Positano

Our Origins

ITALY

Travelling to Naples and eating at L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele  back in 2005 kick started my interest in all things pizza and sourdough. Naples exemplifies the chaos and exuberance of the southern Italian spirit, and the modest downtown pizzeria is a singular experience of freshest-is-best cooking and no-frills look and feel.

South of the Bay of Naples, the famous Amalfi coast lies in wait, with its picturesque towns holding the keys that can unlock the most colourful sun and sea-drenched dreams of la bella vita. As the original home of Giuseppe Mascoli, my companion and business partner, the town of Positano provided another awakening.

Positano

Our Origins

ITALY

Travelling to Naples and eating at L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele back in 2005 kick started my interest in all things pizza and sourdough. Naples exemplifies the chaos and exuberance of the southern Italian spirit, and the modest downtown pizzeria is a singular experience of freshest-is-best cooking and no-frills look and feel. 

South of the Bay of Naples, the famous Amalfi coast lies in wait, with its picturesque towns holding the keys that can unlock the most colourful sun and sea-drenched dreams of la bella vita. As the original home of Giuseppe Mascoli, my companion and business partner, the town of Positano provided another awakening. 

The bonhomie and open-heartedness of beach-hardy fishermen and shoemakers, who rubbed shoulders with opera singers, artists and film directors, showed the extent to which the creative arts can be the ultimate social ‘levellers’ and how a shared passion for food provides a point for diverse human contact. As I developed my understanding and taste for the culture, I became increasingly passionate about natural ingredients and their provenance. With Giuseppe we explored their origins in depth, through visits to vineyards and orchards, bakeries and dairies, mills and farm cooperatives, making many associations with producers along the way to opening our first business in Brixton Market in 2008, a pizzeria called Franco Manca.

Fire Oven
Giuseppe Mascoli
Shorter-Lines

The bonhomie and open-heartedness of beach-hardy fishermen and shoemakers, who rubbed shoulders with opera singers, artists and film directors, showed the extent to which the creative arts can be the ultimate social ‘levellers’ and how a shared passion for food provides a point for diverse human contact. As I developed my understanding and taste for the culture, I became increasingly passionate about natural ingredients and their provenance. With Giuseppe we explored their origins in depth, through visits to vineyards and orchards, bakeries and dairies, mills and farm cooperatives, making many associations with producers along the way to opening our first business in Brixton Market in 2008, a pizzeria called Franco Manca.

Fire Oven
Giuseppe Mascoli
Shorter-Lines

PIZZA

Franco Manca and Bread Bread Bakery were both a result of a romantic food journey that started in Naples. While the pizzas are a singular Neapolitan product, the bread range has grown to incorporate a wider spectrum of dough recipes and baking methods. The common denominator for both has been the appeal of natural fermentation in general and a fascination with sourdough in particular. The flavour inherent in sourdough seems to compliment almost every food ingredient. On a pizza, it works with the sweet acidity of the tomatoes and unlocks the already ‘lactic’ milkiness of fresh mozzarella. It is also the most nutritious way to develop dough of all types, from savoury bread loaves to sweet panettone.

“The flavour inherent in sourdough seems to compliment almost
every food ingredient.”

FRANCO MANCA

Franco Manca and Bread Bread Bakery were both a result of a romantic food journey that started in Naples. While the pizzas are a singular Neapolitan product, the bread range has grown to incorporate a wider spectrum of dough recipes and baking methods. The common denominator for both has been the appeal of natural fermentation in general and a fascination with sourdough in particular. The flavour inherent in sourdough seems to compliment almost every food ingredient. On a pizza, it works with the sweet acidity of the tomatoes and unlocks the already ‘lactic’ milkiness of fresh mozzarella. It is also the most nutritious way to develop dough of all types, from savoury bread loaves to sweet panettone.

“The flavour inherent in sourdough seems to compliment almost
every food ingredient.”
Bridget Hugo

Quite soon after starting Franco Manca, I produced a pizza recipe book for Kyle Books (now Octopus Press) called Artisan Pizza To Make Perfectly at Home. It has an intro by Giuseppe Mascoli and includes his recipes for cured sausage and various condiments, as well as our topping suggestions and prep instructions for a wide range of pizzas. In it I explain a foolproof process for hot baking pizza at home that gives the closest result to Neopolitan pizza you can get using average domestic equipment. I have discovered so much about home doughs since I wrote this book that I would love to do a follow up.  

Bread Bread Pizza
Bridget Hugo
Bread Bread Pizza

Quite soon after starting Franco Manca, I produced a pizza recipe book for Kyle Books (now Octopus Press) called Artisan Pizza To Make Perfectly at Home. It has an intro by Giuseppe Mascoli and includes his recipes for cured sausage and various condiments, as well as our topping suggestions and prep instructions for a wide range of pizzas. In it I explain a foolproof process for hot baking pizza at home that gives the closest result to Neopolitan pizza you can get using average domestic equipment. I have discovered so much about home doughs since I wrote this book that I would love to do a follow up.  

Olive Sticks

SOURDOUGH

Bread Bread Bakery’s range has included Italian recipes from the start, like the Tipo 00 ‘Cafone’ bread (made with pizza flour) or Sicilian-inspired ‘sfincione’ style focaccia. Many other products have come along, mainly as a result of the accumulated lessons learned by working with various bakers versed in French, Hungarian, German and Austrian styles of baking. I enjoy exploring recipe origins and keeping the products ‘authentic’, but in many cases the methods are adapted in ways to suit our flour and my own creative purposes. Whatever the recipe we always try to introduce a sourdough to it, and follow a slow, natural fermentation. Our croissant dough includes a sweet ‘osmotolerant’ starter to enhance the flavour and digestibility.

Olive Sticks

SOURDOUGH

Bread Bread Bakery’s range has included Italian recipes from the start, like the Tipo 00 ‘Cafone’ bread (made with pizza flour) or Sicilian-inspired ‘sfincione’ style focaccia. Many other products have come along, mainly as a result of the accumulated lessons learned by working with various bakers versed in French, Hungarian, German and Austrian styles of baking. I enjoy exploring recipe origins and keeping the products ‘authentic’, but in many cases the methods are adapted in ways to suit our flour and my own creative purposes. Whatever the recipe we always try to introduce a sourdough to it, and follow a slow, natural fermentation. Our croissant dough includes a sweet ‘osmotolerant’ starter to enhance the flavour and digestibility.

Shorter-Lines

PASTA

Most recently I have started making fresh pasta, which seemed a logical transition from bread and pizza. The new pasta kitchen (STROZZAPRETI) presents me with the opportunity to use my knowledge and understanding of wheat in a new way and to design dishes that celebrate a wider palette of flavours. I love seasonal and sustainable ingredients, use wild rabbit in our ragu and fresh olive oil from Tonde Iblea in Sicily. Our burrata is made in Kings Cross – probably one of the few fresh cheeses still made within the M25! I have added sourdough starter to my pasta recipe and enriched the non vegan recipe with ricotta and egg, to make the lightest and most digestible pasta possible. We were going great guns before all hell broke loose, and like many food businesses we may need a rethink when the global Covid-19 pandemic is over. Franco Manca has had to navigate through the same turbulence.

But I have Bread Bread Bakery to thank for continuing to bring a much-loved basic staple to the table day by day. We have increased our presence in Farmer’s Markets across the city and continue to deliver products wholesale to businesses distributing food across most areas of London.

Bridget Hugo
Founder

Bridget Hugo
“We were going great guns before
all hell broke loose.”