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It’s a family affair
In 1995 a former BT engineer of 26 years Alan Davis decided to switch career and move his passion for baking into a professional business, an organic bakery a new concept of its time. The business began in his converted garage adjacent to the family home in rural Gloucestershire. The aim was to create a high quality product, returning taste, texture and variety to bread. This would ultimately provide a alternative to the mass produced tasteless loaf sold in supermarkets at the time. Alan and Janes four children never enjoyed super market bread but the moment Alan started baking at home, the children couldn't eat enough of it.
Using traditional methods the bread doughs are left to ferment without the use of improvers, with these time-honored methods tastes and textures develop, giving the bread a character unlike that found in the mass produced bread market.
The Authentic Bread Company is a family run business with Alan, Jane and their children Emily, Alex, Sophie and Tim being involved throughout the life of the business. Baking seems to run in the family, with Jane’s Grandfather and Great Grandfather owning and working in the only bakery in Eastnor, Herefordshire throughout the 1800s. Love of food and good quality produce has always been central to Alan and Jane’s lives, even attributing their award winning Christmas Pudding to a secret family recipe past on from Janes mother, Diana.
Coming from a family that enjoyed great quality food, Alan and Jane were completely dissatisfied with the mass produced bread available in Britain. The 1960s saw the invention of the 'Chorley Wood Process' which employed the use of artificial improvers, thus bread could be made quickly and cheaply, yet compromising the taste and texture. This also marked a time when traditional methods that have been part of our history for centuries, were lost and with it the quality of bread.
Over the years, the product range has grown with recipes being tried and tested at the Davis' home. 'He took us on holiday and we ended up in a bread museum' remembers daughter Emily. For Alan and Jane, baking truly is a passion, they have always admired the french culture, baking bread fresh using traditional methods and eating it every day. So french holidays were as much about rest and relaxation as they were for new product inspiration.
In 1996, during their first year of Business, Alan and Jane impressed the judges at the Soil Association Organic Food Awards to win the Baked Goods overall category, a prestigious award for any organic producer but especially impressive considering their young business. Judge and celebrity Chef Michael Barry (BBC's Good Food Program) presented Alan with the award at the NEC.
With Alan working long unsociable hours to hone his artisan techniques and Jane spreading the word throughout the day, the business quickly grew to the national wholesale, bakery it is today. In 2000 the company moved to a larger site a stones throw away from the family home to Strawberry Hill, Newent in rural Gloucestershire. Originally a pig unit for an old farm, the family worked to create a fully equipped bakery which now receives A Grade, British Retail Consortium Accreditation.
Jane and Alan have witnessed the growth of organic produce having been at the forefront of the organic movement in the 1990s. They have been fortunate to be part of multiple television programs representing a growing revolution in TV series, highlighting the importance of good food. These included appearances with TV chef Rosemary Shrager and becoming a Rick Stein food hero, appearing on a Christmas special.
As well as developing their own brand and distribution nationally, the Authentic Bread Company have also successfully developed products for large scale distribution for other company brands. With the growth of their product base, Jane and Alan appreciate the increase in demand for products suitable for specialised diets and have always striven to cater for a wide audience. The ABC is a vegetarian company, and with the exclusion of some cakes and pasties all of their products are vegan. They also cater for other diets with their selection of yeast free, wheat free breads and mince pies and cakes that contain no 'gluten containing ingredients'.
The Authentic Bread Company has always striven to be an environmentally conscious business, being Organic ensures the use of environmentally friendly and animal friendly farming methods under strict regulations. We also participate fully in recycling services and minimising land fill with a 'manufacture to order policy' and also incorporate a range of Eco-minded packaging. During June 2010 the company replaced two electric bread ovens with two wood pellet burning ovens. Each oven has a 50 kW output and together are expected to save approximately 55 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. The Authentic Bread Company is now being used as a national example of how bakeries throughout the UK can reduce their electricity bills and carbon footprints.
Today the Authentic Bread Company employs a passionate work force, devoted to the production great quality produce. They work through the night and day to produce fresh breads, cakes and pastries for their customers. As they continue to grow the company is passionate about its cause and excited to spread the word of organic, traditional and great tasting food to the general public, where diet, the origin of our food and its impact on the environment is of increasing importance.
Awards: Click hear to discover some of our acheivements
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