“Like so many good things, the Hannam toaster began with a mistake – I bought a bag of buckwheat instead of bulgur! Instead of returning it, I decided to experiment. I liked the idea of a loaf with minimal ingredients, one that contained no gluten, no sugar, no yeast.
On a trip to Sweden that same year I visited Skansen, the oldest open-air museum in the world, and was fascinated by the practical demonstrations of traditional crafts, particularly the making of knäckebröt by a retired teacher working in an 18th-century kitchen. I recreated her recipe, added a 'secret' ingredient, rolled the dough ever thinner, and entered the World Bread Awards, held in London every year. I won the Flat Bread category for my knäckebröt, and this inspired me to really focus on baking.
During 2017 I was still working in the film industry as a designer, but demand for the buckwheat bread – initially sold through a WhatsApp group – kept rising. When Ommy from the Olive Branch Deli in Kloof Street contacted me and asked for a regular delivery, I started looking for premises, and designing the appropriate equipment to test the concept further. By February 2018 I had taken Pumi on as my baking assistant, and her son Luthando. Today Pumi and Luthando are the backbone of our company which has now grown to a team of eight, as we steadily increase our output. Thank you for your support.” — Tom Hannam