Couple Nikola Ondrouskova and Ladi Adamek quit their jobs to follow their sourdough dream and opened Bread Addiction in Southsea in August. Reporter Claire French finds out how their business is already growing.
A young couple are enjoying rising success after bringing sourdough bread to the streets of Southsea.
Nikola Ondrouskova and boyfriend Ladi Adamek quit their jobs and opened Bread Addiction in Elm Grove in August.
With a counter full of freshly-baked pastries, the couple are already looking for ways to expand the business.
Despite being exhausted after having to wake up at 4am to start work on the day’s croissants, they have decided to start running bread making classes for members of the public from the start of next year.
Nikola explains: ‘We have decided to do the lessons because it will connect us with our customers even more.
‘People may start making the bread at home and no longer buy it from us, but we don’t mind.’
Ladi, formerly an engineer, chips in: ‘It is more about explaining the process to people and giving them the detail so they can do it themselves at home.
‘It will allow them to find out that making sourdough is not as easy as it may look.’
The pair say their sourdough skills were learnt at home in the Czech Republic, but they have been on bread-making courses in London to boost their abilities.
‘It was a small class and helped us with our knowledge of bread,’ Ladi explains.
‘We want to do it here because there is nothing like it in the whole of Hampshire.
‘There is nothing like it for people here and we want to teach people about sourdough. It’s introducing real bread to Portsmouth.
‘Real bread does exist if you look for it. Our bread only has three ingredients. It is 24 hours’ work.’
Bread Addiction only opened in August after Nikola and Ladi took on a former bed shop.
The empty shell of a shop was worked on every day by the pair, while Nikola was working as a carer.
‘It was empty when he came in,’ Ladi says.
‘It was all closed up. All there was in here was the walls and the floors.
‘Everything else had been removed.’
Nikola adds: ‘We have been open for about three months and we are constantly tired but we have been very lucky.
‘The people who came to see us in the beginning have become our regular customers.
‘We have already developed a relationship with our customers and we have met a lot of people.
‘I thought this was going to be easy before we opened but when we started all the building work, we were working 24/7. I came from the healthcare industry and became a builder – we did everything ourselves.
‘Now we are shop owners – we do the baking and serving.
‘In the morning, for example, we get up at 4am for the croissants. We open at 7am in the week and 8am at the weekends and we have a day off on Monday.’
As well as feeding the bread addiction and sweet teeth of people living and working nearby, the couple have found many of its customers are from countries including Portugal, France and the Czech Republic.
‘We have a few people from other countries who come in, but we also have lots of British people who are familiar with the products that we are creating,’ Nikola says.
‘We have also got lots of customers who are gluten sensitive who have problems with supermarket bread. Many of our customers say they have no problems when they have our bread. It’s very easy to digest.
‘But apart from the health benefits, when people buy their bread from us, their money stays in the local economy.
‘We are not a chain, it is just the two of us.’
SOURDOUGH is a type of bread made from a fermented ‘starter’ rather than yeast.
The starter is left to ferment for a number of days, months or even years before it is added to the other ingredients of the dough.
The starter develops over time and can be kept to use in numerous batches of sourdough.
It is fed over time to keep it alive.
Making a fresh batch of starter can be as easy as stirring together some flour and water and letting it sit.
As with other types of bread, once the dough has risen, it is kneaded, proved, shaped and baked.
Other than being used for sandwiches, it is popular as pizza dough, stuffing, croutons and even bread bowls for soup.
Sourdough is enjoyed all over the world. In recent years, it has become more and more popular, with celebrity and television chefs like the Fabulous Baker Brothers using the dough for all manner of tasty treats.
Have a go yourself...
BAKING your own bread can seem like a daunting experience - particularly if you have never tried making something like sourdough before.
Taking on the laborious process might make you want to go to somewhere like Bread Addiction to let someone else do the hard work.
But the Elm Grove shop will be offering lessons to members of the public from January to spread the sourdough word.
The classes are taught by Nikola and Ladi in their shop every Sunday from January 18 to February 8.
The whole-day class includes the bread, recipes, lunch and refreshments and a Bread Addiction canvas bag. Bakers can take their finished goods home with them. In the future, the couple hope to run pastry courses as well as sourdough making lessons.
A space on the lessons costs £85 per person, with a maximum of eight people per class.
- To book, call 07411 449177, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the shop at 54 Elm Grove, Southsea.