The Bakery on Mason is the new storefront home of The Bakery at Riverside Farm, which has been making artisanal sourdough breads and pastries for local farmers’ markets for more than 8 years.
CAPE CHARLES, VA (May 18, 2019). The aroma of freshly baked boules will be wafting over Strawberry Plaza with the Memorial Day weekend opening of The Bakery on Mason, an artisanal bakery offering a selection of country-style breads, pastries, and sandwiches.
The bakery may be new, but its head baker is well known to Eastern Shore residents. For the past eight years, Louise Orlando has been baking a variety of breads and sweet treats in her state-certified kitchen, aka The Bakery at Riverside Farm, for local farmers’ markets and restaurants. She will now be working her magic from a storefront bakery in the heart of Cape Charles, at 236 Mason Avenue.
For Orlando, the new bakery is the culmination of a long apprenticeship, as well as something of a family tradition. “My grandfather was the baker at the Hotel Bossert in Brooklyn, and baking has always been very important in my family,” she said. “It took the better part of a decade for me to learn how to do it well, and over that time my business has grown a lot. It’s reached the point where my family was slowly getting pushed out of the kitchen, so it was time for me to go to the next level.”
Located in the new brick building on Strawberry Plaza, The Bakery on Mason places a strong emphasis on traditional baking techniques. “Everything we make is done from scratch and baked in-house,” said Orlando. “We don’t buy any frozen or par-baked items. Even our laminated dough, which we use for pastries like croissants and pains au chocolat, is all homemade and rolled out by hand in the bakery.”
The new bakery has an open plan that allows customers to see the breads and pastries being mixed, shaped, and baked. “We pride ourselves on making everything from the ground up, so it was important to me that customers be able to see the whole process—even if it’s not always pretty,” said Orlando.
Over the years, Orlando has built something of a cult following for her sourdough breads, including crusty boules, and country-style loaves flavored with kalamata olives, rosemary, and green olives and garlic. She also makes a killer cinnamon-raisin loaf, as well as a seeded whole-grain bread inspired by a South African recipe.
All the sourdough breads use an Eastern Shore starter of wild yeast that Orlando has nurtured for nearly 10 years. “The Eastern Shore starter doesn’t have the strong tang that people associate with a San Francisco sourdough. It creates a wonderfully flavorful dough, with a great crumb and chewy crust,” said Orlando.
In addition to sourdoughs, the bakery offers traditional French baguettes and sandwich breads.
The bakery opens at 8:30 AM, offering a selection of freshly baked sourdoughs, pastries, scones, muffins, and locally roasted coffee. Baguettes come out mid-morning and serve as the base for a small selection of gourmet sandwiches. The bakery has a small counter with stools, and Strawberry Plaza has a number of benches where customers can sit.
“I’m incredibly excited to be open at last, and I look forward to greeting all of my old customers in the shop and getting a chance to meet new ones,” said Orlando.
Open 8:30 am ¬– 2:30 pm (or until sold out). Closed Wednesday. Closed for family obligations on May 31 (noon closing), June 8-9, and July 15-16.
For more information, contact Andrew Barbour at 757/442-0860, visit the website at bakeryonmason.com, or connect on Instagram and Facebook at @thebakeryonmason
The Bakery on Mason
236 Mason Avenue
Cape Charles, VA 23310