Bread Week. A week that causes cold sweats for the bakers of the Great British Bake Off as Mr Hollywood, cracks his knuckles ready to critique what he knows best. As a viewer, I’m overjoyed, not to see the contestants squirm of course, but to have a full hour of mouthwatering doughy content on my screen.
The busy bakers move in slow motion as I drift away to my happy place where an oversized golden white loaf with a heart-shaped top awaits. Sounding a satisfying rubble with every saw through its armour-like crust, a warm crumb is revealed inviting a generous spread of butter. Heaven.
With National Bread Week at large this week, consider me 90% carb dreaming and 10% present. Fortunately, I’m graced with plenty of local bakers batching all styles of bread to keep my cravings at a controllable level.
After opening its first shop on Rose Street last year, Bandit Bakery has been pretty much selling out its range of artisan bread and bakery goods every day since day one.
Most days you can expect a queue of new and hooked customers, waiting to get their hands on some small batch goodies. For a guy who has very little patience to stand in queues, Bandit Bakery is well worth the wait.
Providing weekly batches of sourdough, rye, baguettes and focaccia with ever-changing (and ever-ambitious) flavours, you can be certain that with every visit you’ll leave with something new. The day it rolls its vegan BLT out to customers, I’ll be setting up camp outside to guarantee my purchase.
Being a Huntly loon, it has saddened me to see the town square decline like many others in the UK – but fortunately, the revived Square Deal retail space could be its saving grace.
Reimagining the town centre experience, the space homes Honesty Bakehouse which, as the name suggests, has honesty at its core. Starting as a ‘pay what you feel’ concept, items are now individually priced with customers making their own payments and change.
Launching its pay it forward plan at the start of the year, the bakehouse calls on customers to buy an extra bakery product to be donated to those who need it. Already matching donations and donating unsold products, helping others is a key focus for owner Anne Kennan.
Anne said: “The bakery’s customers are a diverse bunch; young, old, hipsters to the not so hip, but I see too many locals that will never come into the bakery because they’re struggling.
“No-one should have to go without the basics just to turn on the lights or heat the house, so if I can provide a loaf of real bread to someone who is in need, then that’s a good thing.”
The Honesty Bakehouse is looking for a new home, if you know of any empty units in Huntly do get in touch with Anne.
Its award winning team continues to bake a bumper bread selection to not only fill its bakeries across the city but restaurants and eateries across the region too. My favourite spotting of the brand is in the menu of So… NYC where The Bread Guy’s chain of freshly baked bagels are used in its menu of super charged bagels – a must try.
A bread that’s fit for royalty? Sign me up. In the heart of Ballater, Byron Bakery (formerly Chalmers Bakery) is home to its famed Balmoral Bread. A Royal Warrant is badged to the building, joining other businesses in Ballater given the nod of approval by the Royal Family – how’s that for a quality guarantee.
In addition to supplying bakery goods across the North-east, I’ve heard its butteries are so adored that they are even sent overseas to keep loving expats in hearty stock too.
Over to Stonehaven to Grainger’s Delicatessen where cheese, meats and fine foods reside. In the morning, it’s an essential stop for an Italian coffee fix and come afternoon, a bustling take-away sandwich shop serving its signature filled ciabattas.
Shoppers can also load up on sourdough, ciabatta and buttery supplies from the Phoenix Bakehouse range. More bread awaits at the Phoenix cafe in Inverbervie with punchy well fired rolls, ‘Special Guest’ spotlight bread products, and pastries.
Pinned as “Aberdeen’s most loved bread”, The Bread Maker is not only admired by its customers and eateries who stock its products but the people behind the brand.
With bread and community at its heart, this social enterprise strives to give adults with learning disabilities meaningful training, education and social activities through the running of its cafe of Rosemount Viaduct and the baking of bakery goods. The Bread Maker has been known to host bread making classes too.