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Baked Goods


Posted by Erinn Beth Langille / Posted on May 8, 2014

bakeryhaus torontoBakeryHaus is located in the Queen Street Market, across from the CHUM building. You know the one - it's always half empty or under construction, with a handful of 'upscale' food kiosks that sell to the lunch crowd or wandering tourists.

Unlike the St. Lawrence Market, which is busy and successful, St. Patrick's can't seem hold an audience. It might be in part because the landlord rents to dubious businesses like BakeryHaus, which sells 'fine European' baked goods, that are neither fine nor European - in my humble opinion.

bakeryhaus torontoIt's not even clear where they do this baking, as BakeryHaus is just a fancy brown counter (no bigger than my bedroom) with products in cello or in trays and baskets. The staff, friendly and bubbly, are rendered totally incapable of doing any actual baking by their clothes; the men are in tight business suits and sleek hair, the women also in professional attire, but are forced to don those silly deflated bakers' caps.

bakeryhaus torontoA later look on the website confirmed the initial feeling of hyperbole - descriptions dotted with 'free of artificial colour', 'halal', 'no hydrogenated fatty acids', a strange sounding 'Certificate of Organic Products' (whatever that means) and a series of icons, including "All Our Production plants are audited under BRC Global Standard for Food Safety" - which just means a third-party health inspector shows up.

It reminded me of when the great food writer Calvin Trillin pointed out the trend of "la Maison de la Casa House" in the '80s, and the way those establishments rode on a vague definition of international food, equating sophistication and taste with the merest suggestion of France.

bakeryhaus torontoThis is not to knock Europe. Without its grand traditions and recipes, where would any bakery be? But in a city filled with fantastic bakers and chefs, knowledgable eaters, and quality local wheat and ingredients, why anyone would continue defer to Europe (recipes and tradition aside) is beyond me. They sell the Cronut ($2.99) alongside those pretty Viennoiseries (from $1.99-4.99) for goodness sake.

bakeryhaus torontoCroissants, pain au chocolate, and palmiers, among others, are available for around $1.99 each. And the highly touted 'Tulip' muffins, I learned, get them name from that fancy way of folding the paper cup - wow - and ring in at $2.99. They come in many flavours - cheesecake, apple cinnamon and cranberry yogurt are just a few.

bakeryhaus torontoThe thing is, so long as BakeryHaus' products are good, who cares? I mean, Dufflet's has a production plant (though she didn't always, it wasn't until she went country wide that production exceeded her early staff). You can tell BakeryHaus aims for a similar trajectory, as there's opportunity for franchises (no bakery experience needed) and yet that little location isn't even weeks old.

bakeryhaus torontoThat's where the real problem comes in. Everything looks pretty and suave - a rather nice-looking chocolate torte comes by the slice ($4.99), and the baguettes and multigrain loaves ($4.99) sit jauntily on a shelf - but taste is something else. I ate some macarons and donuts; since they're the most prominent things on offer I figure they have to be good. While the meringue is a little grainy with the ground almond, the macarons (mini/$1.99, regular/$2.25, jumbo/$4.99) are overall tasty, due in part to the heavily-piped fillings of jam, buttercream and caramel.

bakeryhaus torontoBut the donut, a variation that was injected with Nutella and dunked in Belgian chocolate, was awful. The chocolate crust tasted chemically, while the dough was dense and flavourless, and the whole thing left a truly worrisome waxy residue on the tongue that stayed for an hour.

bakeryhaus torontoUntil BakeryHaus gets out from behind the fancy talk and company manual and gets hands dirty with real baking, it, and Queen Street Market, is set for another failure to launch.

