Reasons To Use A Local Baker

Say bakery and, for many, you'll conjure up mouthwatering memories of sweet yeasty aromas beckoning from blocks away.

In some areas, the allure of the neighborhood bakery remains little more than a memory, thanks to massive superstores with seemingly unlimited buying power that churn out mass-produced baked goods at prices local artisans can't match.

But local bakeries are enjoying a resurgence in response to consumers with increasingly sophisticated palates and a widespread craving for authentic food experiences. The difference between an airy glazed doughnut from the corner bakery and a prepackaged pastry from the vending machine, for example, is the difference between night and day.

Breads and pastries from authentic bakeries typically cost a little more than their supermarket counterparts due to the amount of labor involved and the cost of high-quality ingredients. But, whether you're choosing a wedding cake or need a fresh loaf of crusty bread to complement a pot of stew, experienced pastry chefs turning out hand-crafted products from the finest ingredients offer a level of quality unmatched in a shrink-wrapped confection smelling of chain-store sameness.

By patronizing local bakeries -- many of which insist upon the freshest ingredients provided by local vendors -- you not only get a product superior in taste and presentation, but help stimulate your neighborhood's economy.

Most supermarkets buy frozen cake sheets and machine-pressed rounds from wholesale bakeries and have employees decorate them from tubs of ultra sweet oil-based frosting that bears little resemblance to genuine butter cream.

As you might expect, a cake made with real butter and eggs generally tastes better than one made from a preservative-laden mix. Likewise, commercial frosting made with shortening or vegetable oil lacks the flavor and texture of butter cream.

Also, a professional pastry chef working with butter cream , fondant, marzipan or ganache is as skilled at mixing color as an interior decorator working with paint. Instead of a run-of-the-mill sheet cake with curlicue edging, you can have a three-dimensional recreation of, say, your favorite cartoon character, a medieval castle or a beach scene complete with seashells.

When it comes to freshly baked bread, the aroma alone is reason enough to buy from artisans using perfected recipes and traditional techniques rather than mass-production technology.

In addition, you'll typically find behind the glass at your neighborhood bakery a greater selection of breads in a broader array of flavors than any commercial bread factory could offer. Fresh bread made on the premises to be consumed that day or the next is also likely to be healthier because it contains no preservatives.

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About The Author, Andrea Flint
Andrea writes for PsychoDeli, a food article site, where you can also find a list of local bakers in the UK.