Breadhead is a bakery making bagel and pizza bombs, cookies, donuts, cinnamon buns and other sourdough-based treats out of their location inside the Artisan Factory.
The business started out as a one-woman show with owner Lucy Kirby making everything from her apartment, which she shared with two roommates, to fulfill delivery requests coming in on Instagram.
The 10-year seasoned baker had recently returned to Toronto from Vancouver where she worked as the pastry chef at several restaurants including Nelson the Seagull, the place she learned sourdough.
Stuck at home because of the pandemic, Kirby was inspired by Blackbird Baking, which never once closed during lockdowns, to start her own baking business centred on slow-fermented bread.
"People need bread, even Jesus broke the bread," she laughs.
Not long later did customer demand push operations out of Kirby's apartment and into the Vatican Gift Shop on Gerrard East. Then she moved into the back of White Squirrel where she stayed a year before securing a baking space in the Artisan Factory. The dozen or so Breadhead items are made by Kirby and her righthand baker, Lauren, for customers and wholesale partners, White Squirrel, Larry's Folly, Extra Burger and Happy Coffee and Wine.
Kirby tells me they make about 500 bagel bombs every week and 250 French crullers, a number that will surely increase once they get more fryer space.
The airy rings of fried dough come with either cinnamon sugar ($3.25) or a salty vanilla glaze ($3.50).
You'll find everything at Breadhead includes a touch of salt in order to bring out, as well as balance, the sweet flavours. The miso chocolate chip cookie (six for $18) includes a hint of miso paste.
Kirby was inspired by her old boss back in Vancouver to combine miso and chocolate. Adding savoury umami into something with brown sugar and chocolate gives it a richer and more complicated flavour.
These come baked or pre-portioned into cookie dough balls with baking instructions.
A mix of sourdough and fresh yeast is used for the bagel and pizza bombs, butter croissants and cinnamon buns ($5.25), which get slathered with a paste of cinnamon, salted caramel, and "lots and lots" of butter and sugar.
Once the buns are set atop candied pecans tossed in miso butterscotch, they're ready for the oven. The cinnamon butter will bleed out while baking to further create a crusty, caramelized bottom.
The butter croissants ($4.75) are 30 per cent butter, that's about two tablespoons per croissant, and take four days to produce between rising, freezing, rolling and baking.
A large amount of butter in the recipe combined with a high baking temperature of 450 degrees gets the basque cheesecake (6": $35 and 8": $42) its brown caramelized top.
The freshly baked cheesecakes still have a slight jiggle to them because of their soft custard middles. Pickup and deliveries are available from their space in the Artisan Bakery. Just place your order between Sunday at 4 p.m. until Wednesday at 12 p.m. for pickup or delivery on the following Friday to Sunday.