Shop Days #4: The Baker

One of an occasional series where we get to see what it’s like being behind the counter for a day…
Today we meet the owner of Ayres the Bakers in Nunhead. Master baker Vincent and his wife Frances have run the shop since 1995…but the shop has been belonged to the Ayres family for 50 years. AND Vince is proud to be the 6th generation of Ayres bakers. It has to be said that they have an utterly astonishing array of bread and cakes.
Your day starts: Usually at 5am. Yes, 5am. The shop opens at 6.30.
What do you eat? Lunch is usually a long roll and some soup. Our bread is actually good enough to eat, you see.
Best bits of the job? Managing to get through our morning schedule on time. It really is one hell of a rush.
Worst bits of the job? When I have to let a member of staff go. Doesn’t matter what the circumstances, it always hurts.
If you knew 20 years ago what you know now, would you still go into the trade? I’d have to say yes. I do make a living out of the shop. But it isn’t getting any easier.
Your day ends? At around 3, when I go and pick the kids up from school. My wife runs the shop itself, and so she finishes at 5pm.
Back room secret: There are currently about 3 tonnes of flour sitting in there.
Tell us a trick of the trade: To make good bread you need a good head for percentages. And: liquid measures are always weighed rather than gauged by volume. Not a lot of people know that.

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