History of e5
The bakehouse was started by Ben Mackinnon in 2011. Frustrated with his office based career in sustainability, he handed in his notice and took to the open road.
Whilst staying in the Alpujarras, Andalucia he stumbled on a bag of flour and a packet of yeast and baked himself a loaf of bread. A seed had been planted but it wasn’t until some weeks later when he was in Fez, Morocco that the idea really took hold. In a bakery off the main street a man continually loaded a wood fired oven with small flat breads. Upstairs, in a room warmed by the oven below, two guys were busy dividing and shaping balls of dough. Feeling at home in this environment Ben realised there was an opportunity to fuse his passion for ecological sustainability with the desire to work in a creative business.
Back in England in the spring of 2011, after a stint at the School of Artisan Food with baker Carl Schavitz, Ben contacted a local wood fired pizza restaurant in his native Hackney. The owner agreed that he could use the ovens in the morning when the restaurant had no need for it. So using a friends basement to prepare the dough he would cart the proving loaves to the oven in the morning before selling them on the weekends at local shops.
Knocking on countless doors in his neighborhood offering samples of his bread and offering to deliver on a Saturday morning he established a delivery round of 20 households, which he credits with giving him the confidence to take the next step.
Through a chance encounter Ben met Lisa Stockton of Happy Kitchen. She agreed to let him build an oven in the railway arch which housed her gluten free cake company. For the next three months Ben carted clay, bricks and paving slabs through her bakery until a wood fired oven like the one he was first inspired by was finally built. It worked (to his surprise) and fueled entirely by waste wood from a carpentry studios nearby it operated for the first year of e5’s commercial operation.
With the support and custom of the local community the sourdough outgrew it’s space and e5 moved into it’s current home. Due to planning regulation, cost and consistency it was decided to use electric deck ovens and although Ben was sorry to see his wood fired oven go it has taken some of the stress out of the equation!