On her website homepage, Chorley baker Samantha Green has ‘we believe everyone should have their cake and eat it’ written in bold letters at the top – it’s the first thing you see.
Most of us will have heard that motto before in some form, but in Samantha’s case, she means it quite literally.
Around 18 months ago Samantha, with the additional pressures of lockdown and juggling motherhood, started suffering from debilitating blackouts and migraines and after a series of tests, it was found that she is yeast and dairy intolerant.
As a result, the 37-year-old, who worked as a training consultant at the time, was forced to adjust her diet – and along the way, she discovered her now yeast and dairy-free favourite sweet treats, were now tasteless and bland.
“A few months into lockdown I started to get daily black outs that would result in me lying on the bathroom floor – fighting not to pass out,” Samantha explained.
“At first the doctors thought it could be a symptomatic migraine but migraine medication didn’t make any difference.
“Dairy is fairly simple to avoid, however I quickly discovered that yeast is in so many foods – even packaged meat. I struggled to find any food, let alone treats, that were safe for me to eat”.
So, after being a keen baker since childhood, Samantha embarked on her mission to create the Little Free From Bakery, which she launched in February.
Since then, it has blossomed from testing out her baked goods on friends and family to her orders tripling week on week, with The Hub cafe in Buckshaw Village now stocking her cakes and the launch of a nationwide mail order service is imminent.
Samantha focuses on meticulously testing and tweaking her recipes, in order to make them taste just like full dairy versions, while also adding vegan, gluten free and low sugar delectables to her baking repertoire.
Samantha quit her job in June to bake full time and since then her physical and mental health have improved significantly.
Samantha said: “While the intolerances were something that I needed to work around, my symptoms continued and eventually I was diagnosed with acute stress. The attacks were my body’s way of fighting back.
“Since quitting my job and focusing on baking, which in itself is a form of relaxation for me, the symptoms have massively decreased and I’m finally starting to feel human again.
“For two years I have been scared and lost faith in my own brain and body – so this business means so much to me”.
From a change in lifestyle choices with people buying free-from products when they don’t medically need to, to an increase in frequency of food allergy diagnosis, the ‘free from’ sector has seen a boom and is now worth £1billion a year.
Samantha is determined to cater for adults and children with intolerances, while constantly evolving her knowledge and expertise and customers can now order ‘free from’ celebration cakes that are no longer ‘free from’ taste.
“My ultimate aim is to develop a wide catalogue of recipes, all of which you would never be able to tell the difference” added Samantha.
“The ‘free from’ sector is expanding rapidly but I am a huge believer that ‘free from’ shouldn’t mean free from taste. Many mass market products just don’t hit the spot – they taste bland and lack in flavour, meaning there is a huge opportunity to create indulgent treats that taste as delicious as they should be”.
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