Q&A with Eoin Cluskey of Bread Nation
Ireland – we really are a nation of bread lovers – and the carry-ons of Irish consumers during the latest snow storm was certainly proof of this as loaf after loaf in bakeries, supermarkets and corner shops sold out within hours if not minutes of them going on sale. So with this in mind there is no doubt in my mind that Bread Nation, Dublin’s newest bakery is so very aptly named. But who are Bread Nation?
Eoin Cluskey is the founder, owner and Head Baker of Bread Nation and Bread 41. His passion for the food industry has taken him far and world-wide over the years. This passion also took him to Ballymaloe Cookery School where he spent six months focusing on how good food is grown and “how to treat ingredients with respect”.
It was also here that he began his thirst for knowledge into the making of real bread, and it wasn’t long after that he became involved in the setup of the ‘Firehouse Bakery’ in Delgany and became their Head Baker. Meeting with Stephen McKenna the CEO of Atlas Travel Group and GoHop Group of travel companies, over his freshly baked bread not only secured Eoin a Bread Nation partner with extensive sales, marketing and business management experience but most importantly the opportunity for Eoin to open his own bakery ‘Bread Nation’ and café ‘Bread 41’.
With breads ranging from €3.00 for a family pan of 1200 grams, to €4.50 for the sourdough naturally leavened breads. Eoin’s mission is to bring real bread home to the nation.
“Real Bread, in its purest form, is bread made without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives. Real Bread is simply flour, water, salt and fermentation. The opportunity as we see it is great, all it takes is courage, imagination… and a little dough!”
Let the Questions be Bread! – Quick Fire Questions with Eoin Cluskey of Bread Nation
When was Bread Nation set up?
Bread Nation was registered in February 2017 and started trading in March 2018.
Where is Bread Nation HQ?
41 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.
Describe the product you offer
Bakery – Our bakery specialises in long fermented breads, which are made using traditional methods and just a few simple ingredients; flour, salt and water.
Our Eatery ‘Bread 41’ – Our Mission is to deliver amazing baked goods, drive exceptional service and create friendships through our customer base, and nourish individuals, businesses, and communities through the practice of making real bread and pastries.
Who are the Bread Nation customers?
Within 1 mile of our bakery there are 30 leading boutique cafés and we are currently supplying about 15 of these. We have conducted a survey of these establishments and they are amenable to working with someone who can deliver to our expectations and exceed their own expectations.
Bread Nation supplies like-minded retailers, restaurants, hotels and cafés with fresh bread and pastries daily. Since it began operating in May 2018, Bread Nation has built up an impressive list of clients including 3fe, Daniel, Fable & Stey, Fia Café, Gerard’s Deli, The Pigeon House, Two Pups Coffee Ltd, Urban Health and more.
We are also targeting corporate customers within the Dublin 2 Grand Canal area and have picked up a number of prestigious companies who value a quality offering.
What makes Bread Nation different to other bread brands?
Our Bakery is certified organic by the Irish Organic association and we don’t use yeast in our sourdough breads. We also mill grain in-house, which ensures our breads are incredibly fresh.
What do you say to people who say bread is bad for you?
A high percentage of the industrial breads are not good for you, but we believe that naturally fermented breads with no additives and a high level of nutrients are essential to a healthy diet. You also need to give consideration to what you are putting on the bread.
In the long slow fermentation that produces sourdough bread, important nutrients such as iron, zinc and magnesium, antioxidants, folic acid and other B vitamins become easier for our bodies to absorb.
Diabetics should note that sourdough produces a lower surge in blood sugar more than any other bread. In the sourdough process, moreover, gluten is broken down and rendered virtually harmless. In one small Italian study, published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, in January 2011, coeliac patients fed sourdough bread for 60 days had no clinical complaints, and their biopsies showed no changes in the intestinal lining.
Where can we find Bread 41?
Bread 41 is located right next to Bread Nation Bakery in Dublin 2.
What can Bread 41 customers expect?
Great things! We want to use the best produce available to us, both locally and ethically (McNally’s Organic Farm). Foraging, fermentation and preserving will be a factor i.e. kombucha, kimchi, jams, as we believe this goes hand in hand with the bread making process.
Every day, the Bread 41 kitchen will be serving up fresh meal options using local and seasonal ingredients. Similar to its Bread Nation roots, Bread 41 will focus on fermented foods, making their own butters, jams and sourcing local organic produce where they can to support local farmers and suppliers.
Customers can buy breads and pastries straight from Bread Nation and can look forward to tasting an amazing array of food, including brunch, lunch and in time wood fired pizzas.
Who is in charge of the Café?
Overseeing the café will be Head Chef, Chris McCann.
Who are the Bread 41 customers?
Customers include local residents, and the vast hordes of offices workers in the vicinity along with Trinity College attendees.
Fermented, organic, local sourced produce – what is your favourite dish served at Bread 41?
Avocado kimchi served on Our Shackleton sourdough – avocado, kimchi, kimchi mayo & toasted sesame seeds.
What is the goal for Bread 41 … more openings? Go nationwide?
One day at a time. We have had a huge response to date. On our first day we sold out of all our pastries by 09.45am and over 110 loaves of sourdough bread were sold. Our bread making courses are booked out for 2018 and half of 2019. We are truly overwhelmed by the response to date and are taking it one day at a time.
What should we look out for with Bread Nation toward Christmas and the year ahead?
Exciting new breads made with ancient Irish grains and very tasty food from our eatery reflecting local produce and the seasons. Very exciting indeed!
Thank you to Eoin for featuring on The Life of Stuff Food & Drink Series.
For more on Bread Nation and to connect with Eoin, visit the Bread Nation on:
She's a mother, wife, dog and home owner - a travel writing, creative, design and imagery driven, art and music lovin', sustainable living, coffee (and sometimes whiskey) drinking Irish woman.
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