INSPIRED by her lockdown success baking sweet treats for NHS staff and hardworking teachers, Milford mum Amanda Maidment has grown her hobby into a new village bakery.
Boasting a mouth-watering array of freshly baked loaves, sough doughs, cakes and pastries, the Coastal Bakery officially opened last Tuesday – just in time for the third national lockdown.
“We have had incredible support from the village so far,” said Amanda. “I have always felt we really needed a bakery in Milford so after a great deal of thought I just decided to go for it.”
A former hairdresser, she has always been a talented home baker, offering up cakes and treats for friends’ and families’ birthdays.
But when the first national lockdown began last year she decided to focus her talents on helping to spread a little happiness to the wider community.
As chair of Milford Primary School’s Parents and Friends Association, Amanda started out baking scones and cakes which she donated to staff at the school and Milford Medical Centre.
She said: “The response was amazing and I realised that baking and making cakes made me really happy. I love the idea of raising someone’s spirits or just helping to make someone’s celebration a little bit more special.”
Soon word spread and Amanda was commissioned to make a dozen mixed boxes of cupcakes for staff at a local company who were working at home.
She said: “I started getting more orders and before long I set up a pop-up cake shop outside my house and was also making cream teas for delivery.”
Having previously worked as a Saturday girl at popular Fareham bakery Soothills, which has been run by her family since 1937, Amanda decided to take the plunge and open her own bakery in Milford.
Laden with shelves of fresh granary breads, artisan loaves, spelt bread and sourdoughs, the bakery was so popular that all stock sold out by lunchtime on the first day.
Amanda said: “Our first day was incredibly busy with queues up the road. The lardy cakes, sausage rolls and pastries which are baked using a secret family recipe, have been really popular.
“We are also selling freshly prepared filled rolls, tea and coffee, and an extensive range of Danishes, buns, doughnuts and cakes.”
Echoing the traditional family bakery ethos, loaves are displayed in vintage cabinets and woven baskets.
Amanda has received huge support and encouragement with branding and design by her friend Robyn Cheidoze who she initially met when she arranged a special birthday afternoon tea for her grandmother.
Amanda said: “I met Robyn by chance and she has just been so incredible in pushing me forward and giving me the confidence to follow my dream.”
Sustainability is also an important consideration and with paper bags and wrapping used where possible to minimise plastic waste.
An important element of the new business is providing excellent customer service and catering for bespoke requests if possible. Amanda said: “We are still learning what is popular and we are will adapt our offering as we always welcome feedback on what people really love.
“I have always been a real people person so I love chatting to the customers and have been so touched by everyone’s wonderful encouragement.
“The rocky road and Mars Bar chocolate brownies have been a big hit with all my customers since the very early days and so is the gluten-free Dorset apple cake.”
The Coastal Bakery is open 9.15am-4pm, Monday to Saturday. To find out more visit www.thecoastalcakecompany.com