Interview with Reece Hetherington
Owner and proprietor of the town’s super artisan family bakery, Caked in Bread,
38 Market Place, right beside Boots.
Reece has over 25 years’ experience as a baker/confectioner having made gateaux and other scrumptious items for royal occasions and for clients such as The Savoy and the Wimbledon Championships. He started to specialize in making traditional loaves and flavoured/speciality breads in 2006 and found a real niche selling these at farmers’ markets all around the south midlands. It was whilst operating in Brackley’s market square that he noticed the empty shop which had previously been the Lindy Bakery. After several enquiries, lots of negotiations and some two years of renovation work, Reece and his partner Marivic finally opened Caked in Bread in November 2014.
‘It was a huge effort to get the shop ready for the opening’, said Reece, ‘and whilst we were pretty exhausted, we had a terrific response and thankfully all our stock sold out within hours’. It was a high pressure but fantastic start for the business which has been steadily growing ever since.
As well as a range of bread and rolls made in the traditional way, the shop now sells a complementary range of home-made confectionery as well as hot pastries, filled goods, coffees/teas and other refreshments, even seasonal fruit and veg.
Reece is hoping to expand the range further with a wider range of chilled goods. ‘Offering choice is vital’ says Reece, ‘and it’s not just the walk-in trade that has grown. We have worked incredibly hard at developing the wholesale side of the business and we now supply many local businesses with their bread, rolls and confectionery and filled goods including all the leading sports clubs, pubs, hotels, restaurants, other retailers and local companies for their staff needs. And we are always looking to expand this side of the business, in a managed way, to ensure we can always deliver satisfaction’.
How does a small food-based retail operation like Caked in Bread manage to stand up to the incredible competition from major supermarket retailers such as Tesco, Waitrose and the Co-op?. Reese explained that ‘his point of difference is based on 3 principles; freshness, healthiness and friendliness. Every loaf and roll is freshly baked from scratch each morning and we never re-stack our bread products, unlike the supermarkets. Plus we make our products in the traditional way with the finest flours and yeasts, slowly kneading the dough (even though that means 2am starts for me!) until the natural glutens are virtually eradicated. This means are loaves are not just fresh and tasty but ideal for people with wheat intolerances. You just don’t get this with supermarket products which are usually part-prepared off-site using a short mixing process (which leaves the glutens intact) and warmed on site to give the impression of freshness. We also don’t add fats, emulsifiers and preservatives and have massively reduced amounts of salt and sugar added compared with typical supermarket products. So our bread and rolls are far healthier and a better supplement to a balanced diet. Finally, you can be assured of a warm welcome and a friendly chat in our shop – it’s what we’re famous for!’