Blackbird Baking Co
By Christine Ottoni

Kensington's Bakery

Nestled in the heart of Kensington on Baldwin Street, Blackbird Baking Co. is a no-nonsense, rustic-chic bakery with a loyal following of bread lovers. Owner Simon Blackwell opened Blackbird’s flagship shop in Kensington in 2014 and he has been welcomed warmly into the Market as a community staple.

“At first we were shocked at the response,” recalls Simon. Blackbird opened up shop with three bakers and a few front of house staff. In two short years, the small team grew to a staff of over 30 people, with wholesale connections across the city.

“Bread is an important part of everyday life,” explains Simon. “We have regulars who come in three, four, sometimes five times a week.”

The Blackbird space is warm and friendly. Front of house staff mingle with regulars and share their expert tips with newcomers. Rich with exposed brick and reclaimed barn wood accents, Blackbird is a true fit for the always-eclectic Kensington Market neighbourhood in which it finds itself.

Bread is an important part of everyday life. We have regulars who come in three, four, sometimes five times a week. - Simon Blackwell, owner
Blackbird Baking Co. - Simon works with local Ontario mills for high quality flour and ingredients
Photo by Christine Ottoni
Blackbird Baking Co. - Blackbird's sourdough bread is one of the bakery's bestsellers
Photo by Christine Ottoni

It’s All About Quality

Blackbird Baking Co. does things a little differently than your average bakery. It’s one of the few in Toronto that works with 100 per cent naturally leavened bread. Where some places are about speed and production, Blackbird focuses on old school, European techniques and works with heritage, stone ground and unbleached flours.

Blackbird began as a small wholesale operation with Simon running every aspect of the business, from baking to deliveries. It continues to work with small, local mills in Ontario. “I was never concerned with the cost of using better flour," he says. "I just really wanted the bread to stand out.”

“Right from the beginning, it was all about quality,” explains Simon. And the commitment to quality, local ingredients isn’t lost on Toronto locals. Simon’s sourdough baguettes are becoming a thing of city legend. Crispy, soft and perfectly balanced, it’s just the thing for your next dinner party.

Blackbird Baking Co. - a variety of breads and pastries are on offer at the local bakery
Photo by Christine Ottoni

Taking Flight

Aside from baked-fresh-daily bread, Blackbird proudly offers a selection of take-home sandwiches, pastries, croissants, crackers, granola, buns, focaccia pizzas and bags of flour for the at-home baker. The list is ever growing and Simon is committed to providing his customers with the best of the best.

Customer favourites include the canelé, a traditional French pastry from Bordeaux. This customer favourite is a crunchy on the outside, sweet and custardy on the inside, and flavoured with Blackbird’s unique blend of vanilla, orange peel, rum and brandy. For the savoury palette, try the Pecorino pizza bianca, another local favourite. With Pecorino Romano cheese baked in the dough, this one is to die for.

Blackbird Baking Co. breads can be found across the city, and Simon has formed partnerships from east to west. You can find Blackbird bread at Sanagan’s Meat Locker, Pusateri’s, McEwan Fine Foods, Hooked and Harvest Wagon. On Wednesday afternoons from May to October you can catch the Blackbird team at the Fairmont Park Market in the east end. With a lot of hard work, a stellar team, and community support, this little bakery is set to become a city-wide staple.

Blackbird Baking Co. - a variety of breads and pastries are on offer at the local bakery
Photo by Christine Ottoni
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