It doesn’t feel like six years ago, I was writing what was to be my last post before it all turned up a notch at school and I had no time to continue the journey of Ty Melin Baker, the blog.
I didn’t think the blog would lie dormant for six years whilst my life played out like a rollercoaster.
Little did I know I would resurrect the blog six years later, to tell my story and share my future adventures. Ty Melin Baker has returned but not by herself…
Well here I am, those 10 intensive months at the school turned out to be some of the best and most challenging months of my life, they were the catalyst for the adventure I was about to begin.
Once I’d graduated from school with a distinction diploma in artisan bakery and patisserie, I immediately went on to be an in house patisserie chef in the Cotswolds. Afterwards, heading to France to run my own pastry section in a 4* hotel in the Alps. Returning to the UK to set up a local artisan bakery. Meeting a gentleman who was to become one of the most important people there will ever be in my life. Having a baby with him and heading up a bakery together in East London.
Six years in a nutshell.
These past six years have been exciting, demanding, eye-opening but downright amazing!
My journey has led me to expand my knowledge in my chosen field of baking.
I have learnt a lot about how far and how much pressure I can take in a professional bakery environment.
I had once asked The Fabulous Baker Brothers and John Whaite “What does it take to become a professional baker?” at a Hay Festival Q&A in 2012, although directed at the Herbert Brothers, John Whaite responded “It’s a hard job, and very few people make it a lifelong living. It’s tough and it’s not for everyone.”
I am very happy to say that I adore what I do and I can’t believe I get to do it every single day. Yes it’s tough, yes it’s a lot of pressure, but that’s the excitement. The continual ‘wanting to do better and perfect a product’ is what keeps the “fire alive” as Tom Herbert added.
Finally, the most important thing of all to happen during these past six years post School of Artisan Food?
I met my true love, my partner in life and business, father to my son and most of all, my best friend. Lance.
We met through our love of baking and classic cars.
We started talking through social media about how to achieve the perfect interior crumb to a croissant. Being a classlic Mini owner himself, I nabbed a battered copy of a Mini magazine for Lance from a local pub, we became inseparable from then on.
Not only are we partners in life, but I am so grateful to be partners in our family business.
Working with Lance is a dream. His skill and expertise, his constant morale boosting, his banter. I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather spend my days with in the bakery.
When we product develop together, we are always questioning and bouncing off one another, “Is that too sweet? How about we….?”, “The recipe needs more salt. What’s the levain percentage? What’s the hydration? Could it do with a little more water? Shall we Autolyse?”
Both of us, always questioning, always critiquing, always striving for perfection. We live and breathe what we do. It’s a dream to be on this adventure together and making Ty Melin Bakery a reality.
Lance and I never thought we would start our bakery business during a pandemic.
At the beginning of lockdown, I didn’t have a job. So Lance and I came up with an idea of donating bread to people in the local area who were in need. We advertised for a few weeks, but had no takers, we couldn’t give bread away.
I needed an outlet to bake. We came up with an idea of a home delivery service. Both of us thought it would be a slow start and a good way of soft launching the business.
Little did we know that within a month of producing for the business we would be selling out within a few hours. Little did we know that six months later we would be selling out within 20 minutes.
The support we have received from the community of Cardiff and surrounding areas has truly blown us away. We have been able to grow steadily and are now opening up our very own space to expand our core range of what we love to make.
To introduce ourselves and our skillsets, Lance is a true lover of lamination. He adores viennoiserie, and the quest to the perfect croissant.
I could watch Lance laminate all day long. His attention to detail, with each and every stage being so precise in order to achieve the most high quality final product.
From mixing the dough, scaling, proving, rolling the butter, rolling the dough, laminating, cutting, shaping, resting, retarding, proving and finally baking. It is a long process and each little step has to be meticulously carried out.
It is a true art form and skill, that so far I haven’t seen many possess the talent for.
There are only two croissants that I have stopped and had to take a minute to pause and admire. The team at Hart Bageri produce one and the other comes from the guy who I stand beside day in day out.
Lance is a true master of his craft and I am his number one fan of him and his pastries.
I feel very lucky to have been taught lamination by Lance. The way I used to laminate before meeting Lance, isn’t even worth thinking about, as the results Lance gets from his lamination is second to none.
I am all about bread, patisserie and cake! Being creative and this is definitely something I feel when I think about bread and patisserie.
MY childhood holidays were spent in a small town in Southern Germany. Germany has a very strong coffee and cake culture. They produce some of the best cakes I have ever eaten!
Some of which I would like to put my own spin on and showcase them through Ty Melin, they’re too delicious not to!
But Germany is also very big on bread. Very much like France, locals would visit the bakery each morning to buy their daily bread or a treat for the children before they head off to school.
Brotchen (little bread rolls) are seen at most breakfast tables in guesthouses in Germany. Typically still warm from the oven and filled with delicious cheeses, cold cuts or jams.
As for patisserie, I am constantly researching, practising and learning.
I would take weekend trips away to Paris in my early twenties. With a little notebook I had filled with bakeries and patisseries I wanted to visit. I would wander the streets of Paris in search of these tucked away, mini landmarks filled with some of the best patisserie there was to find.
My love of bread has grown into a strong urge to educate people in the nutritional benefits of eating bread which has been allowed a long fermentation time. Rather than eating the cotton wool like pap that is still sold in supermarkets all around the UK today.
Also the diversity, there are so many breads that we want to put on the menu at Ty Melin Bakery. Pane Pugliese, Pan Marino, Vollkornbrot, Viennese Baguettes, Tourte de Seigle, the list goes on!
Bread should be seen like cheese or wine. Something that can be paired with a dish or can be used in a dish.
I am looking forward to teaching classes and sharing knowledge on the what happens in each stage of bread making. From mixing, autolysing, bulk fermentation, pre-shape, bench resting, final shaping, final proofing, overnight retarding, bulk retarding, oven spring, Maillard reaction, yeast’s thermal death, why we use a soaker, why we use a pre-ferment.
Each and every stage, process, reaction, will need to be spot on in order to produce a decent loaf.
Making the “perfect loaf”. It is very much like the Holy Grail. We may never make the perfect loaf, but that is our continual quest.
Our passion for what we do, we want to be able to share it. Whether it be in customers tasting our products or learning from us in one of our classes (post-pandemic).
Lance and I absolutely love what we do. It is a constant, pinch ourselves moment, that we have been able to make our dream of running our own bakery a reality.
We have you, our loyal lovely customers to thank, for the continued support.
For helping us get Ty Melin Bakery off the ground. We will work tirelessly to make our family business a sustainable business, as we don’t ever want our adventure to end.
So here we are…
I now look to the future not as Ty Melin Baker, but Ty Melin Bakers united together in our family and Ty Melin Bakery.