You need to meet Laki Ratnayake and only then would understand the concept behind some of the finest European sourdough breads you can get your hands on here in Sri Lanka. His mild nature and his passion for baking artisanal breads shines through as you take that first bite of the stunning range of breads by Baker’s Choice.
Using imported and local flours, herbs from his garden in Piliyandala and butter (margarine and oils are not used), Laki and his small but super efficient crew bake around 80 varieties of delightful sourdough breads for a niche market.
He does not have an outlet at the moment so the breads are delivered to his many clients but in the weeks ahead they will be opening an outlet equipped with a wood fired oven at Urban Kitchen.
Taste and value for money – ******
What you need to understand about Baker’s Choice is that these breads are not the typical mass scale breads that we in Sri Lanka are used to; instead these are carefully handcrafted ones. A lot of skill, passion and premium ingredients go into making them, therefore making the bread more expensive - the prices for the breads we tried out range from Rs 200 to Rs 950 - than the usual store bought or kade breads we are used to, but don’t be fooled by the price, instead, have an open mind and try them out.
The range and quality of bread that Baker’s Choice has on offer is extraordinary. We tried out 10 varieties which ranged from savoury to sweet ones.
I couldn’t quite pinpoint which breads stood out from the rest as they were all fantastic. The hard crust breads like the Turmeric Loaf, Wholemeal Loaf, Mixed Seed Ciabatta and Petite Wholemeal and Normal Baguettes were splendid, with just the right amount of crust as well as a light and slightly spongy texture, characteristic of sourdough bread.
Mixed Seed Ciabatta
Petite Wholemeal and Normal Baguettes
The Petite Baguettes going into the oven and coming out of the oven
The self-kneading Olive Loaf was stunning and is perfect once reheated in the oven and slathered with butter.
Baker’s Choice does justice to the French bread Fougasse by doing a Fougasse with Blue Stilton. If you love blue cheese like I do, you will definitely appreciate this sourdough bread.
Fougasse with Blue Stilton
The Mixed Seed Bagels by Baker’s Choice are also fabulous, while the Viennese with Chocolate Chips are heavenly.
Mixed Seed Bagels
Viennese with Chocolate Chips
And if you are a fan of the buttery French brioche try out their rich Classic Brioche and Mini Brioches.
Classic Brioche and Mini Brioches
Pics by Kanishke Ganewatte