We chat to Rachel Morgan from Twelve Triangles bakery about the art of making bread, their core values and her addiction of opening bakery shops.

Rachel Morgan and Emily Cuddeford from Twelve Triangles have a mutual love of baking.

Rachel said: “we are not fussed about making the most fiddly, detailed patisserie work but we want to make something really delicious, lovely and wholesome.”

Guided by their core values they use local and seasonal produce wherever possible, and support ethical producers and suppliers, whilst trying to give back to the local economy wherever possible.

Rachel grew up in Midlothian, along with her dad, mum and younger sister.

She said: “our family were always into having parties and any excuse to have a bit of a knees-up and a bit of a feast, but like all children, we baked at home; cakes, scones, and Christmas cake and pudding.”

Both Rachel and Emily have similar artistic backgrounds, Rachel studied costume design at Queen Margaret University, while Emily studied fine art in Brighton.

Rachel said, “theatre design was something I sort of fell into, it was something I always had an interest in, but I actually enjoyed the work that I was doing to supplement the theatre work, more.”

Window display

Rachel tells us that before joining forces with Emily she had another food company called Love Crumbs.

“I needed to hire another member of staff, and Emily applied for the job, and sometimes you just get a feeling about people. She sounded great, I knew she would be able to do this job and so we started working together,” she said.

The pair hit it off and the business soon evolved, Rachel said: “we talked about equity and ownership and all that kind of thing.”  They became more focused on sourdough bread and pastries, then in 2015 they founded Twelve Triangles. Rachel said, “so yeah it has kind of grown from there.”

Their first bakery shop opened in Brunswick St, just off Elm Row, then Portobello High St, before they opened Duke St, then Dalry Rd, and finally Easter Rd in March of this year just before lockdown.

“So we are quite a big bakery now,” Rachel said.

In the mix

They use a number of flours from different mills and Rachel explains: “we try to get a nice range from lots of different UK producers; Mungoswells, from East Lothian, Cann Mills, Yorkshire Organic Millers, Shipton Mill, Scotland the Bread and Gilchesters.

“Each specific flour has different qualities depending on the process and grain that is used.

“We are keen not to be too reliant on any one mill because everyone we deal with is so small. Any fluctuation in their harvest or their crop can make a big difference to the end product, and we now get through quite a lot of flour.”

Another key ingredient to sourdough bread is the living yeast starter, which Rachel says “are precious things.”

They have a couple of different starters, one white and one made from rye, which have very different qualities, and another sweet starter to make the sourdough sweet pastries.

The individual starters are kept in huge tubs in the industrial bakery and stored at room temperature, Rachel admits “It is quite a beast.”

Rachel explains: “The starter gets a day feed and a night feed, and it is placed in the right spot is in the bakery to make sure it is warm enough or cool enough depending on whether it is hot or cold outside. We use it so much and we need to keep it active.”

Easter Road

“It is like a baby it needs constant attention,” she said, “If you are having a problem with your bread then you can pretty much trace it back to the starter. It is so much of the building block of everything that we do, so it is pretty crucial.

“We did once have an incident when someone managed to ditch most of the starter, and we almost had to completely start again, but we managed to salvage it.”

The starters are not the only youngsters in the business, currently, Emily is on maternity leave having had a baby boy, Charlie five weeks ago.

Rachel tells us he is, “very tiny and very very cute.”

As the business has grown, the pair are spending less time kneading in the bakery, Rachel said, “now our jobs are making sure everyone knows what they are doing. So a lot more people management which neither of us has much experience of.”

“In some ways, it is a lot easier to be just in the bakery doing long hours, just making bread. But it is just incredible where we are now, I don’t think either of us thought that this is what we would have ended up doing.”

Life and loaves

Rachel talks us through Twelve Triangles range of bread, “The big hitters, are the white sourdough Khorasan, made with seeds, a white Porridge sourdough, made with oats and porridge, The Miche, which is a larger more rugged loaf with a few different flours, a multi-seed, a wholemeal, a local rye cube, and baguettes, loads of baguettes.”

