Irina Ruseva, the brains behind Flour & Soul Bakery in Urmston has been crowned the North West’s Bread Hero by the Tiptree Bread Awards with Brook Food.

Irina went into lockdown on maternity leave from her project manager role, and decided to set up her own micro bakery in the midst of the pandemic.

After winding up with a few surplus loaves, Irina—who had been a keen baker since childhood after learning from her grandfather in Bulgaria—shared them on Facebook to see if anyone wanted them. Before she knew it, they had sold and the requests began flooding in.

In an effort to keep up with the surging demand, Irina baked with her new baby strapped to her back, while her three-year-old played with flour.

The kids joined for the deliveries too, towed along in the family bike trailer.

The operation has since scaled significantly, with Irina serving up fresh bread to the 80-plus households that subscribe to her Flour & Soul Bread Club. 

To keep things sustainable, Irina uses flour from a mill in Cheshire, only delivers in the M41 area and ensures all deliveries are made by bike. This is helped along by volunteer group, Urmston Bike Deliveries, who offer low-cost cycle delivery services to local business.

Those considerations also earned Irina the Zeelandia Award for Sustainability. 

Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Wed 20 Oct 2021