Why being an artisan baker can be a rewarding career

9 November 2023

With tens of thousands of young people across the UK recently receiving their GCSE and A-Level results and embarking on the next step of their education or career paths, there is one job that may not be considered. 

Artisan bread making might not be the most obvious career choice, but one local baker explains how it can be incredibly demanding – but also incredibly rewarding. 

Kelly Eardley owns Deerstones Bakery in Colne Arcade, but didn’t always bake as a living. She was something of a prolific baker and working at Pendle Council in economic development when her friends and family suggested she take it to the next level. 

“I had the skills to develop a business plan and research gaps in the market. I had supported many Colne businesses with growth and knew it would be a great place to open a bakery. I started small, selling at farmers markets, and then took the next steps to opening my own bakery. My partner Ric joined me after a couple of years and we have run the bakery together ever since,” Kelly explains. 

However, it took voluntary redundancy to give Kelly the push she needed to take the leap of faith. She took specialised courses at The School of Artisan Foods and also recently an online patisserie course at Leiths Baking School with grant-funding support from Colne BID. 

Kelly would like to see more young people consider artisan baking as a career. 

“In recent years, there has been a surge in artisan bakeries opening across the UK. However, it is hard work both physically and mentally, with early morning starts.There is definitely a lack of skilled young people taking up bread baking as a career option and artisan bakeries struggle to recruit,” she says. 

Made with TLC 

It might be more convenient to pick up a loaf during the weekly shop, but there is something special about artisan bread. It has no additives or preservatives and therefore a real depth of flavour. 

“At Deerstones, we only use organic stoneground flour from Shipton Mill and our bread is made fresh each morning. We make genuine sourdough loaves made with our 10-year-old starter called Betty. Our sourdough loaves take 48hrs to make, from feeding the starter to folding the dough over 5 hours, then shaping and rising in the fridge overnight (this helps break down the gluten so it is easier to digest) to a final bake in the morning.” 

Jalapeno and cheddar sourdough, Tiffin and their cheese and onion pies are their top three best sellers. Whilst Deerstones is open 830am-130pm Wednesday to Saturday, it’s not unheard of for them to sell out and close up early. 

As well as selling produce, Kelly and Ric run bread baking classes, from beginners through to more technical, including lunch and refreshments. They’ve proven popular as thoughtful presents with a twist. 

Kelly is mindful of the current cost of living crisis; “Colne has a great variety of independent shops and bars on the high street; as the saying goes, if you don’t use them you’ll lose them! I still use supermarkets, but also mix that with a lot of my weekly shop from high street shops. They are friendly and good value for money, and you often find items you cannot get anywhere else.”

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