Dough - the York bakery with Italian charm

Freshly baked focaccia

Freshly baked focaccia - Credit: Archant

Meet one young couple who have turned their love of baking into a thriving business

Violet serves customers in the bakery shop

Violet serves customers in the bakery shop - Credit: Archant

Mention the word biscuits (or cake) and heads will turn at this office, it’s as easy as that. This editor was forced to pull rank to ensure she covered the story of award-winning biscuits skilfully prepared at a tiny bakery in York. I almost missed the unimposing white washed shop and galley-like kitchen off Bootham where the prize-winning almond biscuits were being baked to an Italian family recipe. I stepped into the kitchen where owner and baker Heidi Poma-Young was filling a tray with the biscuit mixture ready for the oven and was immediately offered a just-baked sample dusted with icing sugar. The crunch was crisp and the centre melted in the mouth. It’s no surprise to me that this biscuit was awarded three Great Taste gold stars.

The independent bakery, called Dough, is just over a year old and has already earned Great Taste’s highest possible star rating, an accolade reserved for the top one per cent of 10,000-plus entrants. Heidi and her husband Colin also owner-baker, are naturally proud of their first national award. ‘Our almond biscuit is a favourite with our customers, and we’re over the moon at the award. The judges were extremely complimentary, and said it was a “perfect blend of flavours” and “a joy on the taste buds”,’ said Colin as he prepared their popular pizza slices. A definite Italian theme runs through this bakery. The couple’s guiding light is Heidi’s father, an Italian-born chef who owns and runs a successful Italian restaurant, Rolando’s in Beverley. It’s with help from Rolando Pomo together with earlier experience of project managing and working in cafes and bars as a university student that Colin has learned pretty much everything he knows and which practice has made almost perfect. There is always something new to learn.

Dough in York is the couple’s second shop and bakery. Their first thrives in Easingwold, North Yorkshire where their business began after the realisation that they could turn an interest in baking into their livelihood. ‘We believe in creating real food in the proper way,’ said Colin. ‘We have a real appreciation for the skill and care that goes into independent bakeries and shops, and these traditions are a key part of our philosophy. We believe that homemade food tastes better, and you really can tell the difference. Fresh, expertly made, ethical, with no nasty stuff: this is the way food should be. We use seasonal and locally-produced ingredients where possible, and our coffee is responsibly sourced. We also use biodegradable cups, and environmentally-responsible packaging where feasible.’

Heidi prepares winning biscuit mix

Heidi prepares winning biscuit mix - Credit: Archant

It looks as if Dough has found a winning formula judging by the queue quickly forming in the shop. Dough serves not just acclaimed biscuits but pizza slices, Italian style breads with gelato as a new addition. ‘The local community have been brilliant. Our focus is on delicious, fresh food, well made, and there seems to be a real appetite for that here. We are inspired by a strong family tradition of Italian baking, and have inherited a love for cooking delicious food that feeds the soul as well as the stomach,’ added Colin.

So what of the future? The enterprising couple have begun preparing take-home family dinners (they do trays of pizza, pasta, boxes of pizza under-cooked ready for customers to finish off in their own oven) which have been very popular. And they are catering their first wedding. But Heidi is mulling over the idea of developing breakfast breads and pastries. I just wonder if they could be persuaded to open their third bakery just outside our office.


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Italian almond biscuits

Italian almond biscuits - Credit: Archant

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