There’s something a little magical about the Ingle bakery in East London, which comes alive as most of you head for bed. Here, the journey through the bakery begins, often in the very same way it did over 50 years ago. Using many of the traditional recipes, techniques and equipment our grandfathers used, our bakers spend the early hours of every morning carefully preparing fresh goods for the day ahead.
Any worthy food story begins with its ingredients, and ours is no different. In fact, there are just a few simple ingredients needed for a freshly baked loaf or cake, so why not source the very best. In our suppliers, we look for businesses just like ours, who share our values, many of whom are both local and long-standing loyal partners in the Ingles chain. From the finest milled flour to the free range eggs that we use, each ingredient is carefully sourced for its quality and flavour.
Filling 48 shops each day with an extensive menu of over 150 products requires a serious amount of organisation. As you may expect, it all begins with accurately measuring our raw ingredients; flour, sugar, butter and eggs, which are mixed in preparation for an extensive menu of breads, pastries and sweet treats. Simultaneously, fresh produce can be found simmering on a stove ready to fill the savouries. We believe in adding only what’s natural and necessary to flavour our goods and use responsibly farmed ingredients when and where possible.
As we wander further inside the bakery, dozens of busy sections – each appointed with specialist bakers and pastry chefs – are working methodically through the process like a well rehearsed routine. Some are collecting freshly baked bread from the hot oven bottom and others are gently and meticulously folding and filling pastries. A scent of familiar spices is wafting up as someone is hand piping the finishing touches to an array of products. Meanwhile Doughnuts are flipping and sizzling in light oil, ready for hand finishing in any number of thinkable toppings and fillings. It might come as a surprise that we still hand finish so many of our biscuits and cakes, but its this part of the craft that is such a pleasure for us to retain.
So there it is, a concise production line that requires skill and precision at each point and on a race against time until dawn, when the Ingle fleet arrives for distribution. Of course we could take shortcuts, but we are proud to be purists. Years of sharing and passing along the Ingle’s family recipes has resulted in a love for the traditional approach to baking. We’ve resisted the temptations of ‘all-in’ pre-mixes, instead demanding we retain simple, fresh produce – exactly what our customers deserve.