No, I’m not talking about the feed you give to chickens, I’m talking handmade from scratch, baked goods and other delectables in a delightful bakery in Durham.
Scratch, noun|\ˈskrach\ <slang> from scratch: without using a prepared mixture of ingredients <bake a cake from scratch>
Lucky for us, at Scratch Baking, they bake from scratch. As a seasonal bakery in downtown Durham, Scratch is on to something big. And while their baked goods are outta this world appetizing, where they really excel is in customer service. In a town where there is no shortage of bakeries, you’ve got to stand out. Scratch Baking stands out not only with their food, but their employees.
Want variety? Scratch has variety. Need sweets? They’ve got you covered. Are savory treats more your speed? No worries! Scratch serves a savory breakfast, lunch, and brunch, plus other delectables such as lemon chess pie, fig and pecan tarts, and doughnut muffins. You heard that right, doughnut muffins. Scratch knows how to make your taste buds happy!
I ordered the menu. Okay, maybe not the entire menu, but I tried a lot of food. Cheezy heirloom grits, a buttermilk biscuit with Firsthand sausage (locally sourced), egg, and cheddar, a fig and pecan tart, and chocolate and plain doughnut muffins were washed down with the Scratch Bakery version of an Arnold Palmer. The biscuits were light and flaky and unlike any I’ve attempted to make myself. I cannot grasp how to make a good Southern biscuit to save my life. Thankfully, Scratch has it covered. The sausage, egg and cheese sandwiched between said biscuit really hit the hunger spot, as did the cheezy heirloom grits.
Confession time. I hadn’t planned on eating at Scratch. In fact I came to Durham with the intent of eating at Loaf Bakery. Sadly, the woman behind the counter at Loaf was completely inhospitable. In a serendipitous turn of events I found myself standing in Scratch Bakery, staring at the colorful chalk Brunch menu on their azure walls trying to narrow down my order. While the food at Scratch Bakery made my tastebuds sing harmonious tunes, what hooked me was Mike. Mike is an employee at Scratch. He’s not just an employee, however, he’s a valuable asset to Scratch Bakery and the city of Durham. Mike truly loves working there, you can see it in his actions and his excitement. He embodies the spirit of what owner Phoebe Lawless brings to the Bull City through her bakery. We chatted for a few minutes about the bakery, the food, and the newly opened Bulldega Urban Market nearby. He’s the sole reason I tried the fig and pecan tart and the doughnut muffins, even though I was so full I couldn’t bear eat another bite. Sometimes when I order brunch I’m so focused on the savory I don’t have room for the sweets when I’m finished. If it wasn’t for Mike I never would have tried the sweets. (A huge mistake!) It was his personal recommendation to try the tart and the doughnut muffins that led to my tastebuds having a Hallelujah moment.
First let me say that the crust, which is made from scratch at Scratch Bakery, was melt-in-your-mouth flaky and buttery and it was the perfect vessel for the gooey fresh fig and pecan filling. Even though I was full from the sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit I still managed to stuff half of this tart down my gullet, leaving the other half on the plate. The good news was that I took half a tart home as a treat to be savored later, and savored it was.
The doughnut muffins and icy Boylan black cherry soda paired together to make the perfect breakfast of champions the next morning. I’m not sure how you get doughnut-ty goodness into a muffin, but they did. I couldn’t even conceive the idea for a doughnut muffin myself but I’m certainly happy they did! The doughnut muffins were moist and covered in fine grain sugar. The chocolate was not too chocolatey and the plain (Should I really call it plain? That seems inadequate.) was equally moist and had both a doughnut and muffin quality about it. Amazing. If only I lived closer to Durham. These would be great with a morning coffee.
Funny enough, I was thinking about what I was going to write about Scratch Bakery the other day when I was scrolling though Facebook and came across a post from Our State Magazine (one of my favs!). The article they linked to was Three Sweet Success Stories of North Carolina Bakers. Of course I had to read the article. It turns out that one of the three featured bakeries was none other than Scratch Bakery in Durham! It’s a great piece and Phoebe Lawless explains how and why she began mixing up baked goods for our enjoyment. You should “scratch” out some time and read about it here. You won’t be disappointed! Next time you’re in Durham, be sure to go to Scratch Baking for a seasonal pie, doughnut muffin, or perhaps lunch or brunch. And when you’re there if you happen to see Mike, tell him Mindy says “hello!”
Scratch Bakery can be found at:
111 ORANGE STREET
DURHAM, NC 27701