bakeryhaus torontoPhotos by Jesse Milns



tnt / May 8, 2014 at 12:52 pm
Surprised the writer didn't called it a European hot air "joint"
john / May 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm
went here over the weekend and had a donut...not sure where they are getting them from but they definitely weren't freshly baked...
Cher Horowitz / May 8, 2014 at 12:56 pm
Way harsh Tai.
human person / May 8, 2014 at 12:57 pm
they just need to make a nice seating area and add some dang tables to that building. It's had such an odd layout for years now.
Tom / May 8, 2014 at 01:09 pm
I worked in the bakery department of a grocery store that carried the Bakeryhaus products (muffins and donuts) for a brief time. Their products were brought in by the owners of the company in already frozen boxes which were promptly placed in the store's deep freeze and a box would be brought up every morning and left to thaw before being put out to serve to customers. The boxes were packaged in spanish and it looked like they were produced by a company deep in the hills of Spain. So while they can claim they're selling 'authentic' European products, they're definitely not fresh or even made in this country. The reason the workers look like they don't bake is because all they have to do is defrost whatever they want to 'bake'.
Tom replying to a comment from Tom / May 8, 2014 at 01:14 pm
In addition to my prior comment, a little google work led me to the company they source their products from: Europastry, based in Barcelona that claim that they're the "market leader in frozen dough." http://www.europastry.com/eng/empresa.php all of the products sold by Bakeryhaus can be found on this website. The donuts are "Dots Original" and the muffins and bread is "Yaya Maria".
Bobby / May 8, 2014 at 01:22 pm
Actually that nutella donut is really good, you're hating on this place a bit to much in my opinion
Stu / May 8, 2014 at 01:30 pm
...I'm guessing this place sucks?
chris! replying to a comment from trickydisco / May 8, 2014 at 01:33 pm
I disagree — was just thinking how refreshing it was to see an actual review on here with real opinions on the product, rather than the usual bland, rote descriptions of whatever the reader sees.

This reviewer clearly knows what she is talking about, which I appreciate.
Maria / May 8, 2014 at 01:49 pm
I stopped by when they were giving samples away to everyone walking by and I really liked everything I tried. It'd be nice to hear a little more info about the place or something about the people behind it, as thats often a big part in why I fall in love with businesses, and not just a negative regurgitation of the website. & Starting a review with a negative review of the history of the space? Really??
TheyFried replying to a comment from john / May 8, 2014 at 01:51 pm
went here over the weekend and had a donut...not sure where they are getting them from but they definitely weren't freshly baked...

Oh yeah, for sure man, there's nothing worse than a *donut* that isn't properly *baked*...in an *oven*.
Karen / May 8, 2014 at 02:00 pm
I was there on Monday. I bought the kronut and had a mini croissant. After 2 bites, I threw them both out. They were HORRIBLE!!!!!!
Yvonne T. / May 8, 2014 at 02:07 pm
Came here after seeing them show up on my social media feeds. I can't help but agree with the writer here - while the packaging and presentation is stellar, the taste, is not.

Croissants tasted too bread-like (or doughy), and the croissant was buttery but "stale" (read, wet and not flaky like I imagined). The almond tart was also a disappointment (virtually no almond flavor).

Maybe it's still too early to judge. Those would be my first impressions from what I've tried.

I'm surprised to hear the writer didn't enjoy the donuts, because if I've heard anything good about the Bakery Haus, it's about their donuts.
Moneesha / May 8, 2014 at 02:24 pm
I love a good hatchet job.

Why settle for mediocrity we need more reviews like this.
Kat / May 8, 2014 at 02:26 pm
I'd have to agree with the writer. I was really looking forward to this place and having another european bakery in the neighbourhood. I went in with my boyfriend last weekend and we shared a cronut. In my opinion it was way over priced and lacked in any flavour. There's so many other better places around. I won't be back
J. Cash / May 8, 2014 at 02:51 pm
I've been to these types of bakeries, it's all smoke and mirrors. They've got the "sophisticated" European veneer but the product is actually frozen junk.

