“There’s been a bakery on this site since 1740”, Andy Turner-Cross, the baker at Slindon Bakery. Though it closed after the Second World War, when Andrew came to live at the property 22 years ago, he found the remains of an old bakehouse at the back of the building.
“It was like the Mary Rose”, says Andy, “this great old bakery with a wood-burning oven. So I got the idea to start bread baking. This was the early 1980s and people thought I was mad. I was fairly purist in my approach to baking and that helped keep me focused.
We spent the next year refitting the bakery, restoring the wood fired oven, and working at other bakeries to learn breadmaking, then got the Slindon bakery up and running again. The old oven was excellent, but after 15 years it started to crumble severely and as the building was Grade II listed it was difficult to replace it with another stone oven. So now we have an electric”.
Andy’s approach to the flour he uses is still refreshing inspired, with the wholemeal flour coming from the Lurgashall Watermill at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Singleton (which he uses in his Sussex Kibbled loaf), and rye flour and spelt from Calbourne Watermill in the Isle of White. Most of the bread is sold through farmers markets, and they manage to get to 40 markets a month (including the Hampshire Farmers Market, though bread is also sold through local health food shops and delicatessens.