As a super small sourdough social enterprise based in Cultenhove, Riverside Bakery reinvests any profits from its baked goods into its social and environmental goals.
The bakery is run by Rosi Koll, who not only bakes all the bread but delivers it by bike to sites across Stirling.
Community and environment are very important to the business. Rosi said: “We only use local and organic ingredients in our products, everything is handmade using slowly-fermented techniques such as sourdough and all our deliveries are made on two wheels. We also collaborate with charities, schools and organisations across Scotland to share our skills and knowledge about sourdough baking, heritage grains and social enterprise.”
Most goods are also pre-ordered to avoid food waste, as Rosi explained: “We sell the majority of our bread through Neighbourfood Stirling, Stirling University, Weigh Ahead and Stirling Health Food Store. But we also have a stall at Stirling’s Farmers’ Market. If you sign up to our weekly newsletter, you’ll receive all the details you need to pre-order.”
As a CIC, any profits the bakery makes are used to support initiatives which focus on local, community food production such as food education, food sovereignty, equality, local food network, Scottish grain growing and milling, incentives for food businesses or social enterprises and local food events.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
In September 2014, three friends and flatmates living in Riverside, Stirling started making their own sourdough bread at home. Théo, Tom and Nils, working from their kitchen, experimented with recipes from their respective countries of origin (France, Czech Republic and Germany) and beyond. Their sourdough creations soon drew a crowd – with friends wanting sourdough bread from the ‘Riverside House’ for themselves.
One of the friends, Théo Laffargue went on to do a ‘Baking for Community’ course from Bread Matters – learning more about sourdough baking and how to set up a social enterprise bakery. Starting small and growing slowly, Riverside Bakery started by selling directly to customers through a weekly newsletter ordering system and delivering by bicycle.
Soon the bakery was providing bread to various pick-up points around town each week, as well as selling monthly at the Stirling Farmers’ Market.
The end of 2015 saw the Bakery move to a shared commercial kitchen in Cultenhove at the Hillview Community Centre – with enough space for a proper oven!
CUSTOMER TO APPRENTICE BAKER
One of the bakery’s most enthusiastic customers from the beginning, Rosi, started volunteering with the bakery regularly in 2018 – learning the art of slowly fermented bread making. In 2019 she became an employee and eventually took over the bakery in April 2020 as Théo headed off for pastures new.
Théo said: “Rosi has been working with me as an apprentice for the last year or so, gradually taking on more and more responsibility. She is a passionate advocate for good bread and better food systems and has so much enthusiasm for everything she does. She also makes super delicious bread!”
Théo continues to support the bakery as a Director, and is involved in the wider local grain economy and real bread work across Scotland.