I remember when this food court was full of decent food options... there was a decent falafel place at the back, Amato's (when Amato was actually good), a few Asian places, the Sandwich Box etc. Not sure what's been going on in there over the past 10 years but whoever manages that property hasn't been doing a very good job. That is a prime location, why is it always borderline derelict?
Switch / May 8, 2014 at 02:53 pm
I bet these guys make some amazing coffee, with "freshly roasted" "beans" from "Europe"

MraP / May 8, 2014 at 03:20 pm
This stuff looks like the mass produced crap at loblaws, for double the price.
Maybe the tourists will fall for it?
No way locals will be regulars.
Good luck!!!
Mike / May 8, 2014 at 03:20 pm
THIS review is full of "hot air". Bakery Haus is across the street from CTV, not CHUM (CHUM was bought out over 7 years ago). And where do you come off calling the place a "dubious" business? Your fact checking sounds pretty dubious to me. My friends and I have been there several times since they opened and we all agree that this place has brought a breath of fresh air to the neighbourhood. The nutella donut that is mentioned is also one of the most popular in our office. As the author admits that this is simply her own "humble opinion", I will take a pass...on her review. Next time, get your facts, and your taste buds checked before you do a review. It needs a refresh.
E. Dark replying to a comment from Mike / May 8, 2014 at 03:42 pm
Seems to me like the office you're taking those nutella donuts to belongs to Bakeryhaus. Seeing as the majority of comments here are negative, I don't think the author needs to get her taste buds checked.

Not to mention the comment from Tom showing where they get their "fresh baked" goods from. If Bakeryhaus isn't paying you, they really should be.
Josh / May 8, 2014 at 05:07 pm
Disappointed hearing the reviews - I thought we could have another Nadege on our hands. Who wants to eat anything frozen and flown in from Spain? Tim Hortons would actually be a step up.
Mike replying to a comment from E. Dark / May 8, 2014 at 05:59 pm
Lol! No, not affiliated to BH, but do you work with Erinn at Blog TO? Granted, everyone has different tastes. I'm not a fan of Tim's donuts, but maybe you are. I don't blindly follow what other people say, I like to try things on my own. I've tried BH, my friends have tried BH, my co-workers have tried BH, and we are all very pleased with everything they have to offer (obviously, we haven't tried everything, but almost). You may choose not to try anything they have to offer based on this review, and that is your prerogative, but it would also be your loss.
Jane / May 8, 2014 at 08:36 pm
This review was a clear attack on the building and the people that work there. Almost comes of as if you have a personal issue with the people that work there. I thought at one point it was a review on food but I was mistaken when you take stabs at people and their attire. If I go to a bakery I think I'd rather see someone in a suit and put together rather than someone that looks like a hot mess.

I am not sure whether you have taste buds or not but the baked goods are rather delicious and Nutella filled anything trumps all. "The whole thing left a truly worrisome waxy residue on the tongue that stayed for an hour" - quite dramatic in my opinion.

"Croissants, pain au chocolate, and palmiers, among others, are available for around $1.99 each. And the highly touted 'Tulip' muffins, I learned, get them name from that fancy way of folding the paper cup - wow - and ring in at $2.99. They come in many flavours - cheesecake, apple cinnamon and cranberry yogurt are just a few." FYI there's a spelling error in this paragraph genius, and the sarcastic "-wow-" is really something.

You also posted a photo on Instagram showing how delicious the "caramel filled donuts" are. Not only does that come across positive and telling your audience to visit, but it was very unexpected to read such a rude review. As a business in today's day and age it's important to be consistent on all social handles because you will easily be judged.

Very interesting.
Jane / May 8, 2014 at 08:38 pm
Oh yeah I'm pretty sure I saw an oven at BackeryHaus !
Rich replying to a comment from Jane / May 9, 2014 at 08:06 am
Pretty sure you saw an oven? WELL THAT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME!

Jane replying to a comment from Rich / May 9, 2014 at 08:52 am
The Writer says "It's not even clear where they do this baking, as BakeryHaus is just a fancy brown counter". Well they do it in house. I go there every single day and i'm overwhelmed with the quality of the product each time. :)

Mr Smith / May 9, 2014 at 11:47 am
As far as the management of this place, I can shed some light.