Rachel said, we also have others, “as a nice treat, like Challah, a Jewish braided loaf on a Friday’s and a sweet chocolate and fig loaf, and garlic cheese one at the weekend.

In addition, there are pastries galore; croissants and pain au chocolate, pistachio and cardamom knots, maple pecan swirl, sourdough pumpkin buns and a kimchi swirl, which is laminated with cheese. Rachel adds, “I love the almond croissant.”

Rachel admits freely to being obsessed with bread, “I’m not very good at cutting off, anytime we go anywhere it is usually based around bread. If we are taking a trip anywhere, I’m like, where is the nearest bakery? It is all-consuming, and like any business, there is very little distinction between the business and my life. ”

Juggling family life and business is a constant challenge, and Rachel is married to husband, Chris and they have two children, 5-year-old Freddie and, 3-year-old Binky.

Luckily the entire family shares the passion for bread and likes to sample products from the bakery, Rachel said, “Freddie for the early parts of his life, subsisted mainly on cinnamon buns.”

Twelve Triangles Bakery

Cinnamon Buns

Daily bread

Rachel explains to us more about the art of breadmaking, “there is a level of science, but so much of it is about intuition, how it feels, smells and looks,” she said.

Rachel adds, “we have lots of regular customers and most of our shops are in residential areas, so for a lot of people it is their daily bread which is a really nice thing.”

Obviously, if you are coeliac then bread is not going to be part of your diet but Rachel is keen to point out some of the benefits, “sourdough is full of things that actually contribute to an overall balanced diet, a lot of people talk about how the gut is a brain of its own, and that you need to have a healthy microbiome to make you feel good.”

“If you have a well-made sourdough loaf, full of stone-ground flour you don’t need to eat five slices to feel sustained, you won’t feel horribly bloated and you won’t feel like you have eaten something you shouldn’t be eating. In general, good bread is incredible for you, and the cultures that we use are really good for you,” she said.

Twelve Triangles bakery

Running a business can be tough and Rachel agrees, “if equipment breaks it just feels so bleak, but it is all just part of having a business.”

She recalls one time when Emily had finished her shift and had headed home. While she was having a cup of tea, the night shift baker called in sick, so she had to turnaround and go straight back in Rachel said the reality is that, “you just have to knuckle down and get on with it.”

What has the future got in store?

So far, “it is a journey.” Rachel said.

“We have goals in mind and things we want to achieve, but as long as we have happy staff and we are making nice stuff and we keep true to our core values and can make enough money, then hopefully everything else kind of falls into place,” she said.

At the minute, “we are very grateful to still have a business and still being able to trade,” Rachel said.

She adds that opening bakeries can be a bit addictive, “we had absolutely no intention of opening our fifth shop but when the site on Easter Road came up, we thought it is such a shame because it is such a nice site, and one thing led to another and before you know it. We had the keys.”

Rachel admits, ” there is a fear that if you take your foot off the gas, everything will stop and neither Emily or I are particularly good at sitting still.”

For just now they are content to steady the ship with their existing shops. Rachel said the online shop has been, “crazy and way busier than we thought it would be.”

A positive result of Covid has been people becoming more aware of local suppliers, Rachel knows people are looking for local businesses to support, “and actually putting money back into their local economy, which is obviously a great thing because everybody needs all the help they can get at the minute.”

Twelve Triangles bakery

 

Twelve Triangles

22-24 Easter Rd,
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH7 5RG

Other Twelve Triangle Bakeries: 90 Brunswick St, 300 Portobello High St, 148 Duke St, and 50 Dalry Rd
www.twelve-triangles.myshopify.com

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About The Author

Catriona Thomson

Catriona is based in the Scottish Borders and works as part of the audiovisual team at the Scotsman but she reviews restaurants for Scotland on Sunday and writes for Scotsman Food and Drink in her spare time.

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