cafes we supplied.
Now that we are based city-centre, we have to work a little harder to reduce the impact the business has on the environment, but this is achieved through lots of small touches:
We reduce the waste we produce by buying in bulk, serving our take-away food in compostable packaging and encouraging customers to use refillable cups and bottles.
We manage the waste we do produce efficiently by having 3 bins in each of our front of house, kitchen, bakery school and bakery production areas. This allows us to segregate our waste into compostable, recyclable, and landfill quickly and easily at the point where the waste is produced. The organic waste is taken away for anaerobic digestion and turned into power and recycling is taken away to a dedicated site. We minimise any food wastage and leftover bread is donated to a local homeless shelter. All this amounts to us sending less than 5% of our waste to landfill.
We reduce food mileage by sourcing locally, and by incentivising our wholesale customers to collect (most do it by foot) rather than us driving around the city delivering.
We power our ovens and other appliances using renewable energy.