The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS | EATING OUT -

Becca’s Bak­ery The Oc­tagon (lower Peter St) West­port, Co Mayo face­ bec­cas bak­ery mayo

Last year, Becca Bis­sell, a pas­try chef orig­i­nally from Stafford­shire in the UK. opened her own bak­ery. Through the front win­dow, you can see an old-fash­ioned weigh­ing scales, bunt­ing and the prom­ise of buns. The walls are lined with shelves, weighed down with freshly baked sour­dough loaves, baguettes and rolls. There are brown­ies and loaf cakes, bakewell tarts and birth­day cakes, all baked by Becca and her bak­ing team, Karen and Ni­amh.

This bak­ery is a take­away treat store as op­posed to a sit-in café. There are two chairs on the pave­ment out­side the front of the shop for cus­tomers to rest awhile, which works be­cause the ready-to-eat goods at Becca’s can all be eaten with one hand. I grab a bag of good­ies for my train jour­ney, and every­thing is re­mark­ably well-priced. I go away with a sour­dough loaf, a flap­jack, a quiche, a turnover and a cup of cof­fee for ¤10. The cof­fee is made by a lit­tle push-but­ton ma­chine and, though it’s bet­ter than I was ex­pect­ing, it’s a pos­si­ble area for im­prove­ment for Becca, as she has all other bases in this bak­ery cov­ered.

A de­li­cious spinach and feta turnover is wrapped in golden and flaky filo. The deep pas­try case of a mini quiche makes it easy to trans­port, and its bis­cu­ity crumb makes it a great travel com­pan­ion. I take a loaf of plain sour­dough (¤3.50) home to Dublin and it toasts up beau­ti­fully over the fol­low­ing days. It’s got an ex­cel­lent tang, and is some­where be­tween a hardy farm­house loaf and a hole-filled sour­dough.

“It’s a hy­brid,” ex­plains Becca of her sour­dough loaf. “We make a sour­dough sponge with a bit of Sam, wa­ter and a com­bi­na­tion of whole­meal and white flour. From there, we make the dough. It fer­ments overnight, and then we prove it in our sour­dough bas­kets the next day be­fore bak­ing. It tastes dif­fer­ent from some peo­ple’s sour­dough, be­cause it’s our own bread.”

With that, Becca sums up what real bread means. For such a long time, our food stores have been filled with uni­form con­form­ity. Real, au­then­tic food doesn’t al­ways fit into a mould. It’s some­times not the shape we ex­pect, and it may not taste ex­actly the same as the last time you had it. Some­times, in­con­sis­tency is re­as­sur­ing.

What’s con­sis­tent about every­thing in Becca’s Bak­ery is the au­then­ti­cally home­made taste and tex­ture of real bread. AMcE

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