Baked goods alert, everybody!! The Cambridge Oven is the city’s new artisan bakery and it opened for business just a couple of days ago. So I and my sweet tooth hightailed it down to Hills Road to meet owner, Jolita Durrant, and find out more about her venture (nibbling on a plum frangipane tartlet whilst chatting, naturally!).
Jolita moved to Cambridge a couple of years ago and having worked as a nurse for fifteen years, felt it was time for a career change. Growing up on a farm in Lithuania, she’d always cooked and baked with her mother and grandmother, using fresh seasonal ingredients. Jolita continued her baking journey with studies at The School of Artisan Food in Nottinghamshire and has built her knowledge and experience whilst developing her own recipes.
Jolita’s dream of opening her own bakery came a step closer when, after a long search, she secured premises in Hills Road. Since May, builders have been hard at work stripping out the property, reinforcing the floor to take a commercial oven which weighs 650 kilograms and creating a simple, light room with plenty of space for all the baked goodies and a couple of tables for those who want to eat in.
On the shelves when we visited were brioche, apple and raisin brioche buns, white and seeded sourdough breads, prosciutto and cheese croissants, mushroom and onion pastries and the sweetest little raspberry meringue kisses. Vegans are well catered for with vegan cakes and cookies plus lunchtime dishes such as freshly made spiced tofu and avocado sandwiches and butternut squash and avocado salad. The drinks menu offers a range of coffee, tea and soft drinks.
The Cambridge Oven is a member of the Real Bread Campaign. Jolita bakes with organic flours from Fosters Mill and Shipton Mill, spelt and rye flours and wheat free flour. She aims to pack goodness into everything she makes, using buckwheat and ancient grains, unrefined sugar, coconut oil, seeds, nuts, herbs and superfoods to ensure that her food is nutritious as well as delicious.
The Cambridge Oven is truly a family affair with Jolita’s son, Matas, working alongside her during his gap year and her husband, Karl, helping out at weekends while fellow baker, Sarah, creates delectable things in the kitchen with Jolita. They’re open seven days a week – check out their website for details.
And that plum frangipane tartlet was every bit as good as it looks … crisp, sweet pastry, the lightest almondy filling and sharp, tangy slices of plum. I’ll be back for more!
44 Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 1LA