No room for loafers in busy new bakery

Seven Hills Bakery: Laura Bullock, John Travers and Matina Mitchell.     PICTURE: steve taylor
Seven Hills Bakery: Laura Bullock, John Travers and Matina Mitchell. PICTURE: steve taylor
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A trio of bread fanatics who got their loaves together on a baking course have opened their own bakery and shop.

The amateurs turned artisans are hand-making upper-crust loaves to centuries-old recipes, plus sour doughs the European way, from local flours and using long fermentation techniques.

All, including Manchet bread from Chaucer’s time, are selling like proverbial hot cakes at the Seven Hills Bakery on Sharrow Vale Road.

Matina Mitchell, Laura Bullock and John Travers, who hail from all corners of the UK, met on a bread-making course at the Welbeck Artisan Cookery School in Worksop.

“Baking is a passion for all of us and we really hit it off. So much so that we decided to change our lives and set up a business,” says John, 41, a film producer from Dublin.

Matina, 60, from Exeter, and Leeds bar manager Laura Bullock , 29, decided to launch here after working on Welbeck’s food stall at the Nether Edge Farmers’ Market.

“It was a brilliant atmosphere. We felt there was a real hunger in Sheffield for good produce,” says John. “The more we found out about the city, the more we realised how much fantastic food and drink is produced here.”

The trio, who each had experience of working in artisan bakeries in England, France and Germany, were so committed they left behind jobs, homes and partners to set up the business. They now share a home on Sharrow Vale Road together, taking it in turns to have weekends back home.

They have deliberately avoided traditional baking hours. When most bakers are on their way home at 5am, they are just making their way into their Devonshire Business Park bakery. It’s so they can make their bread, then head to their shop to sell to customers in person.

Matina says: “We want customers to ask us questions. We want to talk about our bread, where the ingredients come from and how we make it.”

But also, it means they don’t have to work through the night. “Night shifts are horrible,” says John. “Besides, this way we can supply people with fresh bread on their way home from work. We stay open until 6pm.”

Prices start at £1.40 for a small bloomer loaf.