Chances are pretty good that if you’ve ever lusted after a baked good in Fairfield County, Lesli Flick of Milford's newest bakery Scratch Baking may have literally had her hands on it. Scratch Baking is a beacon of baked goods, opening in a cozy space adjacent to the Milford train station just this past weekend with seasoned pastry chef Lesli Flick at its helm.
Flick has been moving steadily north since attending culinary school in Manhattan, beginning her baking trajectory on the upper east side and then (thankfully for us) moving to Connecticut. Her first gig was at the City Limits Diner in Stamford focusing on cakes, before spending four years at South Norwalk’s Sono Baking Company and then onto Ridgefield's Ross Bread. This past summer, Flick spent five days a week working the farmers market circuit establishing her own name and a loyal following.
The culmination of that tireless journey is Scratch Baking, a welcome addition to the town of Milford that will make its hundreds of train commuters roll out of bed a little bit easier. Lesli Flick herself is a petite woman with an outsize appetite for baking. It’s hard to believe that the dozens of loaves of bread dusty with flour and the bountiful rows of pastries came from her but as she begins to tell me about her food, she practically bursts with enthusiasm. Her huge smile and boundless energy remind me that baking, as Dorie Greenspan said, is “a very generous act.” Flick clearly loves to give in the form of butter, sugar and flour.
Generous and tireless, with pastries that border on criminally seductive, Flick has created a visually stunning array of baked goods and sweets. Scratch’s refrigerated glass case, filled with rows of pumpkin cheesecake bars, eclairs, mini banana cream pies, mini lemon meringues, individual quiches, and several cakes screamed, “take me!” Until that morning, I never quite understood the urge to “smash and grab” but that case filled with confectionery perfection was giving me criminal urges.
Moving over to the breads and morning pastries, things got a bit more civilized. Loaves of traditional seven-grain, honey flax and ciabatta were piled high. Daily bread offerings will include the honey flax and ciabatta, with challah, multigrain, brioche, cinnamon raisin and a pullman loaf rotating throughout the week.
Finally, an entire Boos block counter is given over to morning pastry worship. Flick takes pride in these pastries, both as a point of fact and matter of geography since the Milford train stop is only about 25 or so challahs away. These morning pastries include huge scones, flaky croissants, muffins, monkey bread, bread pudding, sticky buns, crumbcake and a few savory options such as cheddar and chive or jalapeno and pepper jack biscuits, focaccia and vegetable and cheese quiches. Morning commuters can fuel up on coffee sourced from local roasters, Bean & Leaf in Old Saybrook and gorgeous loose leaf teas from SerendipTea.
Thanksgiving pies will be made to order and include apple crumb, a traditional apple, pecan maple and pumpkin pies.
Scratch Baking is located at 58 River Street in Milford, CT and online www.scratchbakingct.com.
[Photography by Elizabeth Dorney]