We sat down for a chat with Claire Very, of Woodstock’s own Natural Bread Company, to learn a little more about what makes her artisinal bread so amazing!
So, tell us about yourself and your history a bit.
I am 52, French, have 3 daughters (Charlotte 25, Georgia 20 and Lola 15) and have lived in Oxford for over 30 years. My late husband (William Black, Food writer) and I started making bread in 2006 and set up Appleton farmers market and then attended Wolvercote farmers market and east Oxford farmers market weekly. We now have a bread, cake and coffee shop and Woodstock and used to have one in Eynsham and one in Little Clarendon street in Oxford.
What drew you to start baking bread?
When we started baking, I really missed French sourdough bread as they are naturally leavened using slow fermentation techniques. William made all the breads and viennoiseries and I baked cakes. William passed away in December 2014 after a year long battle with a brain tumour and I carried on with running the business somehow…
What makes your bread special?
Our bread ingredients are flour, salt and water (the flour is from Wessex mill in Wantage so really local) so as simple as you can get but unlike mass produced breads, we never use preservatives, improvers or additives of any kind so much better for you. Our breads take 24 hours fermentation or 48 hours for the Oxford sourdough so it is a long process and all our loaves are hand shaped.
What’s your favourite kind of bread?
So hard to choose, but if I have to say, my favourite breads are the Oxford sourdough and the Multigrain sourdough, delicious toasted!
How did you come to work with Cultivate?
We first met with Cultivate when their van used to park outside our shop in Oxford once a week to sell their lovely produce. Now we provide freshly baked breads and pastries to their weekly online delivery boxes every Friday morning.
How can the local community support your business?
The community can support our business by coming to our shop in lovely Woodstock and our markets on Saturdays in East Oxford and Sundays in South Oxford.