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Baked Goods

Knead Bakery

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on March 11, 2011

Knead Bakery TorontoKnead Bakery is trying to establish itself as a country bakery in the city, and so far, it seems to be doing a pretty good job. Owners Heather Levchuk and Trish Hodgson appear to know each customer by name as they stream in steadily on the afternoon I drop by to check out the shop.

Knead BakeryFormerly a spa, the little space on Scarborough Road just north of Kingston Road has been transformed by Levchuck and Hodgson into a bakery with a home and country feel. Just a few weeks old, the window ledges are lined with rolling pins, the original wood floors have been restored giving the space a rustic charm, and the bushel baskets of breads round off the rural feel.

"This area is really a small community in a big city," Levchuk says. "So we wanted the bakery to reflect that."

And at that moment, a woman storms through the door, interrupting our conversation.

"My mom's pissed at you, Heather."

Oooh, so this is like a small town.

"I don't like cheesecake," she continues. "But I like yours. And now my mom's pissed at you because I'll eat your cheesecake but I won't eat hers!"

Knead BakeryOk, so maybe not exactly demonstrative of small town drama. Since Knead's has sold out of its mini cheesecakes ($3) by this point in the afternoon, the woman opts for the full cheesecake ($10) and walks out happily.

It's not unusual for some of the favourite items to be gone midday. "We've been going fast and furious," says Hodgson. "And now we're just trying to keep up with demand.

Knead BakeryLevchuk starts her baking at two in the morning, kneading dough for her caraway rye ($5), country sourdough ($4.50) and baguettes ($2.50). She also makes breakfast brioches (fruit or bacon and cheddar, $3) and lots of treats including butter tarts ($2.50), Nanaimo bars ($2.00), and cookies ($1.25). Hodgson is the cake decorator, making custom cakes to order, and to drink there's fresh Grinder coffee available on the counter (which is actually just an antique dresser).

Knead BakeryA sucker for anything chocolate, I try the brownie ($2.50), which is light and moist with a cheesecake swirl, mild in flavour unlike the hockey-puck, uber-rich brownies you might find at other bakeries. It is quite delicious, if only a wee-bit mild for a chocoholic like me.

Knead BakeryKnead Bakery is planning a larger opening in coming weeks and still testing out new breads and desserts.

Knead BakeryPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

17 Comments

Gordon / March 14, 2011 at 08:38 am
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Dropped by this bakery yesterday for the first time. Picked up a few items which all have been great but I have to say the Nanaimo bars blew me away. I've been looking for bars like this since I moved to Toronto 30 years ago. Worth the trip alone. Thanks.
lady gaga / November 23, 2011 at 05:29 pm
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I really love how they make pumpkin cheesecake it is so delicious and good it is my first time going to the bakery and I am trying to find where everything goes.
Kathy / January 4, 2012 at 11:15 am
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I can't believe Knead Bakery would skip out on their lease at Logan and Dundas after only a month and a 1/2! I'm a frequent customer at Plan B and was first excited when i heard a bakery was moving in. You could tell that while the actual owners of T-ShirtGuys Plan B where very nice people, they had bitten off more than they could chew by trying to run a cafe as well as operate a large t-shirt business. The flower lady, Kate Hardy is adorable and her creations are to die for!! A real talent and lovely person to boot.

Knead Bakery stripped away character while adding nothing to the cafe, and the owner would appear on Saturday mornings looking like a truck driver, only to bother me and my companions with promises of good things to come - you should be ashamed sweetie!!!

I sat by the garage with two friends and you came over for Saturdays ago and rudely interrupted my pleasant moment with friends to talk about who wonderful you where and how lucky we were to have you here - your a big fat joke!

