Plymouth-born Kate Langston and Cumbrian-born Sam Dennis met while studying philosophy at Durham University. They’ve recently moved to Plymouth from London and are realising their dream of opening their very own artisan bakery. Heyl Bakery – Heyl is Cornish for estuary - will be the first 100% plant-based bakery in Plymouth combining both sourdough bread and vegan sweet bakes.
Sam says it’s this that makes them unique: “We will be the first bakery to bring these two elements together. Our customers will be able to choose from a range of flavoursome sourdough loaves, baguettes and focaccia, as well as an exciting selection of plant-based cakes, biscuits and pastries, that will use innovative ingredients and techniques to veganise some bakery favourites.”
Sam has spent the last year working at the renowned E5 Bakehouse in London. Prior to that he spent six months studying the advanced diploma in artisan baking at the School of Artisan Food at Wellbeck. Kate has been a passionate home-baker for as long as she can remember, and has always dreamed of making it her profession. She has previously been commissioned to make celebration cakes for friends and family, and with Heyl she’s finally making the leap into professional baking.
Sam says they are looking to create something special: “We will make a range of naturally leavened, rustic artisan breads that use long fermentation to build flavour and character. Our signature Heyl Loaf, made using flour grown and milled in Devon, will have a caramelised crust and a light, chewy interior making it perfect for toast and sandwiches. This will sit alongside our focaccia, rye bread, sandwich tin loaf, baguette and a host of other breads that will rotate as specials.
“All our breads will be made using the best stoneground flour we can get our hands on. We will work with smaller mills, using British heritage wheats that are better for soil health and ultimately far tastier than white flour made from commodity grain shipped from half-way around the world.
“This will include older varieties of wheat, which were once widely grown but fell out of fashion after the Second World War, and modern crosses or ‘population’ wheats that are genitically diverse and more resilient to environmental change and pests without the need for excessive chemical intervention.
“Other flours we’ll be using will be milled from the earliest varieties of cultivated grain - commonly referred to as ‘heritage grains’ - including einkorn, emmer and spelt, each of which can bring unique, complex flavours to both our bread and sweet baking. These grains are typically lower in gluten and high in nutrition, making them more digestible in the experience of some people.”
Kate says they are excited to be part of the city’s growing food scene: “We've been particularly inspired to see the number of thriving independent and vegan-friendly food businesses that have established themselves in Plymouth in recent years - it feels like the city's foodie scene has gone through a really exciting transformation.”
She explains that getting involved with Start Something has meant the realisation of a dream – particularly as they will be using the bakery at Real Ideas’ Devonport Guildhall site: “The costs of setting up a bakery can be eye-watering. Although we've been saving for a number of years, the prospect of being able to afford to set up a bakery of our own still looked very distant.... until we came across the Start Something scheme.
“In addition to having access to a fully-equipped bakery, the scheme also offers valuable mentoring and networking opportunities, as well as introducing us to fellow local business owners and entrepreneurs in the Start Something cohort. This has already proven to be incredibly useful - whether we've needed some advice on business insurance, or some tips on local suppliers.”
Initially it’s hoped the bread and cakes will be available to buy Real Ideas’ cafes or pre-order to collect from their spaces, but they are also hoping to launch a local delivery service and have a regular stall at local markets.