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The remarkable rise of Buns from Home


Words by Hermione Russell

For one lockdown baker, the pandemic was a chance to realise his dream

Everyone has a friend who started baking during the lockdown. Trapped in their homes with little to do, thousands of people began buying flour, cultivating yeast, mixing and kneading, and proofing dough. Baking gave a shape to days that had lost their structure, and with a bit of practice you could create a delicious range of bread and cakes in the kitchen.

Buns from Home,

128 Talbot Rd, London W11 1JA


How it all started

To begin with, Buns from Home was another lockdown baking project. Barney Goff had been working for an online fashion company called Showcase, but left his job just before the pandemic.

When the lockdown arrived, he moved back to his family home in Holland Park and started baking buns in his mother’s kitchen. At the same time, he sent out thousands of flyers to the nearby streets, hoping some of his neighbours might like to buy them.

But Barney was not your average lockdown baker. Aged 30, he had also worked early morning shifts at a local French patisserie. His job was laminating the croissant dough, which meant rolling and folding the butter into the dough again and again. It’s time-consuming work, but also gives the soft, layered texture that marks out the best pastry. He used the same process for the buns he was baking at home – cinnamon and cardamom, and a weekly special – and soon found himself with hundreds of orders.

The bun

Next Barney recruited his brother to help meet the demand. The two of them would work in shifts, baking all day and night.

He also recruited friends to help with deliveries, arriving at the house at 6.30am, loading their cycle trailers with food, and then cycling round the city. In less than two months, they were delivering two thousand buns a week.

At a time when the hospitality industry was suspended, Buns from Home became a surprise success. Anna Mansfield, the operations manager, thinks the taste of the buns was the main reason for this popularity. The glazed crispiness on the outside and the tender softness on the inside makes for a unique texture – ‘a product you can’t really get anywhere else.’

The secret to the soft, layered texture that marks out the best pastry is the rolling and folding of the butter into the dough again and again.

"We want more people to be trying what we’re doing because we think it’s something special"

Anna Mansfield - Operations Manager


By September Barney’s mother wanted her kitchen back, and the brothers were at the limit of their production capacity. So, they set up a crowdfunding page to launch their first shop, and thanks to the goodwill of their customers, were able to acquire the equipment to bake on a larger scale, as well as rent a space just off Portobello Road.

Before long, the demand for the shop was outstripping deliveries.

The shop next to Portobello Road is still the centre of production. Out front is a bright pink awning and a pair of benches, while inside the buns are laid out on large silver trays, with a busy kitchen behind. For Barney, ‘the most important thing is that everything looks like it was made at home.’ Unlike the perfect products on sale at some patisseries, Buns from Home celebrates its more amateur origins. So, the buns are cooked on the same deep-based trays that Barney found in his mother’s kitchen, and then served to customers in a paper bag, the packaging stamped by hand. Even the baker in charge of the bread was self-taught during the lockdown.

Having started with just cinnamon and cardamom buns and a weekly special, now the bakery offers almost 10 different flavors.

Having started with just cinnamon and cardamom buns and a weekly special, now the bakery offers almost 10 different flavors.

The expansion

During the summer, there’s a steady stream of people passing through the shop. In the autumn months, when buns are more popular, there might be a line outside every day of the week. That popularity has been driven by social media, with customers making Instagram posts and TikTok videos about the buns. In the last year, the company has expanded quickly, with new shops in Holland Park, Covent Garden, Sloane Square, Soho, and the City of London. Unlike most bakeries, where everything is prepared in the early morning, at Buns from Home there’s a three-hour window between the bun coming out of the oven and being fresh enough to sell, meaning the team has to keep making food throughout the day.

But the formula seems to be working, with six more shops planned for the next twelve months, as well as a new kitchen to meet the demand. ‘We want more people to be trying what we’re doing because we think it’s something special,’ says Anna, and after you’ve tasted one of the double-baked pistachio buns, it’s hard to disagree.

Follow Buns from Home on Instagram


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