A Bit About Bara Menyn
Driven by a passion for slow food and ethical produce, Jack founded Bara Menyn in early 2015. It has since become a hub for people seeking quality bread and delicious meals, made with love and respect, in a homely, historic space.
On the bakery side, Bara Menyn produces a limited number of loaves each day – normally less than 84; a quantity that falls short of the ever-growing demand. For Jack, though, these limited batches are at the heart of what Bara Menyn is all about – small, slow, beautiful:
“We could easily sell twice what we bake each day, but with a small operation we’re able to keep an eye on every loaf we produce, and make sure it receives the attention it deserves at every step of the baking process. Plus, we get to enjoy our jobs without the stress of mass-production – and that’s another key ingredient for good food – a lack of stress! All of our bread proves overnight in large fridges – it obviously takes a long time, but the results make it worthwhile. The texture, flavour and crust that develop during this cool, slow fermentation make it something special.”
Others concur – Simon Wright of Wright’s Food Emporium described Bara Menyn as a ‘leading light of Welsh baking.’ (The Secret Life of Welsh Food, BBC Radio Wales).
“We’re always developing new recipes, and tweaking old ones; looking for new suppliers to work with, and asking how Welsh tradition can influence how we use the bounty of impeccable produce we’re surrounded by here in West Wales.
We’re currently developing a new line of Vienoisserie products [croissants and pastries] which I’m super excited about. One of our bakers recently returned from a course at the School of Artisan Food, where she worked alongside a French master baker to learn about the secret art of lamination. It makes me happy to know that we can offer people a seriously good pastry and a cup of speciality coffee when they come in on a cold December morning and sit by a roaring fire - that's what it’s all about.”
Over in the kitchen, Bara Menyn prides itself on both its suppliers and its cooks: “Firstly we build up relationships with amazing producers – beautiful vegetables from Glebelands over the river, the most stunning eggs from Cwm-cou Organics, bacon from a single farm – Trehale – who rear properly free-range, rare-breed pigs, organic Welsh grain stoneground at Felin Ganol ; we use organic, local milk for our coffees - the list goes on; it’s about sustainability, asking moral questions, paying for quality and value, seeing a food business not merely as a vehicle for profit but as an intersection within a web of people, plants and animals, which needs to evolve sustainably and consciously.
Then it’s the turn of the cooks to treat the fruits of the land with skill, respect and love, and we’ve got a great team who do just that. We’ve got an open kitchen here too – and the cooks and the customers seem to enjoy that – there’s a dialogue, we’re not hiding away, it’s simple, honest food, made from scratch, in plain view. We’re not reinventing the wheel by any means – just bringing people and food together in a melting pot of goodness!”