Social purpose bakery looks to boost flatbreads

A Bristol bakery that employs young people with learning disabilities hopes to boost the number of lavosh flatbreads it makes when it relocates to new premises this month.

Step and Stone currently produces 40 boxes of the wheat-based thin crunchy bread alternatives daily, three days a week, from its base at Long Ashton Community Centre in Keedwell Hill, Bristol.

The business now intends to boost production to 60 boxes a day and operate five days a week when it moves to The Park Centre in Knowle at the end of August, Jane Kippax, who established the bakery in November 2016 with Jane Chong, told British Baker.

The women, both of whom have children with Down’s Syndrome, set up the bakery after “learning that only 6% of people with a learning disability are in paid employment”.

“As parents ourselves, we were horrified, knowing full well that people with a learning disability really can and do make valuable employees,” Kippax said.

“We have developed visual recipe cards, so that our young bakers can weigh the ingredients. Some still need a little help with this, but they will confidently mix the dough, help roll the small pieces of dough into sausage shapes and be on oven duty. The favourite task in the kitchen is rolling the small pieces of dough through a mechanised pasta roller and laying them on a baking tray – we have no shortage of volunteers for this stage.”

All profits are reinvested back into the bakery, which employs six part-time staff, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome.

It is currently working with 15 young people who have a learning disability and will have room for 25 when baking increases to five days a week, Kippax added.

“Everybody is so proud of the end-product,” she said. “It is so important that our young people feel that they have an important contribution to make. It has been wonderful to see people’s confidence grow.”

Each box contains approximately 15 lavosh flatbreads, which are made from ingredients including Shipton Mill organic flour, Somerset cold-pressed rapeseed oil and Maldon sea salt, and can be eaten individually or as an accompaniment to soups, dips or cheese and pickle.

Available in five flavours – rosemary & sea salt, poppy seed, sesame seed, smoked paprika & cayenne, and classic – the baked items are sold in fine food shops and delicatessens mostly around Bristol and North Somerset.

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