An organic bakery with a flour mill on site and a 44-seat café, opens on Friday on Pearse Street in Dublin 2. Bread 41 is a €250,000 start-up headed by chef and baker Eoin Cluskey, who is an investor in the business, along with Stephen McKenna, who is chief executive of the adjacent Atlas Travel Services.
The bakery and cafe will open from 7am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, serving breakfast and lunch, as well as selling bread and pastries to go. Starting in October, a takeaway pizza menu will be available from 5pm to 10pm, served through a hatch opening onto Pearse Street.
The bakery’s range of six sourdough breads are being produced “the long fermented way – the hard way”, Cluskey says, using starters they have been perfecting for the past 12 weeks.
Pastries will include a variety of croissants, fruit Danish, versions of the cruffin – croissant dough with a filling, baked in a muffin tin – as well as cream puffs and cinnamon breakfast rolls.
Cluskey was a carpenter before retraining as a chef at the Ballymaloe Cookery School eight years ago. He then worked in the kitchen at Bang restaurant on Merrion Row, before joining Patrick Ryan's Firehouse Bakery in Delgany, where he was involved in the set-up, and remained for three and a half years.
Chris McCann has been recruited from Bang as head chef for the venture, while Cluskey is head baker, overseeing the retail and wholesale strands of the business.
“Forage, ferment and pickle are Chris’s three big interests,” Cluskey says, so house-made kombucha will be on sale, along with coffee from 3fe, and there are pickles and ferments already bubbling away in the kitchen in advance of Friday’s opening. They also plan to make their own butter with organic cream from the Village Dairy in Co Carlow and Oriel sea salt.
“I want people to walk down the street on their way to work with our toast, ricotta and jam, rather than a muffin,” Cluskey says. They are making their own seasonal jams, to serve on cinnamon walnut rye toast, with whipped ricotta.
Freshness is a priority, Cluskey says, so there will be two daily bakes – at 7am and again at 11am, so nothing sits on shelves for too long. The on site stone mill, imported from the US, will also contribute to the drive to attain peak freshness. Cluskey likens flour to coffee – the more recently ground it is, the better. This will produce wholegrain flour to make some of the bakery’s loaves, while the rest of the organic flour it requires are being imported from the UK.
As well as selling sourdough loaves, Cluskey wants to get more people making it at home, and is running a series of Thursday evening breadmaking classes, starting on October 18th. They will run from 6-10pm, are hands-on, and include bread to take away, recipes and refreshments. Class numbers are capped at 12, and the cost is €80.
The wholesale arm of the business, Bread Nation, has been in operation for three months and its breads and pastries are stocked by 3fe, Fia in Rathgar and the new Fable + Stey cafe on Newtownpark Avenue in Blackrock. Cluskey and McKenna have expansion plans in mind and hope to take the Bread Nation sourdough bakery and cafe concept nationwide.