When I first started baking I had no intention of running a business, with accounts, invoicing, rent, weekly flour ordering and staff. Yet nearly 7 years later, here I am. Not so much staff mind you; but I do have Shirl girl who helps me on Hitchin and Pirton Markets. I only ever wanted to bake for my own enjoyment and this has been my greatest motivating factor.
This winter has been particularly harsh, I’ve never before had to work in zero
temperatures indoors – you wouldn’t ordinarily expect that in a bakery would you, but before I get heaters on and oven warmed up, that’s what I have to do. Let me tell you that cold dough is no joke when you suffer from Raynaud’s disease. My little bakery is looking tired. My poor mixer is looking tired. I am looking tired. Whilst I am anticipating the onset of warmer weather with the eagerness of a small child waiting for father Christmas on Christmas eve, I am filled with dread when I try and think about how I am going to juggle the amount of loaves that I now have to produce each week in such a teeny tiny workspace when the temperature soars to the heady heights of 35 plus during summer. Should I just cut and run? Give it all up and get a ‘proper’ job with a proper salary? Should I bite the bullet and find a bigger space, even though it would mean a much bigger rental bill? Should I then look at employing proper staff? Looking back over the last 7 years, I am reminded that I simply wanted to bake for my own enjoyment and all this should have been just a hobby. The trouble is, I am now baking between 250-350 loaves a week. Can I really still call it a hobby? Do I still want it to be a hobby?
This morning, I took a phone call from – lets say, an interested party. I am hoping that they might be able to put a solid option on the table, which means I could carry on baking, possibly at an increased capacity, potentially with assistance and in a new, (and more importantly) larger setting. It might also see me return to teaching baking too. There will be lots to discover and discuss over the coming weeks, trying to work out practicalities and how it will all work out. No doubt sleepless nights with its friends Mr Organiser and Mrs Planning will soon make an unwelcome but necessary return to my bedroom…