The City of Toronto leased this place (238 Queen West, aka St.Patrick's Market) to the 1% who also owns the Windsor Arms hotel, George something. He got the usual treatment: long term preferential lease for cheap. In fact, the lease on the 6000 sq ft basement was $1 a year for the first ten years.

The city mandated that it be built out as a mini St Lawrence market, catering the whole food produce sales. Its all written into the lease agreements.

Fast forward 15 years and George still pays next to nothing in actual rent or maintenance, and this prime location is essentially dilapidated serving neither its intended retail or community purpose. The Grange family rolls in their graves, I'm sure.

Source: I tried to squat it once

john replying to a comment from Jane / May 9, 2014 at 12:03 pm
I am not sure whether you have taste buds or not but the baked goods are rather delicious and Nutella filled anything trumps all

YES. Nutella filled anything is amazing - when it's FRESH. But REALLY? Oh Jane.
Have you not read anything - the REAL problem with this place is - it's a bakery that ISN't selling freshly baked goods. That's like calling McDonalds a Burger Restaurant...and not a fast food joint.

Now, if they were to label themselves as a coffee shop selling dessert - that's a different story.

I'm not sure if you've ever baked something before - but you definitely can't freshly bake that much variety with a single oven in the back.

Mayor McCokehoover replying to a comment from Moneesha / May 9, 2014 at 12:20 pm
Welcome back, Dave! :)
Cindy / May 9, 2014 at 01:38 pm
I think it's pretty clear from photos here: http://www.yayamaria.com/productos/1, that these are unthawed frozen desserts are coming from Europastry/Yaya Maria via Spain. The cronuts and donuts look identical.
I knew something was fishy. I gave it so many chances, but the icing was so offputting. I had the cronut, and two donuts and was so displeased. Tim Horton's is way better and significantly less pricey. I can't believe what a scam Bakeryhaus outfit is! I saw so many people going nuts and taking instagram pictures of these unthawed donuts and people oohing and aahing over, essentially grocery frozen food fare. All smoke and mirrors is right. Never going to give them any more business. And who ever is defending them clearly doesn't discriminate between fresh and prepackaged/frozen foods, so more power to you.
TW / May 9, 2014 at 03:18 pm
The writer of this blog is clearly more concerned with the appearance of the owners/employees over the quality of the baked goods. What a preposterous post and Erin Langille should be ashamed of herself. I have always enjoyed reading the TO blog but this is such an utter disappointment. I have yet to try the baked goods so cannot speak on that regard yet, but the attempt to tarnish this small businesses' name has only made me want to try this bakery even more! Don't worry Bakeryhaus any publicity is good publicity!

Cindy replying to a comment from TW / May 9, 2014 at 04:00 pm
TW - I have zero affiliation with BlogTO and I don't know the author, but I can vouch for Erin's review. You're wasting your time and money coming down to try this sub-par food (that was likely produced in Spain, not locally, mind you). Your money and time is better spent on supporting local bakeries, not a company that is "pretending" to sell authentic baked goods (not frozen, prepackaged bland food). I tried several of their products and left disappointed every time. This is an honest review if I ever read one.
Sad / May 9, 2014 at 04:10 pm
BlogTO --- and Toronto hipsters in general --- make me sad. Always disparaging things that are "inauthentic", in a misguided attempt to appear better and more cultured than the "average Joe". Does it matter if it's inauthentic, or baked elsewhere, or if they wear faux baker's caps? Let them do whatever they want. Who cares? Would you prefer if it were another Starbucks?

