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Face to face

Ladi AdamekA new column, talking to people with passion for what they do. Born in The Czech Republic in 1985, Ladi Adamek trained as a mechanical engineer. He opened Bread Addiction with his partner Nikky Ondrouskova in 2014, its sourdough bread and pastries have won a huge following across the city and beyond.

HAVE YOU ALWAYS LOVED BAKING?

Growing up I was more of a consumer than a baker! It wasn’t until I came to the UK in 2010. I realised there were so few artisan bakeries, back home they are on every corner. We began researching the idea of opening a bakery in Portsmouth. The E5 Bakehouse in Hackney was an inspiration. The founder Ben MacKinnon began baking from his home, using simple high quality ingredients. Today his Bakehouse is one of the best bakeries in London.

YOU MUST HAVE HAD SOME TRAINING?

No, not really. We spent a couple of years practising, and I did a few short courses to learn new techniques in professional patisserie, but I’m 99% selftaught and still learning. Baking has a lot to do with planning and procedure, a lot like engineering.

OPENING A SHOP AND FITTING IT OUT IS EXPENSIVE – TELL US HOW THAT CAME ABOUT?

It took a while to find the right shop but we paid for about 70% of the costs with our savings, the rest we borrowed from the bank. We now continue to reinvest in the business.

WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT SOURDOUGH?

The ingredients are so simple: flour, water, salt and the natural bacteria or starter, which we refer to as ‘Mother’. We use the same Mother that we started with in 2014, which we feed and lavish with care, I’ve even taken it on holiday with me! The dough is left to prove, (the rest period before baking) for 48 hours, which makes the bread easier to digest, especially if people have a slight gluten intolerance. Most supermarket breads are made within a hour or two and are full of additives. But most of all I think sourdough tastes amazing!

HOW MANY LOAVES DO YOU BAKE EACH DAY?

Around 100 on weekdays and 200 at the weekend, we also supply some local restaurants and shops. Plus we make 200 – 300 cakes and pastries per day.

HOW MANY STAFF DO YOU EMPLOY?

About 12, a mix of part-time and full-time. We usually train people on the job, we like to find people with enthusiasm rather than lots of experience. It’s quite a young team, we currently have a lad with us from France, who has come here under the Erasmus programme.

WHAT TIME DO YOU START WORK?

In the early days of the bakery, it used to be 3am, but now at 7am I start deliveries of bread and pastries to other local businesses, then return to the bakery to help our team.

ANY RECIPES YOU WANT TO TRY?

We want to experiment with laminated brioche – which is like regular brioche but with extra butter, but still with a light texture. We like to try everything, as long as the product is good and we would be happy to eat it every day.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO HAVE ON YOUR TOAST?

Bacon and eggs are a favourite.

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?

We are waiting to see what’s going to happen as the UK leaves the EU, but in the meantime we need to try and create more space for increasing our baking capacity. But my main interest is maintaining the quality of what we do and being a good employer.


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