Couple's Jedburgh business is on the rise after a simple twist of fate during lockdown

A Borders family’s future has been transformed during lockdown thanks to an accidental introduction to home baking.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 7:13 am
Kevin, Cristina and Mhairi Wood have just opened the Naked Sourdough Bakery in Jedburgh. (Photo:BILL McBURNIE)

Kevin and Cristina Wood are reaping the benefits of an upsurge in the popularity of sourdough, the slow fermented bread with no additives which benefits the digestive system.

Earlier this month they launched their family business, Naked Sourdough in Jedburgh’s Bridge Street, and it is proving a runaway success, with eager customers queuing up around the building.

But as Cristina explained the venture was the result of a quirk of fate.

She said: “My business started by accident when we had the first lockdown and everyone was struggling to get yeast, flour, and my sister in Germany told me I should try making sourdough because it was so good and you only need water and flour and a bit of salt.

"At the time I had a very demanding job and she sent me a small envelope with a starter in May 2020

"I fed it and it didn’t develop and I did my own research and I put together my own starter and day by day this thing started developing and lactic acid bacteria started accumulating and it started bubbling up.

"My husband said after making just one plain loaf of bread we should be experimenting with this and along came Jalapeno and cheddar loaf which he adored and we offered it to friends.

"To put something together using just water and flour and at the end to have such a beautiful loaf of bread is the beauty of it. Our friends fell in love with it and posted on Facebook about it.

"Their friends started asking where they could get the bread and I was tagged and that was when it started. I hadn’t started this to make bread for anybody else but for us in the house but I’ve ended up from making one loaf to supplying the butcher in Jedburgh, Briggsy’s, with five loaves weekly and from those five loaves weekly we then got to 320 loaves over two days just before Christmas.

"It grew arms and legs and is incredible.”

Cristina, who lives in Kelso with Kevin and daughter Mhairi, was working for a French company as head of recruitment when she started baking and making dough at home.

She added: “I took the decision to give up that job and focus fully on our family business making exciting sourdough.

"I personally make something that nobody else makes in the Borders and that’s sourdough with really exciting inclusions and think that is what people love the most. I have for example a maple syrup and bacon loaf which my customers adore.”

She added: “We started opening up as a temporary set-up every Saturday 11.30am and 2pm and we actually had queues going around the building and into the main road. It was absolutely amazing.”

The plan is to turn one room at the premises into a coffee corner with baked products related to sourdough and for the outlet to eventually open up to three days each week.