I don't spend my whole day worrying about the authenticity of my macarons. Please.
Jane / May 9, 2014 at 05:28 pm
I have a question for Erin since she is what appears to be a food critic. What are your credentials? Are you a chef ? All I'm saying is this is an "attack" not a review. It's just not professional in my humble opinion
Disgusted / May 9, 2014 at 09:43 pm
I'm more than a bit disgusted by this spiteful review. Just because of this article, I think I *will* be a regular patron at BakeryHaus, just to counter this flow of holier-than-thou hipsterism that "Sad" refers to, where people who would otherwise be regular folks pretend to be experts....
v79 / May 9, 2014 at 10:15 pm
I couldn't care less if their goods were previously frozen, whether it be in Spain or Toronto. All I care about is if the product is freshly baked that day, tasty and worth the price (check their Instagram, they do bake locally, even if the dough may be frozen a la Tim Hortons, and many other mass outlets. It's not simply "thawed out" as some are trying to have you believe). I'm planning to head down tomorrow and will post my impressions then.
jon jon / May 10, 2014 at 01:06 am
All corporate coffee chains i.e.; michels baguette; brioche dore; au bon pain etc get their product frozen from large factories.

These guys just had the wrong marketing approach.
Confused / May 10, 2014 at 09:43 am
How is this business dubious? That's a bold, unnecessarily harsh statement.

Hipsters gonna hate, I guess.
Raffaele / May 10, 2014 at 03:02 pm
Wow. Hey, that's harsh. You must have had an off day. I work across the street from BakerHaus and was in on Friday. I loved it. I grew up in Europe and found the authentic feel of BakeryHaus to be a refreshing taste of home. The staff was great, and I ended up eating more tulip muffins than I care to admit. Anyway, I'd recommend it. Try the chocolate croissant!
Shocked / May 12, 2014 at 09:21 pm
Okay. This spurred my curiosity and I just had to try this place today. The clerk sort of nervously told me as an afterthought that everything was baked right here. Where? I thought? In that little tiny oven behind the other texting clerk? That's a lot of baking in a tiny oven.
I chose the donut with Nutella stuffing as several people here gave it a rave review. I have never in my life had such a dry donut. NEVER. It was a cake donut and tasted really dry and cheap. Tim's donuts are 100 times better, and half the price. I was absolutely appalled; sorry but I won't try another thing.
TimoG / May 14, 2014 at 10:57 am
I went there last week and walked out feeling Timmies had better donuts.
Gemma D. L. replying to a comment from Shocked / May 14, 2014 at 02:51 pm
The blog author hit is on track. Like a true hipster establishment, this sham is all pretentious style with NO substance. These aren't donuts, they are avatars of donuts. Shows off, but even the photos have a 'dry' look to them. We shall stay far away from this joke-house. Oh, and your bow tie sucks, beardo man in grey jacket.
v79 / May 16, 2014 at 07:38 pm
I tried the Nutella donut and Kronut last week. I went in just before 5, so I wasn't expecting the freshest products to begin with, and they were noticeably not "straight from the oven" fresh, but more than acceptable for late day pastries. The kronut in particular looked a bit flat from spending a day sitting under fellow kronuts, and it was indeed a bit denser than expected because of this, but it was still quite an enjoyable hybrid pasty. The Nutella donut was likewise not pillowy soft, but not at all inedible. My only real complaint is the price. The donut, while good, is not premium in any way and does not warrant a price higher than your traditional $1 Timmies donut(If they must pay a premium for using the Nutella name, then it's entirely not worth it. Considering they're imported, perhaps $1.50 might be acceptable, but no more than that). Likewise the Kronut should be between $2 to $2.50 at most, not $3. The staff though were very friendly, and helpful to the other customers who had questions.
Yaz replying to a comment from human person / June 5, 2014 at 01:19 am
They can't provide seating under city bylaw. Seating indicates that there are public washroom facilities. They can't have any. The building was designed to be a chicken slaughter house, hence the incline.
kevin / June 28, 2014 at 09:32 am
I had a nutella donut that had NO nutella in it. Wasnt filled properly. There's way better places out there. This place is full of flies. Doesn't understand quality. Its all show. Trying to be suave with their display and staff in bow ties.. over priced grocery store quality donuts and baked goods. Try a better bakery. Plus it's not going to last long in that market
Enuff Junk replying to a comment from Moneesha / July 3, 2014 at 09:23 am
"I love a good hatchet job.

Why settle for mediocrity we need more reviews like this. "

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