Baker Lynne’s new life for traditional breads

Traditional handmade wheaten bread will have featured on dinner tables of families throughout Northern Ireland over the Christmas festivities. And many people in parts of Belfast and the North Coast will have enjoyed unique wheaten loaves, including a delicious cranberry and walnut, baked by a talented and award-winning artisan baker.

Saturday, 1st January 2022, 9:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 9:06 am

Lynne Gardiner, a professional chef in Portstewart, has created a successful small bakery business, Amazin Grazin, which has won prestigious UK Great Taste Awards and a World Bread Award for her focus on revamping iconic Irish wheaten breads.

Lynne’s seasonal cranberry and walnut wheaten proved a winner with Christmas shoppers especially at the hugely popular Causeway Speciality Market in Coleraine. It’s a monthly event at which she’s a longstanding and successful trader.

“I was sold out of the cranberry loaves soon after the market opened to shoppers,” Lynne says.

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“It’s a great seasonal treat to accompany a number of dishes. Christmas is a time when people here use traditional Northern Irish wheaten bread with a range of meals such as soup and smoked salmon.

“I thought I’d use the traditional festival favourites of cranberries and walnuts with wheaten bread to create a really festive loaf that had a delicious fruity and nutty flavour,” she adds.

All Lynne’s wheaten loaves are freshly baked and either featured on her market stall or despatched to customers as soon after leaving the oven as practicable.

Lynne has given the traditional bread a new lease of life by creating a range of loaves including two innovative varieties aimed at consumers concerned about sugar and gluten.

In addition to her sugar free for diabetics and gluten free for coeliacs, the first-ever, Lynne’s portfolio includes traditional ‘plain’ wheaten, date and apple, and stout and treacle flavoured varieties.

She also created a hugely popular Irish whiskey wheaten for the last Salmon and Whiskey Festival in Bushmills as “a bit of an experiment to demonstrate the versatility of the traditional bread and it proved a runaway success,” she continues.

A baker by training, Lynne founded the artisan baking venture in 2016 on a part-time basis on the back of her extensive experience as a chef in education and in the hospitality sector which included running a restaurant.

She created the business out of her love of baking and especially wheaten bread, sometimes known as brown soda, in particular.

The yeast–free bread is baked with wholemeal flour, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar, buttermilk, baking powder and a pinch of salt and has long been associated with Northern Ireland.

“I’ve always loved baking from my childhood days at home in Magheralin, Co Armagh and subsequently studied catering at the local further education college,” she continues.

Lynne has developed her small business by participating in markets here.

“I love the markets and the opportunities they provide to talk directly with customers about my wheaten breads.

“My decision to create varieties such as gluten and sugar free were influenced by shoppers,” Lynne explains.

“Nothing beats a slice of homemade wheaten bread. What I’ve been doing is to introduce different flavour options to a marketplace seeking new taste experiences.”

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