Meet The Baker…
Meet Drew Massey, the baker at Manna House Bakery, Easter Road, Edinburgh. Drew has built up his bakery business in Edinburgh over the last six years. A third generation baker with family roots in Lincolnshire, it’s clear that he’s passionate about his trade. His hands do the talking, and what a lot of talking they do. Up to 300 loaves a day (night) are baked six days a week for the Manna House customers who are fortunate enough to have stumbled upon this artisan baker. Without shouting from the Edinburgh rooftops this unassuming bakery in the East end of town has quickly become a heavenly destination for those who love their daily bread.

A quick history…
Drew worked his apprenticeship with his father Ivan who had 12 bakery shops in Lincolnshire under the name Maltby & Coates.  As a teenager he set up his own bakery in a stable at home with his two sisters, they worked night and day to build up the business to make it a success. Following a couple of gap years he embarked on more training – three years in Manchester, a year in Lucerne Switzerland and finally a year in Belgium. This determination at such a young age says it all, the baker meant business and nothing was going to stop him.

Gaining confidence and inspiration along the way Drew moved to Edinburgh and after a few years working in various bakeries he set up the Manna House Bakery on Easter Road, finally living the dream he had longed for….

We first stumbled upon the Manna House (it’s extremely close to Monkfish Towers) shortly after it opened it’s doors. Having nicknamed Drew the ‘trendiest baker in town’ (very cool specs) we just knew that he would have a great story to tell. So, in the name of journalism and in order to capture the true buzz of the bakery there was only one option…ahem….set the alarm for 5am….Mr Predictable was clearly not amused!

The 5am wake up call…
Spending time with Drew when the baking production was in full flow was an absolute pleasure. Yes, it was the middle of the night……it was dark outside…..but as ever we are truly committed to the artisan food cause so if getting up at 5am on a Saturday morning is part of that cause then so be it!  It was a breeze…..And Drew has already been baking for 6 hours if that made us feel any better….

Whilst we’re all sleeping this man is kneading, proving, baking, inventing, tasting.  To watch him in full flow is pure theatre. Drew is buzzing, he just loves what he does and it’s so exciting to see him in action. It’s like a botanical hot house in the bakery, the state of the art electric steam injection ovens are at full pelt, Drew is in t-shirt and shorts and his fellow bakers are working like troopers. Meanwhile specs are steaming up and the overwhelming smell of fresh bread is almost too much to take….a strong coffee helps.

Loaves being baked during our visit included Black Olive sourdough, Pumpkin bread, Rye Leaven demi baguette, Pain de Campagne, Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper (a very recent addition to the ever growing list) and Olive and Coriander. Where else would you get such a variety in one place? Ingredients are as local as possible, and the tonnes of flour that Drew gets through comes from the Chancelot Mill in Leith.

Meet the Patissier…
Drew’s baking crew includes Jean-Phillipe, the patissier at the Manna House – Parisian trained he produces the most exquisite patisserie we’ve seen in Edinburgh. The pictures say a thousand words….

Christmas puds…
And seeing as it’s nearly Christmas lets talk about Christmas puds…currently on sale at the Manna House. Drew has used his Grandfather’s recipe to make Christmas puddings for many years and this year he’s branched out by also  offering his superb puds at Earthy Ratcliffe Terrace and Earthy Portobello. You can even taste them at the Earthy Cafe.

The simply but beautifully packaged puddings are available in two sizes – 340g (3 to 4 people) and 650g (4 to 6 people). A veritable feast,  if you missed ‘stir up Sunday’ then don’t worry, here’s one of the best Christmas puds money can buy. If that hasn’t got your taste buds tingling then Drew’s words might…“…rich and fragrant with dried fruit, stout, rum and brandy my old family recipe is a winner so I’m excited for the puddings to be stocked in Earthy’s wonderful stores.”

The baker’s adventures continue…
So, a baker of many talents, as well as keeping the Manna House fully stocked with an array of loaves Drew supplies the ‘Out of the Blue Drill Hall‘ in Leith and the ‘Scottish Cafe‘ on the Mound in central Edinburgh to name but a few. His future plans include opening an outlet on the west side of town so that the rest of Edinburgh can enjoy his bread.  Watch this space for Drew’s next ventures. He’s just back from a trip to Bavaria, inspired and ready to create new recipes. Endearingly modest it was an absolute pleasure spending time with him in the bakery…in the middle of the night…in 90 degree heat…

There is no way in the world we would have told this story without experiencing the ‘action’ at 5am in the morning. And we’ve lovingly done that so you don’t have to. Although maybe you should……it will re-affirm all the reasons why you choose to buy ‘local’. Please visit the bakery soon, amazing bread, strong coffee, the most perfect cakes and a trendy baker, they’ve got it all.

You can follow The Manna House on twitter @mannahousebaker
For the complete photo set on Flickr CLICK HERE 

This 5am tail was brought to you by Mymonkfish.

8 responses to “THE BAKER

  1. Susan McNaughton

    Have been a big fan since we discovered the Manna House when we moved our self-catering business to Craigwell Cottage. We’ve sent countless guests in their direction for morning croissants and more, and a recent comment from a returning guest said ‘best selection of patisserie we’ve seen outside of France’. They also said it’s only ’10 minutes walk even with a 5-year old’. Great asset to the array of shops on offer in Easter Road.

  2. It’s just brilliant and it was great to get ‘behind the scenes’. The Patissier is from Paris so your guest was quite right to say those kind words!

  3. Knowing Drew on a personal basis, im rather quite bias but truth be told what he does is a dream to your tastebuds, keep up the good work Mr Massey

  4. We have family almost across the street from Manna House and it’s a daily stop when we are in Edinburgh. We’ve never been disappointed. Sitting here in Texas reading about it makes my mouth water.

  5. Hi Julia, wow, an overseas Manna fan, great news, spread the word! Drew’s the man!

  6. Carina Dahlstrom Mair

    I discovered The Manna House about 5 years ago when I moved to the Meadowbank area of Edinburgh and I have never turned back. The Manna House is a jewel; not only is it a nice place to have a coffee and a “sticky” treat, but the people who work there are absolutely fantastic. This place is QUALITY and as good as it gets-ethos and good workmanship.
    Drew and Jean Phillip were first on my mind to contact when we had a big birthday party and needed something very special for 45 guests. Jean Phillip made a beautiful (and delicious) main birthday cake and about 35 little pasteries on the side. Needless to say; the cakes were a roaring success with our guests!!! Eatable artwork, what could be better.
    Thank you to Drew and Jean Phillip as well as the great team of people working at the Manna House-We love you!

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