Scrumptious cakes and traditional artisan bread are flying off the shelves at The Bakery in Dunbar as Ross Baxter, one of Scotland’s brightest young talents in baking, steps in to take charge.
Ross, 29, won the accolade of Scottish Patissier of the Year in 2011, when he was working as Head Pastry Chef at Greywalls Hotel in nearby Gullane under celebrity chef Albert Roux.
He joined Dunbar’s very succesful community-owned bakery in April and is now running the small but dynamic East Lothian business as head baker and business manager.
Ross has already widened the range of fresh produce baked on the premises to include a new range of luxury cakes and tarts.
Alongside The Bakery’s flagship Belhaven loaf – a brown wholemeal loaf made with beer from the local brewery – the shop is now selling exotic treats such as raspberry cream tarts, chocolate and hazelnut eclairs and coconut and pineapple cake.
These are attracting foodies from far and wide, including the 286 patisserie enthusiasts who follow Ross on Twitter @RossPatissier.
Ross said: “This is an exciting chance for me to run a business that serves the local community by producing top quality bread, cakes, pies and savouries at affordable prices.
“Three assistant bakers who are already working in The Bakery will shortly start on apprenticeships. We are committed to investing in the professional development of all our staff.”
The Bakery is owned by Dunbar Community Bakery, a co-operative owned by more than 460 shareholders. Most are local residents and regular customers. All are entitled to a 10 per cent discount on goods purchased.
The Bakery opened on Dunbar High Street in October 2011 to fill a gap left by the closure of the town’s last home bakery three years earlier.
Jane Wood, the chairperson of Dunbar Community Bakery, said the business was now finding its feet and was establishing a strong niche market.
“We initially had problems in consistently maintaining the quality of all the goods in our product range and ensuring that all our ingredients were free of artificial additives,” she said.
“The arrival of Ross has enabled us to resolve those issues and take a huge leap forward in terms of the quality and the variety of what we produce.”
Polish baker Dariusz Pawlowski heads up the night shift that produces most of the bread, including a splendid range of Polish style sourdough loaves.
The Bakery will soon start to offer an extended range of savoury pies, tarts, quiches and other treats as Czech savouries specialist Pavel Broz, a former colleague of Ross at Greywalls Hotel, joins the team in May.
Commenting on the new product range, Ms Wood said: “People are coming from across Scotland to sample our produce and see how a community bakery can work as a sustainable business, turning out top class food.
“Our products are hand-made with the finest ingredients. They cost more to make than the sort of bread and cakes that you find on supermarket shelves and this is inevitably reflected in the price. But we still offer standard items that everyone can afford alongside the exotic treats for special occasions and all our products offer great value for money.”
Dunbar Community Bakery was set up as a co-operative to benefit the 12,000 people who live in Dunbar and nearby villages in East Lothian. Investors do not receive a dividend, but they are entitled to a 10% discount on all goods purchased.
The initiative has created a thriving new shop on Dunbar High Street and has generated eight full-time and several part-time jobs. Most of the staff are young people from Dunbar who were previously unemployed.
The business, branded The Bakery Dunbar, aims to become a regular supplier of top quality bread and cakes to hotels and restaurants throughout East Lothian.