After years of longing to work for yourself, if, and when, it finally happens you might find that on occasion, you actually miss the boss you didn't like or respect all those years. You may find it helpful to tap into someone else's experience or expertise, or more likely, you're happy for someone else to make the call on a difficult decision.
With no-one to advise or take responsibility for your decisions, you'll find yourself devising little guidelines or rules of thumb to fall back on in times of uncertainty. My favourite is one I read many years ago (source long forgotten) which says that setting up a business or creating something new can be hugely daunting at the start. A bit like being faced with eating an elephant.
Making alternative grain bread with slow fermented methods is an example we faced many years ago. When we first started it seemed incredibly difficult. The size of the task almost put us off. The lack of guidance in books and blogs was demoralising.
A dose of stubbornness and lots of patience meant we just started chipping away at it. Made a small batch, every week, recording what we'd done and what the results were. We just started nibbling away at the problem and just kept going.
After a while, this starts to become a way of working, an outlook on life, rather than just a method for solving a problem or creating something new. Everything is in beta, everything can be improved, there is always a better way.
So in the last week of baking in the bakery that has been home (literally...) for the last 8 years, a new batch of white spelt flour was behaving differently to normal and not rising the way we wanted. So we began experimenting mid week and by the weekend we had a new "Zorro Cut" across the top of the loaf which we baked with for Cowbridge. Best we've ever baked.
So if, as non-meat eaters, we're ever in the unlikely scenario of having to eat an elephant, we'll know the only way to to do it.
After almost 8 happy years we have decided to close the bakery and move on to an exciting new challenge.
It's been an incredible experience, and we're immensely proud of what we've achieved.
A huge thanks to all our customers who have supported us, in most cases, for year after year. Your constructive feedback and kind comments encouraged us to break new ground and push the boundaries. When many people told us we were being "obscure" or "too pure, too niche" you kept telling us that we were following the right path.
After a long overdue holiday we'll return to baking later in the year in a new location with an exciting new premises which will take our style of baking to a new audience. In many ways it would be easier to carry on as we are, but life is short and safe is boring.
This Saturday will be our last ever Usk Farmer's Market and the following weekend we'll be at Cowbridge Food Festival for our final festival.
Fascinating visit to Norwich at the weekend. Popped in for a cuppa with Richard of Rainbow Wholefoods, who is one of the UK's pioneers in vegetarian and organic foods. Great range and lovely shop - it used to be a stables for the horses which pulled the original fire trucks around Norwich, and the original features have been preserved to give the place a great feel. What impressed most was the team he has built. Quietly spoken and attentive, they gave the place a calm, efficient vibe. Inbetween setting up Rainbow and a wholesale business, Richard also founded Kingfisher Toothpaste, which is now the UK's leading natural toothpaste. A real believer if ever there was one.
Fascinating visit to Berlin's greatest Organic bakery recently. Learned a lot about how to make our rye bread even better. The way they'd mechanised the jobs that don't affect product quality whilst keeping the hand crafted elements was very impressive. Big thanks to Peter for making it happen.Above - this is the sourdough fermentation room. Yes a room dedicated to the ferments...Above - most of the rye loaves are still shaped by some lightning hand skillsAbove - and we thought it was just us that was tight for spaceAbove - this is just one of the 5 large ovens...