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  • Writer's pictureIza Stuchlik

Your not so weekly bulletin.

Hello, I hope you are all feeling great and there are at least five people who still chose to stay subscribed to Leavened updates. If you are reading this - thank you! I am not going to apologise for not sending you the updates more regularly as I do what I can via social media which is more accessible to me and is something I can do whilst at work. I appreciate that some of you chooses not to use social media so this is for you. It is also for me as I do love and miss writing a lot but with two locations and a tiny bakery there is very little energy left in me at the end of the day so I choose not to reach for my computer.

Anyway, I am here today as I wanted to tell you what's been happening behind the scenes. First of all, the shop has been very very busy which is fantastic. I am told that the queues on Saturday last about an hour and you can't even imagine how happy it makes me, in fact, all of us in the market. We work really hard in the tiny space to feed the queues.

From other news, with the end of year we said goodbye to our youngest team member Charlie as he decided to travel the world. We are all very happy for him and wish him all the best. Many of you ask about him, so far we haven't heard anything so I assume he is having time of his life dancing Samba in Rio.

We have luckily welcomed a new baker to be - Conor, who is absolutely crazy about beer and fermentation and, even though is from a completely different background, seems to be a natural when it comes to making bread. We also have a new face behind the counter in our lovely coffee shop - you might have met Hannah already - not only a good barista but also an excellent jeweler! With that we have a team of seven (!) now and we are more than ready to move onto the next stage of our bread journey.

As most of you already know, we will be moving bread production to Lannock Farm in Weston. I can tell you that it has been my dream since 2021 and I am counting days until that happens now, every night thinking about the bakery arrangement, how I am going to create the space so we can easily increase production and work with more space and freedom. We will have much bigger area to work with (5 by 15 metres!) and are also investing in new and better equipment. The building is coming together nicely and I am anticipating that it will be finished in the middle of April. With that, we will be closing the stall in the indoor market and I am aware that many of you are worried that getting our bakes won't be as convenient and we've had some advice to keep a small stall in the town centre. There is absolutely no need to have two locations in Stevenage to be honest and it is only 5 minutes drive between the market and Old Town. I strongly believe (and hope too) that our bread is worth traveling those extra 5 minutes. Keeping space in the market would just ad costs to our business as we would have to pay the rent and wages to the person selling the bread. I have big hopes that you will be willing to travel and won't abandon us, we are worth it!



I am also sure that you have noticed we haven't been open on Wednesdays since the middle of January. The main reason is for me to have two days off, time which is very much needed after a hard week of work, I have caught myself on the verge of burnout many times before so I am now very conscious of my own limitations. Another reason is that Wednesdays are quite frustrating for us in terms of how much we can prepare the day before. Every Tuesday we only have from 6.30 till 1.30 to prep all bread and pastries. As much as it was ok when we only had the stall in the market, that amount of time doesn't allow us to prepare double quantities. Most of Wednesdays bread is gone around 11.30 and we have many many disappointed customers who do not return on Thursday. We always want to do our best and every Wednesday feel a bit down even though we know we couldn't have done anything differently. I just want you to understand this as I am aware that all you want is to buy bread and you assume we should "just bake more" which is simply not possible physically. The market management has not been very supportive in this area either as we have been using their power and space to provide for another site, which I guess is fair but quite short sighted. We will very soon loose earlier access to the market on Saturdays too (reason unknown) so it will make it a bit tricky to get so much baked for a very busy Saturday morning. I hope that you can see now that as much as opening a stall in the market was a great way to start, there is no way to expand any production business in there, which is very sad as I still believe the place has a lot of potential if managed better.

The good news is that we will be back open on Wednesdays from March as we have a baker now to support me but the time is still limited so the amount of bread on Wednesdays will remain the same until we are ready to bake in Weston (which is beyond exciting).

If you are still reading this, thank you, I know it has been a long post:). I will do my best to come back with more regular updates about what's on offer and what we've been up to. I know that some of you even enjoy my little stories from food trips so I need to tell you all about it as I have recently been to Paris and, this weekend, I will visit a few bakeries in Krakow (which I haven't visited in 20 years and the last time I went it was for a sommelier course, with none of us spitting the wine to a golden bowl so I don't remember much of that trip). I am hoping to get inspired with new spaces and flavours and I shall keep you updated.

The last one thing, since this post feels a little nit like confession and what I am looking for is redemption - please forgive me if I don't pick up the phone, don't answer the email or message back - you all mean a world to be, the fact you come and buy our products always gives the warm fuzzy feeling in my stomach and I am not ignoring you by not being responsive - I am just busy at work, baking and there is a limited amount of hours in a day and energy spoons in my small bowl so please forgive me. I will answer when I can.

Thank you for supporting us,

Lots of love,

Iza and the team

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