Chalk Hills Bakery was founded by Chris and Rosie Robinson in 2010 after their long desire to buy a decent loaf to put on the table. Having spent decades working in hotels and restaurants all over the world, the couple developed an understanding of great cooking and the importance of integrity when it comes to providing quality food.
Our plan was to provide a place for customers to buy a decent loaf which had not gone through numerous processes to reach the table.
The idea of starting a bakery business came about in 2009 in the last of three years running a pub deep in the Surrey Hills where we made a name for ourselves for our homemade bread. We wanted to follow the success of artisan bakers which were popping up in London and provide the local area with good honest loaves. We approached like-minded owners of Priory Farm in Nutfield, near Redhill, and rented their Old Tractor Shed, which was already being used as a kitchen, and turned it into a bakery. The method of how we create our loaves involves time and skill. Our head baker, who helped start up the School of Artisan Food bake house, was a lucky find with his great depth of knowledge and years of experience. Not only could he make great tasting bread, but amazing pastries too. A team of highly skilled cake bakers joined us from Priory Farm and in November 2010 Chalk Hills Bakery was born. After five successful years of baking at Priory Farm it was time to move to larger premises. In 2015 we moved all our kit to Horley and expanded our business to supply customers and retailers across Surrey.
The secret to a good loaf is time and a little bit of patience. Our talented bakers use long-fermenting traditional methods, they knead each loaf by hand and allow time for them to proof slowly. Our ingredients are as simple and as good as can be. For our sourdough loaves that means just organic flour, water, salt and our own sourdough starter which began life in Australia and was brought over by our first head baker. The true age of our starter is unknown, but we do know it has been nurtured for years and for years to come. Our talented and passionate bakers feed the starters every day and nest the final dough in baskets to proof overnight.
Sourdough is natural and nutritional. The long fermentation using naturally occurring yeasts and lactic acid bacteria found in our starters produces lactic acid. Lactic acids make gluten more digestible and provide the mildly sour taste and chewy texture in our sourdoughs which we have all grown to love.