Hidden away on a Staffordshire housing estate is one of the best independent bakeries in the Midlands.
And despite its tucked-away location, Trentham Bakehouse is by no means a secret, with queues out the door even on weekdays.
The patisserie opened in 2019 when owner Curtis Stewart left his chef whites behind to apron-up and open an artisan bakery. The shoebox-sized shop fast gained notoriety for their imaginative and Instagrammable bakes, now boasting 12.1k Instagram followers.
And even throughout the pandemic, the store remained open to provide bread and essential items to the local community, even donating to local charities, rough sleepers and care homes during the turbulent time.
I finally made my first visit to Trentham Bakehouse in November 2021, and I was unsurprised to see a queue of 10 people outside waiting to order. These croissants and Danish delights are worth waiting for, and people will wait in all weathers outside the bakehouse to discover it’s daily offerings.
Inside, you can choose from a selection of sweet bakes which change each day, but to give you an idea of what to expect, some previous bakes include: peanut butter and strawberry jam cruffins, raspberry cheesecake danish, Biscoff blondies and Mars twice-baked pain au chocolates.
They also sell plain croissants and pain au chocolates – but they’re no ordinary pastries. Not only are they the size of your head, but when you cut them in half, the structure is just mesmerising. They’re almost symmetrical – a real culinary work of art. It’s quite extraordinary and a true testament of top quality baking.
Other bakes include pork pies for £1.20, which my dad adores so I’ll always pick a couple up, as well as other flavoured pies that are around £5, fresh oatcakes and sausage rolls. If I lived or worked in Trentham, I imagine it would be my every-day lunch spot, and I’m envious of anyone close enough to just swing in when passing.
One of my favourite things to order is the chorizo, manchego cheese and paprika croissant, toasted. Their freshly made toasted croissants cost between £6 and £8, and there’s a short wait, but it’s more than worth it. The croissants themselves are huge, and are filled with layers upon layers of juicy cured chorizo and sweet manchego cheese. You’d do well to eat a whole one in one sitting, but they’re one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten.
Then there’s the sweets of which I’ve enjoyed many. I tend to order a selection and then we split them at home so we all get to taste each of them.
Over the last few months I’ve tried their gooey Mars twice baked pain au chocolate which was essentially, death by chocolate pastry, as well as an apple pie danish which was filled with apple pie mixture and topped with crumble.
The real winner for me, though, was the lemon meringue pie danish, made with laminated croissant dough filled with citrus vanilla creme pâtisserie, homemade lemon curd and topped with a glossy Italian meringue.
As I cut into this at home, each layer of pastry satisfyingly snapped, with the sticky meringue going absolutely everywhere – but I cared not one bit, because it was truly delicious.
Sweets cost around £3-4 depending on what you have, but they’re huge portion sizes and frankly, an occasional treat, so worth spending on.
If you’re planning a trip to Trentham Bakehouse on Atherstone Road, I suggest firstly, not preparing anything to eat for the rest of the day. Secondly, arrive at opening at 10am, or 12pm when the second bakes come out of the oven. Arrive any time after 1.30pm and there’ll be slim pickings to choose from. Delicious slim pickings, don’t get me wrong, but it’s nice to try a bit of everything, and the brownies and blondies are usually the first things out of the door.