Spotlight on Filberts
In the coming weeks, Visit Lancaster is shining the spotlight on some of the brilliant independent businesses in our local Lancashire region.
This time, it’s Filbert’s Bakery! Filbert’s Bakery is a family-owned independent bakery located in our city centre.
The bakery makes delicious fresh bread every morning along with breakfast goods, cakes and savouries. Filbert’s bread is slow-fermented, which gives it a great texture, deeper flavour and means they use a greatly reduced amount of yeast.
We spoke with owner Felicity Duirwyn and here’s what she has to share.
How would you describe Filbert’s Bakery in a line or two?
We take great ingredients and carefully make them into proper bread. The old ways are often the best ways, so we take our time and let the bread develop slowly, which is what gives it such a distinct and hearty flavour. We want what we make to nourish and we hope that it extends beyond our baked goods into the community.
What was the inspiration behind starting Filbert’s Bakery?
In simple terms? Greed! I love good bread, it is one of the oldest and simplest foods, and when done well it’s incredibly joyful. After relocating from London, I missed my regular bread-fix from Borough market so I began dabbling – with varying degrees of success.
I started small and gradually supplied a few friends and family. Eventually, the amount of floury surfaces at home became too much to bear and I was ‘encouraged’ out of the door and into town.
What was Filbert’s Bakery like in the early days?
Panicked and so chaotic! Staggeringly underprepared and frankly ignorant about baking at scale and completely without any knowledge of running a business! However, we were welcomed by the customers and given so much patience and good humour until we gradually got better, more great staff made their way to us and eventually, we made it to Filbert’s as we are now.
How has Filbert’s Bakery evolved over the years?
To start with it was just me, but after only the first week that was quite obviously madness! We slowly added more amazing staff – constantly learning and improving our wares – until today, we now have 8 staff and make more bread on our quietest day than we did in the first week of trading. Our oh-so-patient customers have grown with us as well, and we’d be nothing without their continued vociferous support.
What are you excited about in the months and years ahead?
Covid put a pause to some Grand Plans which we are just thinking about dusting off. We want to open a second location, possibly in Morecambe. A real community bakery. Somewhere to offer training and education to those on low incomes or long term unemployed. Somewhere to learn about good food and good bread. We want to reach more people, add wholesale to our offering, and spread the word about the simple joy of good bread!
What’s your favourite part/process of baking?
I love it when you really hit the sweet spot of the bake. A beautiful deep bronze colour, the crust should be almost sharp enough to cut you, and if you put your ear to it you can hear it singing. And then fresh butter. You can’t beat it!
What’s your favourite product you make (to eat yourself!)?
That’s like asking me which is your favourite child! I have a new favourite every day, depending on what has just come out of the oven. If it was one bread forever I think it’s the Rye & Black Pepper bread – with sweet or savoury, homemade marmalade being a current hero of mine.
Cardamom. It’s rare enough in use to still be wonderfully surprising. Aromatic and citrusy but with depth. I love it!
When the lockdown is over and you can once again return to our beloved high streets, please remember to support and shop local.
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