"The brand new Sweet Tree Bakery and Café on Crescent Road in Alexandra Palace is the brainchild of Manabu Ueno and his wife Vida. It has been warmly welcomed and fills a gaping hole in the market as the local grocery shops are filled with extremely average produce (although we are grateful for this!) and there isn’t a decent bakery for miles. Now, if you live in the area, you can buy fresh home-made croissants, pastries and a delicious variety of bread every day without having to trek to Muswell Hill Broadway...
Sweet Tree’s baker, Manabu, who is Japanese, has training in both French and German baking traditions. He used to manage a Sushi Factory for Waitrose but his dream was always to open his own bakery. ‘When I arrived in London,’ he said ‘I thought the bread culture would be more authentic but I soon realised a lot of bread here is mass produced. Sometimes even bread from a bakery is made with previously frozen dough. It was really disappointing. So I thought, okay, how about I try making real bread for myself.’
Manabu is interested in the natural method of making bread. He makes all his own yeast instead of using the industrial version that gives all bread the same sort of taste. ‘Natural yeast can be extracted from fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, plums or blueberries. Each yeast has a specific flavour but unless you use it within 24 hours it will ferment too much and taste different’.
60% of all the ingredients Manabu uses are organic, such as the flour, and he uses as few ingredients as possible without an additive in sight. An average loaf of bread with last up to 4 days if kept in cling-film and customers have already started to come back for more.
The Sweet Tree Bakery owes its name to the German baumkuchen literally translated as ‘tree cakes’. A true test of a pastry chef's skills, the Baumkuchen has earned its reputation as the "King of Cakes." Manabu is rightfully proud that he bakes this labour-intensive specialty that gets it name from the many thin rings that form as layer upon layer of cake is baked and they are already on display on the bakery shelves.
Manabu and Vida are keen to hear from the customers what they would like to buy so that they can start baking to order and come September they plan to be open 7 days a week from 8-6pm. I have a feeling their bakery is about to become hugely popular not only with bread lovers but with anyone who fancies popping out to enjoy a coffee and pastry with their newspaper, not to mention all the local office workers who can make use of the sandwich bar at lunchtime.
I wish them the best of success!