“Share bread with someone you love” reads the sign on the door of Little Sister Bakery’s newest location in McKinnon. And for owners, husband and wife Dov and Immy Lachovich Marcus, that’s what their business is all about.
Originally from Israel, the couple moved to Melbourne in 2010 and started their first baking venture in 2015. Baked for Sofia, which Dov and Immy named for their niece, grew from a small rental space – where they used doorknocking to sell their products – into an artisanal wholesale bakery supplying more than 400 customers. The success of Baked for Sofia ultimately led to the opening of Dov and Immy’s first retail store, named Little Sister, in Elsternwick in 2020. A second Little Sister opened in Malvern last year and the new McKinnon store opened last month.
The pair draws on their families’ Middle Eastern recipes and culture, and showcasing the baking process itself is central to the design of each Little Sister store. “It’s important for us that we create a smell and a show, so every shop has the oven and the actual production in the background,” says Immy. At the new store, the kitchen is partially visible through a white geometric screen wall, giving visitors a little peek at how the goods are made.
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These goods include an array of breads, baguettes, bagels and sweet pastries. Among the wide range of breads you’ll find multigrain, rye and sourdough (fermented over 72 hours) alongside a caramelised onion and kalamata olive loaf. There’s also focaccias topped with potato and sweet potato, and pecorino cheese and sour cream and herbs.
Inspired by their Israeli upbringing, Dov and Immy have also got stuffed pita pockets on the menu. An option filled with shakshuka (made with tomato, soft boiled eggs, tahini and parsley) paired with pickled cucumbers and radish is a highlight. A pita filled with sabich – a traditional Israeli filling of potatoes, eggplant, chopped Israeli salad, soft boiled eggs and tahini – is another one to seek out. In Israel, sabich pitas are usually served open-faced, but Little Sister seals the pitas before baking so they’re ready to eat on the go.
Middle Eastern influences can also be seen in the za’atar-topped bread twists, while Australian classics, like Vegemite and cheese twists, are also on offer. Dov and Immy have grandparents from Russia, Poland and Bulgaria so you’ll find desserts like flaky apple strudel, and Jewish sweets including cheesecake babka and chocolate rugelach. And every Friday, for Shabbat, you’ll find freshly baked challah.
For Immy, part of what makes Little Sister special is that she see her family’s cultures and flavours embraced by Melburnians. “In terms of products, we’re trying to bring our home and Melbourne into everything that we do. Melbourne is so multicultural, and with our food everyone can sit around the table and find what they like.”
217 Tucker Rd, McKinnon