May 2011 feature on The Town Mill Bakery
The Town Mill Bakery is about to complete its second anniversary in Sherborne and fittingly it has established a solid reputation for high quality, freshly-made, organic produce using local ingredients.
The man in charge, baker Barry Smith, was surprisingly also new to the bakery business two years ago. Until then Barry’s background was in the completely different business of printing. But Barry was looking for something different, something that he felt strongly about, and so when he visited a home-made bakery in Lyme Regis the idea was born. He spent all of his holidays there learning the business and finally, when he found suitable premises, the Sherborne Town Mill Bakery was established.
Nearly all of the products at the bakery are made fresh on the premises every day; just a few, such as the range of sour-dough breads are brought up from the bakery in Lyme Regis. Barry is at work at 5.30 in the morning making the day’s offerings and sometimes he will make a second batch if certain things are running out.
Best-sellers include his focaccia margarita, a tasty square-cut thick pizza topped with tomato, mozzarella, parmesan and basil. For people looking for something with their tea or coffee, popular choices include his delicious chocolate brownies and carrot cake. In the run-up to Easter, Barry was making dozens of substantial hot-cross buns, in a different league altogether from the mass-produced ones. At Christmas, his mince pies are extremely popular.
Unknown to some, The Town Mill Bakery also serves up breakfast and offers a daily lunch menu. There is seating for about 20 people upstairs and hot drinks are available for morning tea or afternoon coffee.
The key philosophy of the bakery is for everything to be as fresh and as local as possible: hence, the flour comes from Shaftesbury, the apple juice is made outside Yeovil, the coffee is blended in Dorchester, all of the vegetables used for sandwiches or fillings are locally grown and Barry even makes his own muesli and his own peanut butter.
So far, the bakery has proved popular as an informal and relaxed meeting-place and Barry has now started operating a Pizza night on Thursdays from 5 until 8.00 pm when you can even bring your own bottle along.
Success has its challenges of course – Barry is planning for the day he will have to take on an apprentice and if he could find larger premises of the right style that would really be the icing on the cake!