October 26th, 2022The Scotch oven is the heartbeat of the bakery
COMING from a long line of bakers, it’s no surprise that Rebecca Barnett grabbed at the chance to run her own bakehouse in Maldon, and become the proud new owner of the longest running bakery in Australia: the Maldon Bakery.
“There are five generations of bakers in my family,” says Rebecca. “My earliest memories are of my grandparents’ bakehouse. Poppa Kevin was the baker and Nanna Betty ran the shop. When my Mum was old enough to help, she was rolling the dough and serving in the shop.”
An added bonus for Rebecca is her love of the town.
“The idea of restoring such an important historic landmark in Maldon was an irresistible challenge.”
The bakery’s Scotch oven, in Rebecca’s words,“the heartbeat of the bakery”, is also the oldest brick structure in Maldon, dating back to 1854.
“It was built to feed the huge population of gold miners as they rushed to the area to try their luck. The town grew up around the bakery.”
With the help of family and friends, Rebecca has redesigned and expanded the current shop, as well as reopening the cosy original bakery shop for takeaway service.
She has also installed an old door with glass windows “so that customers can see into the actual bakehouse”, and added her own touches – including an original 12- foot tin-lined dough bin, made from huge slabs of Kauri and said to be around 150 years old.
Rebecca is employing all locals to help, many of whom know the bakery well.
“There’s a great talented pool of local people with stacks of experience. Jodie has worked at the Maldon Bakery for an amazing 34 years. She is recognised as a constant in the shop. She knows the people and the people know her.”
Head baker is renowned expert and author on the subject of traditional bread making, John Downes, inset photo.
“John has a lifetime of experience in using Scotch ovens, and has revolutionised bread making in Australia. I’m just so lucky to have him baking for us.”
With the Scotch oven running once again, Rebecca is excited to be reigniting a vital part of Maldon’s history, while providing good quality food for the community and visitors alike.
The bakery is open from Wednesday to Sunday, selling freshly baked traditional breads, cakes, pastries and pies, using top quality ingredients mostly sourced from local suppliers and growers.
Words: Sandy Fairthorne | Images: Kyle Barnes