15-year old sets up bakery, thanks to help from ‘generous bakers’

The Orange Bakery opens this weekend in Watlington, Oxfordshire, run by 15-year old Kitty Tait. A feat she has been able to manage thanks to “the generous baking community”.

Kitty has been making bread for less than a year, but her pop-up version of the bakery sold out in 23 minutes in January, thanks to her clever guerrilla marketing tactics.

This basically involved scattering hundreds of orange pom-poms in her local area to promote the launch, which by all accounts worked a treat. Then by April there was a Kickstarter campaign, which raised £10,140 (double the £5,000 requested).

“This time last year I wasn’t much of a baker,” admits Kitty. “I started baking bread in late summer. I was ill and needed the distraction and at first that’s all it was – a distraction, but it hooked me.

When she started out, Kitty admits she was a big fan of the white sliced, but she has since moved on to sourdough, cinnamon rolls, cookies, croissants and cheese straws, as well as a range of loaves that now includes focaccia.

Kitty has had lots of help and advice from bakers on Instagram, and Pophams in Islington even donated a mixer to her cause. Proving baskets were gifted to Kitty by Laura Hart of Hart’s in Bristol

“Bakers are a special breed because they make you feel comfortable and treat you as an equal,” says Kitty. “Hamblin’s in Oxford and The Dusty Knuckle in Dalston have been incredible. And Ducky from Handmade Bakery in Huddersfield has been a brilliant person to chat to from the very beginning.”

Kitty’s baking hero though is Chad Robertson of the famous San Francisco bakery Tartine, who she hopes to meet one day: “Tartine was the first book that properly showed me how to make sourdough – it describes his journey while educating you in the beauty of sourdough."

“The feeling of a live creature under your fingertips; breathing, growing, changing. I’ve never really thought of creating bread as baking, more that I was taking part in some extraordinary magic.”