This is a story about an independent family run
bakery and keeping the foodie passions alive…read on…
A family affair
Natural Bread is a family business through and through. Growing up in France, Claire Véry was surrounded by a love of food from an early age. She recalls her fondness for the local markets, packed with vibrant colours of vegetables and the irresistible aromas of freshly baked bread. Her husband William Black shared her passion for natural home-made food and in particular for making bread without any additives or preservatives.
In 2006 they set up Appleton Farmers Market, having realised that there wasn’t a market locally to rival the markets Claire had loved in France. With nobody offering fresh bread in the area, they set about perfecting their own sourdough recipe. William gathered every book he could find on sourdough and travelled across Europe to seek inspiration from bakers in France, Italy and beyond. Sourdoughs are naturally leavened, using traditional slow fermentation techniques, which creates a distinctive and delicious fresh loaf that also keeps well for a several days.
Their home-made sourdough was introduced to the food enthusiasts of Oxfordshire at Appleton Farmers Market. Almost immediately they were selling out completely every market day and soon couldn’t keep up with production in their home kitchen. A pizza oven in their garage was brought back to life to keep up with the ever-increasing demand, until they moved to a commercial bakery in Botley.
The first Natural Bread shop and café was soon opened in Eynsham in 2008, followed by the flagship premises in central Woodstock in 2009 and a further bakery shop & café in Oxford’s Little Clarendon Street in 2013. Add to that a successful wholesale business supplying breads, pastries and cakes to restaurants, cafés & stockists across Oxfordshire and life became very busy for Claire and William.
Keeping the passion alive
Sadly, William Black passed away in December 2014, following a year-long battle with a brain tumour. Determined to continue with the vision that had inspired William, Claire has kept William’s love of good food, natural ingredients and family values at the heart of Natural Bread. With her three daughters sharing the family passion for baking, there is hope and excitement for the future of the family business. Daughter Charlotte began her career managing the Oxford store, Georgia works as a barista & management trainee in the Woodstock shop and even young Lola is a whizz in the kitchen too – clearly sharing her father’s skills for making bread!
2018 has seen a change in direction for the business with the closure of the Eynsham and Little Clarendon Street shops and the growth of the wholesale business and an expanding network of stockists across the county. Claire’s passion for Natural Bread remains as strong as ever. She continues to work full time in the business and is often seen behind the counter in the Woodstock shop, serving customers at the weekend markets and visiting wholesale clients.
Today the range includes all sorts of loaves, buns, cakes, pastries and viennoiserie – and you can see from the variety how the team are inspired by their travels around the world. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and high quality specialist coffees and teas are also on offer. Whatever you choose from Natural Bread, it is always 100% natural and 100% delicious.
Take it slow, keep it Natural...handcrafted with love and nothing else....