Cliffside Hearth Bread Company
Cliffside Hearth Bread Company began six years ago with an outdoor wood-burning oven and a lot of neighbourhood buzz. Camelia Proulx and her husband built the oven in the yard of their Cliffside home with the intention of baking some fresh, all-natural bread for their family.
But word quickly spread about the gourmet, crispy breads that were coming from the Proulx property. So Camelia and her husband, who is a baker by trade, started throwing a few extra loaves on the hearth for neighbours. Pretty soon, the couple was hosting bakes every second weekend, delivering fresh loaves to the doorsteps of people in the community. When the demand became too much for the couple to handle from their home, they entertained the idea of opening their own shop.
Cliffside Hearth Bread Company opened April 16th in a former campaign office on Kingston Road in Scarborough. The shop looks nothing of its former self, with the drop-ceiling removed, industrial baking equiptment in full view, and a fantastic live-edge shelf holding loaves of Red Fife with Pumpkin ($6.50), Caraway Rye ($5.95) and Roasted Red Onion and Walnut ($6.50).
"Oh, I made those," says Camelia when I ask her where she got the shelves. "I got some slabs, took them home, and sanded away." Unfortunately, I can't get Camelia, whose background is in hospitality, to reveal where she found the reasonably priced live-edge slabs. "Then I treated them with hemp oil--so it's food-friendly, and it just works perfectly in the window."
The retail section doesn't have a whole lot of space, but the room available is occupied with loaves, buns ($1.10), Fougassse ($5.50), and even freshly made pizza ($3.50/square) topped with onion tossed in whipping cream.
"Our focus is not necessarily on organic," Camelia says as she introduces me to Cliffside's various varieties of bread. "Though we do use some organic ingredients in some of the loaves we make."
"But for us," she continues, "we're about all-natural breads, made with good quality ingredients and made by hand."
The breads include traditional baguettes ($4.50) made with a few simple ingredients and allowed to ferment overnight, gourmet burger buns ($1.10) made with fresh butter and buttermilk, and raisin bread ($6.95) made with golden raisins and cinnamon.
I am personally of the opinion that raisin bread is one of the greater advancements in bread-related innovation, so I am immediately drawn to the large golden brown loaves hanging out in a basket on a shelf. I take it home and begin to devour it slice by slice, with the crust giving a great crackle each time it meets a knife. The bread is soft and chewy--as a perfect bread should be--and the golden raisins give it a sweetness that's slightly more distinct than I'm used to.
This favourite Cliffside Hearth bread actually seems more of a dessert; and like my experience with most desserts, it's already half gone when I look up from the plate.