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Food: The home baking business proving its worth

It's gone from lockdown hobby to award-winning business in little more than a year. Velvet meets Alice Brown, baking brains behind Raised in Rampton

When Alice Brown started nurturing Stella - her now-beloved sourdough starter - in the April of last year, it was little more than a lockdown hobby. Fast-forward to today, and she’s running her own independent artisan micro-bakery, Raised in Rampton, just crowned Best Covid Start Up in the 2021 Muddy Stilettos Suffolk & Cambs Awards.

Stocking three weekly pop-up shops, in Haddenham, Swavesey and Northstowe, and a Friday regular at Histon’s Smokestalls market, Alice bakes more than 200 loaves a week for her legion of loyal customers, with best-selling flavours including Marmite & Cheese, Sundried Tomato & Chilli and Olive, Oregano & Garlic.

“My current favourites are Turmeric, Chilli & Nigella Seed and Chocolate & Hazelnut, which is amazing toasted with jam and/or peanut butter,” says Alice. “I am also on a mission to get everyone to at least try the German Seeded Rye, which my husband calls ‘The Brick’. . .”

A German native who moved to Cambridge 16 years ago, Alice’s hankering for her homeland’s breads and cakes was one of the things which inspired her to start baking in the first place - that and the fact lockdown gave her time “to re-evaluate” and “find things to do that make me happy”.

“For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed baking, whether making Christmas cookies with my nan in her kitchen as a little girl or nowadays with my own daughter, Ava,” she explains.

Using organic Shipton Mill flours (and currently experimenting with wild-farmed grains, too), her sourdoughs were soon so proficient, a friend suggested she sell them. Within weeks, a single customer had turned into 30 orders a day, a name, logo, website and social channels.

The menu has since grown to encompass sourdough focaccias, pretzels and pastries. Still baking in her home kitchen - now with the help of assistant Becky, who also mans many of the stalls - Alice recently fitted it with a pair of pro bread ovens.

“What you will not find at Raised in Rampton is an incredibly open ‘designer’ crumb which will allow your butter and topping to fall through your slice of bread,” she adds. “Instead you get to enjoy one of the best sourdoughs ever, according to various customer reviews!”

Alice also bakes to order and runs a subscription service. For details visit raisedinrampton.co.uk

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