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Luxury Hospitality Magazine talks to Matthew Jones, the Founder of Bread Ahead

Matthew Jones has been making bread for over 25 years. He opened Bread Ahead in September 2013 supplying fresh produce daily to Borough Market customers and a range of local restaurants and delis. Matt opened the Bakery School opened in February 2014 and is designed to show the public just how easy baking good bread can be.

Since then, Bread Ahead has grown – the school at Borough has expanded and Matthew has since opened a second bakery and school in Pavilion Road, Chelsea and a brand new bakery and café in Beak Street, Soho.

Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you get into the bread making industry?

I left school at fifteen and was focused on being a Chef.

I was fortunate to find a position as an apprentice Chef at Thackerays House Restaurant where I stayed for 2 years. This was an amazing introduction to Old School classic cooking. I then spent the following 10 years working in the London restaurant scene for the likes of Simon Hopkinson, Phil Howard and John Torode.

I always had a thing for pastry and took the leap when I was 29- in 1999 to open my first Business – Flour Power City-

What inspired the idea of Bread Ahead?

Flour Power was predominately a wholesale bakery, and I knew I wanted to take my business concept further, I wanted to include Retail and Education. A key factor which lead to the start of Bread Ahead was the current unit we use in Borough Market became available. The perfect location for my concept.

You published Baking School: The Bread Ahead Cookbook back in 2017, what was the experience like? From starting the book to publishing.

Writing ‘Bakery School’ has been, overall a wonderful experience, albeit much more work than we originally anticipated! It has given Bread Ahead some brilliant exposure, and I would say that it has sown the seeds for the development of future publications.

What is your favourite type of bread to make? To eat?

I love baking and making sourdough bread – the nurturing and love that is needed to make the sourdough, for me is what’s It’s all about.

My favourite bread to eat, would be a Rye Sourdough – I enjoy the complex flavour profiles which this bread offers.

How important is it to you to use local and organic ingredients?

It is very important that where possible Bread Ahead sources local ingredients. We are very fortunate having the bakery situated in Borough Market, as that affords us a fantastic larder of ingredients at our fingertips.

It is worth noting that Bread Ahead has used Marriage’s Flour since we started back in 2013. This is a fantastic mill based in Essex.

You’ve been making bread for over 25 years, how has the industry changed in this time?

I would say that the baking industry has changed significantly over the last twenty-five years. It is unrecognisable. Back when I started baking no one had even heard of a Sourdough.

I believe that bakery in London has been a leading light for modern bakery in the UK, and we are really seeing this come to fruition with some of the great bakeries opening up outside London.

If you could bake for any three people from throughout history, who would you choose and why?

Jesus – What an amazing person to meet.
Henry VIII – I would really like to make him smile with some great bakery.
Machievelli – I admire the man and his works

Has having the Bread Ahead Baking School changed your view on baking at all?

The Bakery School gives me the opportunity to meet many, many bakers of all abilities, which is amazing. What I have learnt is to slow down, and listen…

What advice would you have for anyone just starting out making bread and other baked goods?

Don’t expect the best results from Day 1. Stick at it. Perseverance will win the day. I truly believe that repetition creates excellence.

Do you have any exciting plans for Bread Ahead in the near future?

Bread Ahead has many plans in the pipeline, in 2019 we plan to open a very new site which will showcase all our current aspects: Baking, Retail and Education.

Also… we will hopefully be developing our Professional Baking Course -The Bread Ahead Academy, and expect to see our first students coming to train to be Professional Bakers.