Forge Bakehouse, located on Abbeydale Road, was set up by Martha in 2012 after her studies in Baking at The School of Artisan Food.
"I didn’t have much more of a plan than to make delicious food for others to enjoy, and to work in an environment that suited me. I’ve always been more practically minded so it’s great to challenge myself physically and mentally with baking. It has been a challenge, and more work than I had ever considered but your resilience when you have no other option but to continue can be pretty amazing."
The bakery prides itself on serving fresh bread without improvers or additives. They make things as simply as possible, allowing their bread the time needed to create the characteristic flavours and textures of good sourdough.
"Inspiration for flavours is not limited by region or culture. All staff bring ideas and experiences when they join us which influence our product range, and we all love seeking out new food wherever we go so inspiration is brought back from people’s visits home and abroad and inspired by others in the business."
Locally sourced and organic ingredients are at the heart of Forge Bakehouse, they work with a number of independent local traders from coffee roasters, to millers, to dairy farms. Why is this important to you?
"I never set out to be an organic bakery (we aren’t) but if you can take that option when it makes sense, why wouldn’t you? We try to make things as naturally as possible, so it made sense to use ingredients which are as natural as possible. We are an independent business hoping to be supported by our community, so again it makes sense to put our money back into the local area by supporting other local businesses. It would be hard to do that exclusively, but when we can, we do."
In 2015, Martha opened up a small café space alongside the bakery, which at the end of 2017 expanded again to include a larger licensed dining space above. Forge now serves breakfast, brunch and lunch daily, alongside an ever growing number of evening events including supper clubs, dinners and private hire events.
If you want to become a master in bread making, Forge Bakehouse hold twice monthly bread making classes, from Sourdough to French Baking, where they impart their wisdom and help you achieve your bread making dreams.
Where do you see yourself/forge bakehouse in 5 years time?
"That’s a very hard question to answer, one that I can’t answer because I don’t know! I hope the bakery is still going strong, that it has a great reputation and hasn’t compromised on anything. I feel like I work with a team now who are all working towards the same goal, it’s a proper little business, rather than something I am bumbling along attempting to run!"