Barkes Craft Bakery is situated in Wickford Town Centre, just six miles south-east of Billericay and five miles north-east of Basildon.
The family run bakery has been established since 1982. Mr Barke previously owned a shop in Southend from 1978 - following his 4 year baker apprenticeship at Barking College of Technology – prior to moving to the Wickford premises. Having spoken to Mr Barke and his son it is clear that their pursuit for the perfect loaf, roll and baguette is not just a passion, it is an obsession.
Personally I have brought my bread and cakes from Barkes bakery for years, not just because they are local to me, but because their produce is of a consistent high quality. I am of course not alone in my high praise of Barkes, you only have to look at the UKTV food hero’s site to see their loyal customers feedback, or the bakeries many awards including being finalists in the National Bread Baker of the Year and the Essex Baker of the Year awards.
So how can a traditional bakery overcome the competition of having a large supermarket on their doorstep? What do they do so differently? For a start, they take the time to allow the yeast in their bread sponge dough to ferment slowly at a steady, controlled temperature – this improves both the flavour and texture of the finished product. Then part of that dough is added to the fresh batch and cooked slowly at a cool temperature; the results are crusty loaves that are soft on the inside without being cotton wool like and have a superb flavour and texture.
The produce on sale is baked from 3am to 3pm, so you can pop in and buy a warm, fresh from the oven loaf, or some of their delicious crusty rolls. If you cannot wait until you get home to feast upon your bounty, Barkes have a small Café, where you can sit and enjoy a cuppa accompanied by one of their fine cakes, filled rolls or sandwiches… their toasted tea cakes are excellent.
In addition to their everyday fine fresh produce, Barkes also make celebration cakes to order, from beautifully decorated birthday cakes to elaborate multi-tier wedding cakes, whether you prefer a fruit cake, sponge, chocolate or even eggless, they will be sure to fulfil your requirements.
If you think an average 12 hour day and 7 day week is hard going, Barkes also take the time to run a highly praised and much needed ‘boxes 4 soldiers’ scheme. If you can donate anything from a bottle of shampoo or shower gel, to some antiseptic cream or a packet of pocket tissues, the staff and volunteers at Barkes will make sure it is parcelled up and sent to our troops in Afghanistan – and boy, do they depend on schemes like this.
A family run traditional Bakery that keeps the competition of the local supermarket on their doorstep at bay by producing consistently high quality produce that keeps people coming back time and again. From their delicious crusty bloomers and soda bread to their wide selection of pastries and celebration cakes, you can be assured that the Barkes family will do all they can to ensure their produce is the best it can be.