Desna Mackenzie, project worker at LESS, spoke to Fil about her ‘slow’ bread in this week’s local food column.
How did you end up running a bakery?
“I moved to Lancaster from London and used to live near one of the biggest food markets in Europe. I was used to having nice bread and there wasn’t any here. So I learned to make it and it snowballed! I was making bread for friends and the amount I was making outgrew the kitchen. I knew there was a clientele for better quality bread in Lancaster so I decided to give it a whirl and open the shop, and for the first few months we were just winging it! Three years on things are much better.”
What makes Filbert’s bread special?
“Long fermentation – the dough is made the day before and left overnight to ferment slowly. It gains fkavour, digestibility and shelf life. It tastes awesome – just like you want bread to taste”.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
“The flour comes from a mill in Gloucestershire and is organic. We would buy local flour, but there is no affordable local organic flour at present. Our veg comes from the local wholesaler, potatoes from Single Step, some ingredients from Suma, and I barter locally for rhubarb, courgettes, gooseberries etc – whatever people will bring in! This helps to make the baked goods affordable. Free range milk and eggs are sourced from Stephenson’s. I’m currently looking for local organic butter – does anyone have any recommendations?”
I hear you have been looking for a new baker. Are we to expect even more baked treats?
“I’m looking for a pastry chef/baker, which will enable us to expand our range e.g. more breakfast goods, Danish pastries and fancy stuff!”
I understand Filbert’s has been collecting clothes for refugees in the bakery. What does this have to do with bread?
“I’ve stopped doing this now as it was taking over and there’s still some to shift! But essentially I want the bakery to be more than a shop – to be a hub. More than a place that makes bread – a place that makes people smile. People feel very strongly about us – they bought us a new mixer for Christmas! We were very moved when we heard about the Syrian refugees arriving destitute on the Greek islands. We wanted to help- we could’nt just stand by, The feeling of powerlessness became too much and we decided to do something and our customers were very much with us. Between us we collected £700 and half a tonne of clothes and with the help of Single Step, got it on a container to Lesbos. ”