Cottonrake began as a corner plot retail bakery, a small Sandwich bar and coffee shop in Glasgow’s West End area in 2013 and has since grown into a thriving bakery and Coffee shop business.

The initial concept was the brainchild of Stefan Spicknell who first approached us in 2013 to discuss equipment for the bakery.

Our area rep Eric is located less than 30 minutes away from the shop, so in the early days we were able to work closely with Stefan to ensure the right questions were being asked to get the right kit for the very tight production space at the back of the store with just enough room for a small refurbished oven,  35kg Polin spiral mixer , Hobart 20qt planetary mixer and a Tekno Stamap table top pastry sheeter, it soon became clear that there was a need for a more productive and consistent oven so they quickly upgraded to a Polin deck oven

Over the years the small but very busy bakery have diligently worked hard, developing and growing their selection of breads, cakes and pastry. With rave reviews the bakery are renowned for selling out early every day and as such Cottonrake’s following has grown to become a strong player in the market in the heart of the West end of  Glasgow and this has been the catalyst behind the next exciting steps for the business. 

Stefan approached us again in 2018  as the needs of the business have considerable grown and Cottonrake have now opened a second unit space for wholesale production within the Eastvale place business park of the city where production will be centred and enables the team at Cottonrake to reach a wider area and their growing customer base . With a newly installed Polin 4 deck Stratos deck oven, an additional table top pastry sheeter and Polin 60kg spiral mixer, Stefan and his team are now able to considerably increase production and reach a much larger customer audience.

We went to meet with Stefan in January this year and asked him to tell us a little bit about his business

Tell us about your Bakery

We operate within an amazing community, there are 3 schools close and a tube station so it’s very busy and vibrant. We use the expression “through and through”, we start the process in the morning and just go through the day of breakfast, pastries,  lunch etc . It’s a pretty simple format that we’ve worked on over the last 3 or 4 years and it’s grown organically and taken its own direction . We have opened the second location to increase production and try and get that consistent product – these ovens help with that as wells as helping us to increase the volume of what we are selling.

What was the plan for the new premises?

The new premises is all for our sourdough !  We still produce everything else in the retail bakery.
The whole idea and format of Cottonrake is to produce, and bake on site on the street. For me,  you can’t substitute a croissant that’s baked on site to something that’s baked even a few miles away in an oven at midnight – there’s no comparison. We will never take cakes, pastries etc away from that shop. This new production unit is all about bread , it’s about development of bread and that’s basically it.

How has the business grown since opening ?

We started with what you might call, a pop up shop, but that is pretty much what it was. We were open just 3 days a week, but the business has grown substantially in the last 4 to 5 years.  Last Christmas was our busiest Christmas ever and in 2018 we recorded the busiest ever June, July and August which shows that it is still growing.

What products are your mainstays in your range ?

Lemon Meringue Pies , Cookies and Sourdough sandwiches, generally we could sell quite a lot of those on a daily basis, because we go through the day.  There are certain things not available during the day so in the morning your pastries and your savoury breakfast items will sell quickly and then it just kind of heads to lunch – Sausage rolls with black pudding are something we could never take off the menu.

You have upgraded ovens twice, you must have ramped up production a lot ?

Since adding the new oven we can bake everything that used to take us 6-7 hours in 90 minutes. We’ve also added to the variety of products we produce.

What do you love most about the Polin Modular Deck Oven ?

When you cuddle it – it’s warm ! It’s Quick, really quick! It’s quick to get up to heat, it’s quick to retain heat, it’s even and more of a consistent temperature and consistent bake, the start-up timer really helps because the oven’s on for just half an hour before you arrive and its hot already, you are saving half an hour a day, so that adds up over 7 days. 
It’s reliable, and our smaller oven that is in our shop has been an absolute workhorse. I’m struggling to think if there is another 2 deck oven that produces what that oven produces on a daily basis, we did look at other ovens but came back to Polin for our new larger oven because of the experience we have with the smaller oven.