When you compare the taste, texture, flavour and freshness of bread made by a master craftsman and then compare it with that of the standard mass-produced offerings from large companies, you quite quickly recognise the skill and expertise of the Master Baker, based upon many centuries of bread making.

One such is Simon Spears, joint owner with David Krantz of The Artisan Bakery in Park Royal, West London.

Simon says, “It has been an interesting journey getting to where I am today. I was working in a restaurant in Knightsbridge and, having a love of bread and baking, wanted to open a bakery and patisserie in the Duke of York Square in the King’s Road. This was where I first met David and we started making cakes and bread in Knightsbridge but quickly needed more space. As a result, we left that business but retained our bakery!

“I have always loved and been interested in bread. I worked in Sweden for about 10 years and opened a small bakery there, ending up by supplying the Swedish Royal Family with bread and other bakery products. There is something fascinating about bread; it has been a staple part of human food for several thousand years and, in this country, there has long been a tradition of small bakeries producing bread in the traditional manner.”

The key to the success of the bread now being made by Simon owes much of its success to the flour that he uses. For the traditional British bread, Simon works with a small family run mill in the Cotswolds that mills flour using traditional methods and supplies him with rare and heritage type organic grains. For his Continental breads, baguettes and croissants, Simon uses French flour and also French butter, which he says is drier than its English counterpart.

Until comparatively recently, the majority of Simon’s customers were the high-end delicatessens and cafés within the M25. He also sells to Selfridges and to Claridge’s Hotel. However, a new departure took place about a year ago as the result of a stand at an exhibition where he received an enquiry from Brasserie Blanc for par-baked products. This has now become an established part of Simon’s output as he now supplies customers with par-baked bread in Scotland, Wales and The Channel Islands.

Simon concludes, “I want to develop our range of baked products but I have no intention of losing our unique ability to produce high quality, traditional products for high quality customers. However, I am hoping to open a retail outlet at some stage in the not too distant future.”

For further information please telephone 0208 961 5931 or visit www.theartisanbakery.com/


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