Helena Attlee got up early to find out how Alex Gooch makes his delicious organic bread – the long, slow, traditional way.
Dawn hasn’t broken over Hay-on-Wye, but Alex Gooch has already been at work since midnight. By the time we arrive at 6.30am the air inside the industrial unit is hot and full of the delicious sent of fresh, organic bread. Not many 28 year olds would swap a busy social life for a love affair with loaves, but Alex has no regrets. “I’ve drunk enough over the years” he says “and done plenty of partying”.
So what has been happening here while the rest of Herefordshire sleeps? It has certainly been a full night for Alex and his assistant, Alex Benfield. They have already produced twelve different kinds of 100 percent organic loaves, rolls and buns.
There is bread everywhere, all of it at different stages of production. The first batches out of the over are torpedo-shaped, white rustic loaves and circular stoneground wholemeal. Now the two bakers are putting the finishing touches to trays of focaccia that rise like volcanic landscapes around a pungent tapenade of olive oil, garlic and fresh organic herbs.