Dunbar bakers among Britain’s best

Pavel Broz, Ross Baxter and Natalie Hellen at The Bakery, Dunbar.
Pavel Broz, Ross Baxter and Natalie Hellen at The Bakery, Dunbar.

WHEN Dunbar Community Bakery got the chance to compete in Britain’s Best Bakery competition they knew they would be battling it out with the very best.

They had little idea that by the end of the first week they would be selected to represent Scotland and then go on to win the Northern heats.

And the gruelling challenges, which included imaginative twists on old favourites for hundreds of punters at Newmarket race course and outselling the best bakers at the busy Leadenhall Market in London, were hardly a piece of cake.

Our two Dunbar bakers, Ross Baxter and Pavel Broz, excelled themselves with cool headed professionalism, verve and a lot of hard work.

Now the temperature was rising as over two million viewers tuned in to watch the two create the most fabulous three tiered wedding cake in the final - the decoration all beautifully hand crafted and loosely themed on the Mexican “day of the dead”.

Judging by Dunbar Community Bakery’s postbag and the shop sellout, everyone must have been thinking that they were going to win. The website and social media were sizzling.

And they almost did, but they were pipped at the post by the much larger and long established Hambleton’s, based in Rutland.

The disappointment was palpable, but both Ross and Pavel were gracious in their defeat.

Ross said: “We were just delighted to be competing and while we really wanted to win, we were also pleased to represent Scotland and our supporters.

“We hope this puts our Community Bakery and Dunbar town back on the map as a destination.”

The Community Bakery opened in October 2011 and is owned by over 550 shareholders, mostly local people who live in Dunbar and the surrounding area with a handful of supporters in far flung places. The public can still buy shares in the bakery (or give a donation.) This helps the bakery continue to invest in equipment, which works up to 18 hours a day, six days a week all year round.

DCB Ltd is a community benefit co-op and a registered as Industrial and Provident Society and authorised by the FSA. There is a management committee, which can have up to 15 members, which are elected by shareholders. The committee members work mostly full time and all give their time completely free to Dunbar Community Bakery in a volunteer capacity.

The team is headed by Ross Baxter. He comes from a family of bakers and learned about baking at his uncle’s knee. Not only can he produce superlative artisan bread effortlessly, he is a top patissier and has worked with Michelin starred chefs and is Scotland’s Patissier of the year.

There are two other highly skilled bakers, Natalie Helen is a young but extremely competent night shift baker – she produces all of the quality artisan breads as well as other bread based products from Chelsea buns to Italian style focaccia and Pavel Broz, the senior baker/supervisor, who makes delicious savoury products as well as covering the night shift on Natalie’s nights off.