THE PRE BAKE
Hi, my name is Robbie and I’m originally from East Kilbride (just outside Glasgow). I’ve been a printer since leaving school at 17, where I learnt to print magazines and supplements for national newspapers. I had always dreamed of being in the food industry and owning my own café but with a good job already, I settled for being a keen home cook and baker.
At 36, while living in Sheffield, I was made redundant for the second time. As I’d always wanted a career in the food industry, I took this opportunity to make the leap. In 2016, I enrolled on a baking course at The School of Artisan Food. This sparked my obsession with bread and in the summer of 2017, I graduated and later that year started Northern Rye in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
In the beginning, I baked in my flat kitchen and with the help of Anna Hedworth at the Cook House, held my first popup stall in December 2017.
In 2018, I was back with my popup bakery at the Cook House and then also at other locations including, OCC Harvest Canteen and Champion Bottles & Taps. At the time, I was juggling working at Sainsbury’s while running the bakery from home and it wasn’t until Summer 2018, when a unit became available at i2 Byker Business Centre, that I decided to give up Sainsbury’s and become a full time baker.
The breads and pastries I make are produced using slow fermentation techniques. I only use flour, water and salt to make my sourdough bread and by proving the dough for 12 to 28 hours, it has time to ferment which aids digestion and develops richer flavour, aroma and crust. Our pastries are made using a similar slow process, which can take up to 3 days.
At Northern Rye, we aim to use high quality ingredients in all our products. The flours are sourced from British millers including Gilchesters, based in Northumberland and Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire. All these flours are organic and we use stoneground flour where possible, imparting more flavour and nutrients into our breads.
My dream for the future is to open a Bakehouse where people can come and enjoy my baked goods with a coffee and a spot of breakfast. I also one day, hope to share my knowledge of bread through baking classes and training apprentices, spreading my passion for the ‘Slow Food’ movement in the UK.
Along with a growing wholesale customer base, I run a preorder and collect service on Friday afternoons. Please see the ‘BAKES’ page for more details.