Sam Forbes started Shelly Bay Baker in 2018 with a simple bench-top flour mill and a dream to restore the availability of high quality, nutritionally beneficial baking to the local Wellington community. Today, he uses a large imported stone mill to grind fresh, organic flour for the bakery in larger quantities to try and keep up with growing demand for his tasty range of breads.
“Bread in New Zealand and throughout the world has become a cheap commodity - it’s time we celebrate the land that produces wheat and the people that grow these amazing grains. Shelly Bay Baker is working with farmers and bakers throughout NZ to kickstart a local grain economy.” Sam Forbes
One of nine children, Sam grew up eating plain, white, store-bought bread. His love of cooking was apparent as a young boy and later he trained as a chef, working with Gordon Ramsey in London. Back in Wellington he had stints at local restaurants including Capitol and The Larder, but what he really wanted was a career baking bread. So Sam set-off once again, this time to study at San Francisco Baking Institute, making the most of his time overseas to visit as many bakeries as he could.
On his return to Wellington he began Shelly Bay Baker operating from the old naval building in Shelly Bay and supplying Commonsense stores with sourdough as well as the famous fougasse. Needless to say the bread was very popular, often selling out within hours, and by August 2020 the operation had outgrown the Shelly Bay base. So, with a characteristic kiwi “can do” approach, Sam set to work again, designing and building his own bakery, mill and shop at Park Road in Miramar!
To sure up supply of organic grain for the bakery, Sam has recently established Capital Millers - a small network of local organic grain farmers growing a variety of wheat species such as durum and rye. The flour is ground every day, which gives the flour a higher flavour profile than industrially milled flour and also has a higher wholegrain content (germ and bran).They only buy organic grain from farmers that they know and trust. You can buy Capital Millers flour from Commonsense stores!
Shelly Bay Baker works withing its local community encouraging dialogue about the quality of the bread we eat today. By influencing and supporting communities with tasty and nutritious bread, their goal is to teach people to bake real bread at home. They have sourdough instructions on their website and sell sourdough starter kits on their website.
Looking forward, the bakery has recently purchased a zero emissions electric vehicle for deliveries, with plans to upgrade all three of their vehicles to electric.
We just can't wait to see what Sam gets up to next!