Proudly…baking real Bread for the People of York
Not many loaves of bread can claim that they are organic, additive-free, love given, environmentally sustainable and sourced from a local lineage, but that’s exactly the kind of bread Al Kippax of Bluebird Bakery sets out to produce, consistently.
The bread, made in his home-bakery, makes you realise why this foodstuff is often thought of as currency. Far removed from the methods and flavours found in the supermarket, Bluebird Bakery sets out to reconnect people to what they are actually eating, in the hopes that they will gain an understanding of the food they eat, and savour each morsel.
“A lot of people have lost touch with what food is. Where it comes from, such as your meats, veg, that sort of thing. It’s all packages in plastic in supermarkets” he stated, “I would like people to have better appreciation of what their food is, and where it comes from. I think this is a good way of starting it”.
Al’s background as a chef – he started at a gastro-pub before moving to London and working at top fish restaurant J Sheekey – means the transition to baking may seem like an obvious step. “I wanted originally to start a café and then sort of looked around, and from a business point of view there are a lot of cafés in York. And then I decided well there’s not many bakeries, not real bread makers anyway.” What Al refers to as ‘real bread’ goes back to his ethos of providing the community with produce that is both nourishing and honest, by using a traditional long fermentation process and no additives – a mission that is fundamental to the Real Bread Campaign that Bluebirds Bakery is proud to support and be a member of.
A great believer of the Real Bread Campaign, Al joined two years ago, and got involved in the bread-making courses run by the organisation. “I’d already baked a bit of bread, not a whole lot to be honest, and I learnt all about sourdoughs. I think with me my interest in sourdough originally started because I couldn’t eat supermarket bread, it just kept bloating me.” This bloating lead to Al going bread free for around a year or so before the memory of sourdough, and a desire to learn about baking his own bread lead to joining the courses, and ultimately making this his living.
It wasn’t only the idea of making bread free of additives and through natural processes that attracted Al to the Real Bread Campaign, which sets out to make bread “better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet.” The initiative is also to reduce the carbon-trail and create shorter food chains by sourcing local ingredients as much as possible. “A lot of my flour comes from Yorkshire Millers, and their flour is grown and milled within a 25mile radius of their farm”. As well as this, his power usage is insignificant compared to his supermarket counterparts, “my oven is a 3kw oven and your average bakery oven is about 50kw’s, so in terms of the amount of power it uses it’s pretty low.” By doing this he hopes to create a sustainable future, “It’s the only way we can go, because obviously the carbon fuel is a finite resource, so at some point it’s going to have to change. And I thought, well, you know, there’s no harm in trying now.”
For those of you who agree, you can purchase Bluebird Bakery breads from a variety of shops in York as well as Pockington Market every Tuesday and Newgate Market on Thursdays and Saturdays. Stockists include The Good Food Shop on Bishopthorpe Road, Alligator on Fishergate and Cakes D’Licious at Clifton Green. Al also supplies bread to the Golden Ball pub, and Sontano on Little Stonegate.