A lunchtime wander through the Covered Market led to me quite literally stumbling across a new bakery (courtesy of a little old lady and her shopping trolley – of course I apologised whilst she perambulated merrily along). Aston’s Bakehouse opened last Thursday in Avenue Two, in what used to be the little wood trinket shop. Aston’s have been popping up at farmer’s markets and food festivals for a while, but Oxford is their first retail unit.
Displaying huge shelves with a jawdropping display of breads and cakes, the bakehouse is based in Lambourn, near Hungerford on Sheepdrove Organic Farm. The grain produced on that farm is then milled and used to produce their organic and artisan breads. Everything is freshly baked there before being delivered every morning to Oxford.
You’ll find sourdough, but have a choice of white, rye, spelt, potato and rosemary or an Italian ring, all made just with their own starter and no added yeast. There’s soda bread, wholegrain, sunflower and agave nectar, seven grain, walnut, ciabatta, cholla, foccacia and many more.
Over on the pastries table there’s pain au raisin, pain au chocolat, scones and cinnamon crodos – a cross between a croissant and a doughnut. Rich buttery brioche rolls and proper English muffins.
Then there are pies and thick stuffed quiches cut into slices. Lardy cake is a regional speciality, a bread dough with added lard and sugar which comes with coconut here. Lemon loaf, coffee, walnut and poppy seed loaf, carrot cake with or without frosting, vegan chocolate cake, French apple tarts and mince pies.
And to help you decide there’s even a little bread taster table with cubes of different varieties to dip into oils, vinegars, sea salt and herbs. I’m already planning a trip back to visit Aston’s and Oxford Cheese Company – a perfect accompaniment. With iScream and Ben’s Cookies just round the corner that’s dinner sorted!