Box bakery, 165 Gibraltar Street – chatting bread and buns with Pete
Box bakery is a new arrival to 165 Gibraltar Street (next to Elm) and it’s a beautiful space. It has great natural light from the large windows and as you pass by you can see the baking in action. If you get down early enough you can call in and buy yourself some freshly baked treats.
I find it inspiring to hear about people’s passion for their craft and to learn more about the stories that have brought them to where they are now. I chatted with baker and Box bakery owner Pete to find out more about his food journey.
How are things going so far?
If I am honest, I never intended to have my own bakery and here we are at day 3! It evolved from different opportunities from working in kitchens for a number of years and being the head chef at Joni’s in Walkley.
I have been baking from my home kitchen since 2017 and selling my bread locally in Walkley. I was really encouraged by the response and I will continue to make Camm St bakery goodies for the Walkley Beer Co and Joespresso.
I am excited to be here and I’ve been working out my routine and finding out what works best for production. My goal is to make great bread and keep a work-life balance, this means staying true to how I want to work and what I want to bake.
What are you baking and where do you get your inspiration from?
There’s a batch of sea salt, dark chocolate and hazelnut brownies on the go and country bread for tomorrow is in the mixer. I am still experimenting, trying new things, working out what people want and getting feedback. Most of my baking is for wholesale and I am working with Elm to provide baking for their menu.
I have my own little library of books here for ideas, my favourite is the Tartine book by Chad Robertson, a baker from San Francisco. He’s an inspiration as he travelled around Europe and beyond to visit top bakeries and then went on to set up his own. His ideal was to balance baking and have the time to surf, he has does this and makes some of the best bread in the world.
I’ve learnt a lot from Chad’s techniques, like how he uses an iron casserole dish to bake bread. This gives a nice even heat and helps to trap steam, which will help give a good rise and crust.
My country loaf is one of my favourites at the moment, it’s a blend of rye and a San Francisco style sourdough. I love the nutty flavour and it has an interesting open texture. For something sweet, today I have three types of cookies – spelt and nut, cranberry and lemon, and then my killer option dark chocolate and sea salt.
What do you love about baking?
You don’t get into this for the glory, you do it because you love it. I like the manual process and there’s a primal element that I identify with. It’s great to be hands on, social media is all well and good for some experiences, with this though you really have to actually experience it in reality.
On a recent trip to Berlin we found this little courtyard with wine bars and a small bakery. The guy was working on his own after having worked as a baker for other people. It was pretty rustic with a tiny counter and we asked if they did breakfast, he said he could do coffee and a bit of this and a bit of that. I fell in love with the place and it’s influenced what I am doing here.
It’s in the blood too, my grandad worked in a bakery when he was young and my Dad taught me to bake and has always baked. He’s going to come back to Sheffield soon and bake with me, which will be pretty special.
As I left, the brownies were smelling amazing, I didn’t get a slice of the action as they were being put in the fridge for tomorrow. In the words of Pete, they’ll be ‘next day good’ as they improve given time and will be more fudgy. To find out what Pete is making check out his Instagram feed, you’ll see some tempting bakes, be warned.
165 Gibraltar street
Sheffield, S3 8UA
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