Kyle / January 6, 2012 at 10:36 am
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My wife and I just moved to the beaches from Niagara. We fell in love with all of the independent coffee shops and restaurants in the area including Knead Bakery! My wife is hooked on their croissants and I love the bread. Over the Christmas holidays we explored the Riverside and Leslieville neighbourhood just west of us and found another cafe that was operated by Knead ( we were getting a t-shirt printed for my father-in-law @ T-ShirtGuys) on the corner of Logan and Dundas Street. I still have yet to meet the owner but I heard about happened at the cafe and then checked on blogto to see what was up. Now that I've read "Kathy's" comment I am totally shocked. I spoke to another couple at the cafe who said they were regulars before and during Knead's time at Logan and Dundas. The cafe was owned by T-Shirt Guys and then rented to Knead Bakery. I guess they just did a pop up shop thing for Christmas and then left everyone hanging on New Years Eve when they left in the middle of the night! I think they signed a lease too so I feel bad for the T-Shirt Guys. I also heard that the owner of Knead is getting sued by her ex- business partner too! I don't understand why she would ruin her businesses reputation by doing this. As for Kate Hardy flowers, I got a bouquet for my wife before Christmas and talked to Kate. She raved about Knead Bakery and how excited she was for the changes they had planned. I think she's in the hospital right now... I hope someone is looking after her flowers for her because it would be really awful for Knead to ruin her opportunity for success too.
Anyway... all in all... good croissants... bad manners it seems. If this is how they choose to do business I will take my business elsewhere!
Teng / January 7, 2012 at 11:03 am
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Wow - sitting in a cafe you said was yours (?) wondering where my order of minced-meat tarts are??? (ordered before Christmas) Thanks Knead! I'll never bring you my business again
Teng
Dana / January 10, 2012 at 05:44 pm
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This bakery is amazing! The Chelsea Loaf is to die for. My boyfriend and I finished one in a single day. It's almost too delicious-- if that's possible! Keep up the good work!
Sarah E. / January 12, 2012 at 09:41 pm
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I went to the knead bakery cafe in december (when it opened i think?) and it was great. The staff were friendly and smiley and made me feel very welcome, and i really liked the flowers and decorations in the coffee shop. i came back in the new year and was told that knead bakery wasn't there anymore (by the SAME staff member girl as before) but wasn't given an explanation other than "The owner decided to leave and I don't know why". after asking friends I found out that they didn't give notice of leaving and now they owe a lot of people a lot of money. Poor cafe... it is so beautiful and lovely. They are still serving amazing food and coffee though, so don't cross 401 logan off your list!! lets hope this baker gets her act together soon. these students dont deserve to have babies for bosses
Jake / January 17, 2012 at 11:08 am
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stopped by this bakery for the 1st time when visiting family in the beach. i think they must be doing construction or something because it was very dusty and dirty inside. i also found the girls working the front of the store did not smile or look happy to be there in the least. i guess its hard for kids to get jobs these days because i sure wouldnt want to work there if i had a choice
Jane / January 27, 2012 at 09:03 pm
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I frequently went to the Knead Bakery on Scarborough Road, the baked goods were very nice but the owner was so rude, unkempt and downright mean to her employees. I had some serious concerns about the cleanliness off the shop and wondered what the health department would have to say. Dirty dishes piled high in the sink, filthy floors
Ana / January 27, 2012 at 11:06 pm
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Honest bakery, it seams. Beautiful products!
Ana / January 27, 2012 at 11:12 pm
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...or better say it was... Not easy to earn a buck... it seems, judging through the latest comments...
Hannah / January 30, 2012 at 07:51 pm
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I was dissappointed to hear Knead Cafe tanked, the owner bailed without any notice, failed to fill orders promised. I will no longer go to upper beach location due to owners unsavory business practices. Found the baked goods inconsistant anyway, sometimes ok other times raw or poorly cooked. Twice I found the owner loosing it, not coping to meet the too many orders promised, complaining about how early she had to get up... if you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Louise / May 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm
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Far too expensive..come on..three bucks for a flaky piece..with abit of cheese..and ...get your kids to bed..they're running around the streets til 10.30pm on a school night and under the age of 7 I woould say.....even kept my little one up with their screeming...not happy
fanny / July 7, 2012 at 02:08 pm
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I thought maybe they'd get better, but the place is a train wreck and the owner always has excuses for them. done & done!
Jeff / July 22, 2012 at 10:14 am
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To all the people above who have negative comments, you're unbelievable. Over the years, I have been to many bakeries, and this one beats all. Everyone we know in this area agrees. Bread, pastries, it doesn't matter - they all are heavenly at Knead. We are very lucky to have a place like this in our neighbourhood. It's tough running a business like this, so we should be encouraging them. The owner is one of the nicest people we know, and just like the article says, takes the time to talk to and get to know all of her customers. Keep it up Knead!!!
sarah dealaney / October 23, 2012 at 03:53 pm
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why dont you all mind your own business and just enjoy the bread.... why do people feel they have to know the operating business of knead.... its all innuendo and guessing...you really have no idea of what happened and are just listening to rumours... simple as if you like the bread eat it and keep out of the business workings
maxine / November 28, 2012 at 10:55 pm
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we went by the other day and checked out this 'hot spot'. we always see the lights on early mornings but we've never gone in during the day. WOW their baked goods and the customer service i received was very good. food was better then the service and the service was excellent. the tall 'happy to help' gent with glasses is just what the place needs (a warm personality). the cheese croissant was incredible warm, the salted caramel brownie put me into the best insulin shock ever. ty! and we took home a loaf of fife. thumbs up!

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